West-London, melodic hardcore five-piece, High Rise return with their new EP, Endeavours, out this Friday and while we very much recommend you check out this great slice of post-hardcore, once we found out that drummer Jon Pickard had a blue smiley face inked into his, ahem, testicles, we had to talk to him about that and his extensive range of tattoos.
When, where and what was your first tattoo? Jon Pickard: I had "The Last Laugh" done above my left knee when I was about 14/15. The inspiration had actually come from one of my school teachers. I didn’t like school one bit. I just wanted to play drums and live my life that way I wanted to - so I was constantly in trouble! One day, this teacher was furious with me as mid-scorn, I’d started to laugh. I remember him shouting "who do you think will have the last laugh?"" and I thought to myself - Me. I try to use it as a reminder to never quit. It’s far more effective to laugh in the face of those who want to see you fail or want to get you down, instead of let them break you!
Do any of your tattoos have a special meaning? Pickard: To be honest, the majority of my tattoos were spur of the moment ideas or just because I fancied a new tattoo. There’s only one that holds any true meaning to me. It’s a traditional heart with a spanner through it, on my right arm. Sadly, I lost a good friend in a motorcycle accident. He had taught me a hell of a lot about motorcycles and helped me out on countless occasions when I was stuck working on mine over the years. Each time I see it, I remember the good times, which is exactly why go it in the first place.
Do you have a specific shop or artist that you frequent? Pickard: Not really! I’ve been to so many tattooist’s over the years, which is why a lot of my tattoos look so different, haha! Recently, I’ve really been digging my friend Ben’s work (@morbidpen). He had not long started, but you could hardly tell! The work he’s done on both my brother and I has been so sick!
Do you have any new tattoos planned or underway? Pickard: I really want to get my right arm finished as a sleeve, it’s a bit to gappy at the moment for my liking! There will definitely be some more musical ink filling in the spaces! Ideally, I’d like to not have any skin showing on either of my arms. That’s the plan anyway!
Have you seen any fans with a band tattoo, anything crazy or memorable? Pickard: I haven’t actually seen it but the lads did tell me a story of a friend of theirs named Joe who had some lyrics from an OLD song of ours called "From Yesterday". Memorable but not fan related - it turns out the drummer from Scream Blue Murder and I, both have a Mighty Boosh mask tattoo, in a very similar place!
We know you have one...tell us about that stoned/drunken joke-tattoo you once got... Pickard: Well, I do have a “J” on my left buttcheek and “N” on the right. I also have a blue smiley face on my balls, Quagmire from Family Guy on my right shoulder and a joint on my right arm. Most of my tattoos were the result of being drunk/high or spur of the moment without much thought, so I’m absolutely confident this list will grow!
As we very much don't recommend getting anything tattooed on your balls, here's "Endeavours", High Rise's new video to keep you occupied:
Do you have any tattoos that you now hate, want to replace or have covered up? If so, why? Pickard: I have had a few cover ups so far. The one I remember most is a matching tattoo me and an old friend got together. We had each others names on our inner right biceps. Years later, we had a massive fallout and haven’t spoken since, so I had it covered with a really cool traditional lady!
Have you had any tattoos that were painful, made you cry, see white light and regret being born? Pickard: The one that jumps out to me is the heart and dagger on the right hand side of my neck and it comes up just behind the ear. The night before getting it done, I’d have a very heavy night of drinking and partying. I figured because I’d had a fair few tattoos at this point, it wasn’t going to be that bad at all. Holy hell, I was wrong! I have the most intense memory of my entire skull seemingly shaking itself from my spine because of the vibrations from the tattoo gun as it was going on the bone behind my ear. The pain was unreal. I had never been that close to tears from a tattoo before then!
If you had to get someone’s face tattooed on you, whose would it be and why? Pickard: Well, it would no doubt be Bob Ross. I’d get his face on my chest. That dude is the most pure human to have ever walked the planet. Everything about him is so comforting! From his super smooth Afro, to the ultra soothing voice, talking you through the painting. Nothing beats getting high as fuck and watching the master at work. Plus, the amount of small, cute and fluffy animals he would bring into his show just puts the icing on the cake. I fucking love animals.