Right now is the best its ever been, with the two new guys. We’re super happy and we’re a group of dudes that hang out together even when we’re not touring…
Currently on their first UK tour, All Hail The Yeti make a stop in Nottingham tonight with headliners 36 Crazyfists. MR’s new recruit, Nathan Daniel, got to sit down with frontman-cum-tattoo artists Connor Garritty for his first interview. Take a look as they talk about their new EP, touring, 36CF and tattoos.
We’ll start with the upcoming EP. What have you guys got planned for that?
We just finished doing 5 songs and 1 cover at Energy Studios in Hollywood. It’s a pretty famous studio. Coal Chamber, Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park have all worked there. So, it was a pretty cool experience to do that. I don’t know what we’re going to do with the material yet, we’ll hope to find it a new home and release it by the Spring.
Is it going to differ much from your debut album?
It definitely is the same beast that we are! We’ve definitely grown as musicians though and our writing style’s a little more professional. We just work a little bit harder now.
Where have you found inspiration for the lyrical content?
We kinda make the songs like stories. Some of them are personal, but I’d rather be more something people can relate to you, like a scary murder story or a ghost or whatever. I’ve never been one to whine or blame my problems on someone else. Like, my relationship problems or my childhood – I mean, I’m a grown man, so I can’t complain about that. We want them to be almost like campfire songs and ghost stories. We tend to write about mythological creatures and serial killers.
Do you write most of the lyrics?
We all contribute but I usually start with the initial idea and subject matter for the song and go from there. Everyone else is there if a line needs to be changed or if a word needs to be put there to make it sound better. Everyone has their input anyway.
As for the tour, this is the first time you guys have made over to the UK, right? How’ve you found it so far?
Oh, it’s been amazing! I can’t say that I didn’t expect it cause I’ve heard so much about it, especially from the 36 Crazyfists guys. They took us under their wing and have been super cool. It’s pretty much living up to what we expected. 36 told us how cool the fans were and how you get treated and its clear people actual care here. Its not so much that they don’t care back home, its just there’s a lot of music and a lot of different bands.
You’ve been out on the road with 36 Crazyfists before, haven’t you? How are they to tour with?
This is our second tour with them and we’ve done some shows with them in LA and stuff like that, and then my old band did a tour with them way, way back on their first record. They’re honestly like brothers. We hit it off with them really well in the tour in November and we became really good friends. I’ve known them all for a long time anyway. There’s sort of a bond with us, I don’t know if it’s cause they’re from Alaska and some of us are from Canada. Its great, its just been a fun party every night and every night I’m like “Oh, I’m gonna take it easy!” and then we just keep going and going…
Connor, you’ve said before that “Just about anything that you could think of has happened during YOUR shows”. Can you think of any particularly interesting incidents?
That was more when we were touring as a local band and everything was a little more crazy. You know, there’d be fights when people were growing up. But, now when we’re touring we’re trying to be professional and give everyone the same great show as the night before.
You’ve had a fair amount of lineup changes over the years. How are you feeling as a band right now?
Right now is the best its ever been, with the two new guys. Junior’s been in the band for a year now and he’s been a friend of mine since he was pretty young. He came in and the morale just shot straight up and that was really what we needed. When Alan joined, his writing style and vocals were just great. We’re super happy and we’re a group of dudes that hang out together even when we’re not touring.
Would you say a lot has actually changed as a band in between line up shuffles?
Definitely. Obviously there’s a dynamical change with a new guy in the band and it takes a little bit of time to get used to playing with somebody else – where they stand, where they move and how they do their stage thing, you know. We kinda want each person in the band to be their own character, almost like a comic book I guess. Unfortunately, over here, we can’t do all the stuff we usually do with our stage show and all the props and stuff like that, so it’s a little bit different. That also separates each day, too, though.
You’re not just in a band Connor, right? How’s life as a tattoo artist in LA at your studio Timeless Tattoo?
It’s great. I’ve been doing it for so long. It’s my life, you know, music and tattooing – I’ve been doing it since I was 17 years old or 18 years old. I opened my shop in 2009 and I’ve been living in LA for 14 years, tattooing for 17 years. It’s pretty cool to be able to do this and then go back home and get back in the chair and create art in a different way. It’s a whole lot more mellow and this lifestyle is pretty fast paced, where as with tattooing you just kinda sit and draw on people all day. I really wouldn’t want it any other way.
So, when you’re tour, does that mean you build up a bit of a waiting list?
Yeah! My clients are pretty understanding though and they know what I do. I try to travel with my stuff too and tattoo in as many places as I can, just because as a tattoo artist you want to be able to go to as many cities in the world as they can.
What sort of styles are you into?
The stuff that I do is mainly Neo-Traditional, lots of colour. I can do everything, you know. Back when I was learning, the guy that taught me said learn everything cause if you can’t, then you can’t make money. I respect people that hone into one particular style straight away, but, for me, its tough with there being so many tattoo artists in Hollywood and you have to be versatile and be able to do whatever you can.
Have you tattooed anyone memorable/famous?
I tattooed Corey from Slipknot a couple of times and Sid from Slipknot, the guys from Spineshank, Coalchamber and Howard Stern – that’s probably the pinnacle.
Do you have any embarrassing stories from your early work?
Oh, yeah! I started with a home made machine and I was tattooing my buddy at a rehearsal just using beer caps as ink caps and it was really bad. When you’re that young and you don’t know any better and don’t think you’re doing anything wrong, it’s just like that. Quickly, I got into a proper shop and got an apprenticeship and right away I was like “holy crap, I can’t believe I was doing this to people”. When I see those tattoos, I’m like “Oh man!”.
Do you have any embarrassing tattoos or ones that you regret?
No, nothing I regret. Tattoos to me are like a map of my life. There are some that I got that when I became heavily tattooed, I started to cover up. Not, because I was embarrassed, just cause I wanted other stuff you know.
What’s your favourite piece – either yours, or ones that you’ve done?
This one on my hand is an ode to my old dog that passed away. That’s one of my favourites, along with my “Hail Yeti” [knuckle tattoo]. You know what, I’ve done so many and I try to make each one fun and memorable and give everyone the same treatment.
A super interesting bloke with even more interesting things to tell us about. Cheers Connor!