Celebrate #Pride2017 with the ultimate altrocklife pride playlist

The month of June is celebrated as LGBTQ+ Pride month across the world.  Its goal is to celebrate the progress being made towards equality for all LGBTQ+ people, as well as highlight the many systematic barriers left to tackle before full equality can be achieved.  The point of pride is to raise awareness of local and national issues affecting the local community, and demonstrate the LGBTQ+ community’s spirit of togetherness and cooperation.  It’s also a great opportunity to have a good ol’ knees up.

I’m lucky enough to be attending Bourne Free at the end of the month, and in preparation for the celebrations I’ve put together a playlist of my favourite pride related songs.  Some of these tracks will be by LGBTQ+ artists, some will be classic gay anthems, and some will simply be fantastic party tracks I’ve heard during my many nights at gay bars and clubs.

Some of these tracks bring back some fantastic memories for me.  Work Bitch reminds me of Bournemouth University’s Student Pride in 2016, when the Performing Arts society performed a fantastic dance routine to the track.  It takes me right back to my student days!  Woman’s World harks back to one of my best friends and ex-housemate Jason, who loves Cher with a passion.

Cool For The Summer is all I heard when I was out clubbing and at house parties when the track was released in 2015, and one of my favourite gay bars in Bournemouth is named after the classic ABBA track, Does Your Mother Know.  Plus, All The Things She Said is a classic gay anthem, as is I’m Coming Out and Proud Mary. I’m looking forward to getting this playlist on the go at Bourne Free this year.


What do you think of this playlist? Did I miss any essential tracks? Let me know on my Facebook or Twitter page, or in the comment section below this post.

Advertisements

Review: How Did We Get So Dark?

Today I’m extremely excited to review How Did We Get So Dark?, the second full length album by Brighton rock duo Royal Blood.  This band burst onto the scene in late 2014 with the release of their eponymous first album, and their latest record is its highly anticipated follow-up.  The band released its first single, Lights Out, back in April, and you can watch the brilliant music video here:

Now on to the record.  The album opens with the title track, a strong opener with undulating bass throughout the verses and grungy riffs adding depth to the chorus.  It features a great outro, with fantastic drum fills and staccato backing vocals repeating the album name over and over again, which adds a creepy vibe to the song.

Then follows the lead single, Lights Out, arguably one of Royal Blood’s best tracks yet, with a catchy chorus easy to sing – or shout – along to, and a fantastic bass solo.  Next is the album’s second single, I Only Lie When I Love You, a grungy track positively dripping with swagger and attitude.  The lyrics discuss relationships and break-ups, which are a consistent lyrical theme throughout the record.  But then, isn’t love and loss present regularly in everyone’s lives?  Vocalist Mike Kerr’s voice remains as strong as ever, switching between sounding soft and emotive and louder, on the verge of shouting, with ease.  Plus, the drumming throughout the record, provided by Ben Thatcher, is masterful.

Hook, Line & Sinker is this album’s Ten Tonne Skeleton: it’s hands down the best song on the record, with fantastic catchy lyrics and imaginative instrumentals unmatched by anything else the band have put out.  It was pretty difficult for me to list my highlights of this 10-song album, because the entire record is fantastic, but Hook, Line & Sinker is truly on another level.

To me, How Did We Get So Dark? is reminiscent of Biffy Clyro’s work: the drums layered with additional percussion and higher pitched backing vocals draw parallels to their Opposites and Ellipsis albums.  Plus, the bass towards the end of Lights Out has a distinct Black Chandelier vibe.

Recently Royal Blood explained to NME that they took inspiration from David Bowie to create this album, but to me it seems clear that their influences are many and varied.  This band have been compared to Queens Of The Stone Age and Muse amongst others, and their latest album sounds like they’re trying to live up to those massive comparisons.

Overall, this record is dark and moody, and a fantastic follow-up to their first album.  My only criticism is that, at 35 minutes long, there isn’t nearly enough of How Did We Get So Dark? to keep me occupied until Royal Blood release their next album.  This band are a fantastic example of home-grown UK talent, and I’ll be following their future success very closely.

Highlights: I Only Lie When I Love You, She’s Creeping, Look Like You Know, Hook, Line & Sinker

10 great bands to see live in winter 2017

If you’ve been following alternative music news as closely as I have, you’ll know that there are some awesome bands set to play UK tours towards the end of this year.  Today I thought I’d run through some of these upcoming live dates, whether I’m planning on attending one of the gigs or just wish I could.

New Found Glory – September/October 2017, dates here

Pop punk legends New Found Glory, who are celebrating the band’s 20th year, will be visiting our shores in September/October of this year.  Their latest record was released in April, so it will be exciting for fans to hear some of those newer tracks live alongside older classics.

Metallica – October 2017, dates here

Metal giants Metallica will be returning to UK shores this October, but alas, the general sale for all of their dates have already sold out.  Bad luck to everyone who missed out!

Enter Shikari – November 2017, dates here

I already covered the news of Enter Shikari’s upcoming UK tour last month, but I had to include them in this round-up because their line-up is absolutely fantastic.  Lower Than Atlantis put on a great show, and Astroid Boys are an innovative up-and-coming band, so I’m certain this tour will be one to remember.  I’ve already seen Enter Shikari live four times, and their performances are always incredible, so I’d love to make it five in November at the Nottingham Motorpoint Arena.

Royal Blood – November 2017, dates here

Royal Blood will be performing their first ever headline arena dates this year, and I can’t wait to see them fill the huge venues with their awesome sound.  The band recently announced At The Drive In and Black Honey as their support acts, so I’m certain these dates will not disappoint.

Alice Cooper – November 2017, dates here

Rock ‘n’ roll giant Alice Cooper will be bringing his incredible live performances and stage shows back to the UK in November of this year.  If you attend one of his gigs, it’s certain to be a night you won’t forget in a hurry.

PVRIS, November 2017, dates here

PVRIS are set to release their upcoming second album, All We Know Of Heaven, All We Need Of Hell in August, and a few months later they’ll be celebrating its release with a short run of UK dates.

Good Charlotte – November/December 2017, dates here

Good Charlotte’s latest album, Youth Authority, got a decent write-up here on altrocklife, so it would be awesome to see the band perform some of their new tracks live.  Plus, let’s be real, this band are pop punk legends, and it would be a nostalgia-filled trip to the past to see Good Charlotte perform live.

The Kooks – November/December 2017, dates here

Pop rock legends The Kooks are doing a Best Of tour at the end of this year, and it would be awesome to see them live.  Most people I know grew up listening to The Kooks, so I’m sure it would be fantastic to see them perform their greatest hits.

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes – December 2017, dates here

Everyone who’s seen The Rattlesnakes live know that this group put on an incredible show, and I’m extremely lucky to have already bought my ticket to see them in Nottingham on December 6th.  It’ll be my first time seeing The Rattlesnakes, and long term readers of altrocklife will know how long I’ve been waiting to see this band.  If you’ve got the opportunity to see them live, you’ll regret it if you don’t take it.

Marilyn Manson – December 2017, dates here

Marilyn Manson is one of the most infamous musicians on the scene, with a solid fanbase built over the past 20+ years.  You’d have to be pretty lucky to catch him during this short string of UK dates.


Have you got tickets for any of these tours?  Let me know on my Facebook or Twitter page, or in the comment section below this post.

Review: Last Young Renegade

All Time Low are a four piece pop rock band from Baltimore, who seem to have been around on the scene forever, but in reality formed back in 2003.  Their mainstream, worldwide success begun with the release of single Weightless in 2009, and from then on the band’s popularity has skyrocketed.  They’ve played festivals such as Vans Warped Tour and Reading & Leeds multiple times, as well as supporting bands like Fall Out Boy and A Day To Remember on their own tours.  And now, the band have released their seventh full length record, Last Young Renegade.

Hype for the record began to build with the release of its first single, Dirty Laundry – you can watch the video for the track here:

The release of this single signalled a shift in style from the band.  Music by All Time Low has always had pop influences, but Dirty Laundry was different: it features more electronically distorted guitars, autotuned vocals and programmed drums, until the final chorus kicks in towards the end of the track.  Similar effects also featured in Last Young Renegade‘s other singles, Life Of The Party and Nice2KnoU.

Lyrically, this album is the most personal All Time Low have ever put out.  Explaining the influences behind Last Young Renegade in a Facebook post, the band wrote:

Last Young Renegade is a … collection of songs written from the perspective of the other side of the mirror. In writing this record, I delved into all of the different versions of me that other people might have met over the years, through the ups and downs, in the public eye and behind closed doors.
I gave those other sides of me a persona, and a name, and The Last Young Renegade was born. It became a symbol for those characters and allowed me to comfortably write about some things that I’m not as comfortable talking about openly. This is a very personal record, our favorite that we’ve written.

So, with all the hard work that seems to have gone into the record, I was expecting big things when I sat down to listen to Last Young Renegade, but honestly, I was disappointed.  There’s nothing terrible about this record, don’t get me wrong, but there’s also little in the way of exciting new sounds within the album’s 10 tracks.  The production is so perfect and squeaky clean that it makes the record feel soulless, and much less charming than All Time Low’s previous records.  Every chorus seems to follow the same template – they feature catchy repetitive vocals, crashing drums, synth details and layered backing vocals, which get old very quickly.

There seems to be little to distinguish All Time Low from the pop bands they inspired, such as Five Seconds Of Summer, any more.  I’m sure that the singles from Last Young Renegade will perform fairly well commercially, with a decent amount of airplay, and the record itself may also perform well in the charts.  But is it likely to top their highest charting album, 2011’s foray into pop, Dirty Work?  I’m not so sure.   I reckon the singles are the album’s best offerings, which makes sense from a commercial point of view, but my hopes were raised by Dirty Laundry and Life Of The Party, and then scuppered by the album tracks.

All Time Low is a band that formed straight out of high school, and now its members are fully grown adults – maybe it’s time for them to move on?  Last Young Renegade is simply a pop album to me: nothing exciting, experimental or inventive in sight, and an entirely forgettable listening experience.

Highlights: Nice2KnoU, Life Of The Party, Nightmares

News: Tigress release music video for Headaches

Last month, Essex rock quintet Tigress released their new EP Like It Is via LAB Records – available on all good digital retailers.  I reported on the news back in March. Commenting on the release vocalist Katy Jackson explains:

“We really let our musicality run free on this EP, we stopped thinking about what people wanted to hear and just created music that we like. We are so excited for people to hear our new sound and we hope they like it as much as we do.”

To celebrate the release, the band have dropped a music video for the their latest single Headaches, which premiered last month with Daniel P Carter on BBC Radio 1’s Rock Show.  You can watch the video here:

Commenting on the music video, Jackson explained:

“We had a lot of fun shooting this music video some of us even had to learn to ride a bike again! The concept of the music video is based on the global mental health crisis that so many people are going through. The video and track focuses on the feeling of isolation – we wanted to convey the message ofhow anxiety can make someone feel.”

The band are currently preparing for festival season where they will be appearing at Fort Fest amongst others. Further show and festival information can be found on the band’s website.

Tigress have previously seen coverage from Clash, Alternative Press, Kerrang! Magazine, Rock Sound, Metro, BBC Radio 1, BBC Introducing, Scuzz TV,  as well as hundreds of regional stations and webzines.  I personally can’t get enough of female fronted rock bands, so I was always destined to enjoy Tigress, and I definitely recommend you get their latest EP in your life ASAP.


What do you think of the latest Tigress single and music video?  Let me know on my Facebook or Twitter page, or in the comment section below this post.

News: Enter Shikari announce November UK/EU tour with Lower Than Atlantis and Astroid Boys

Fans of Enter Shikari woke up to some awesome news this morning: the St Albans four-piece announced a massive string of UK and EU tour dates to take place in November and December this year.  This will be their second arena tour, following their tour in February 2016, where I was lucky enough to see the band perform at the Nottingham Motorpoint Arena – you can watch my video review of the gig here.

As well as this, yesterday Enter Shikari dropped a new track, Supercharge, featuring grime/rap artist Big Narstie and produced, in part, by frontman Rou Reynolds.  You can listen to the track here:

This tour is even more exciting because of the support acts. The alternative rock lads Lower Than Atlantis and up and coming Astroid Boys will be joining the band on the tour, and I think that’s an excellent combination of acts.  Enter Shikari are well known for blurring the boundaries between the genres of rock, rap, nu-metal and electronic/dubstep, so this combination of support bands is sure to get the crowd hyped and ready for the main event.

Pre-sale for the UK leg of the gig went on sale earlier this morning, with general sale starting on Friday.  Here are all of the dates – make sure you pick up tickets if Enter Shikari are hitting up a venue near you:

UK leg:

  • 16/11 – Liverpool Arena
  • 17/11 – Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff
  • 18/11 – Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham
  • 19/11 – Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle
  • 21/11 – Victoria Warehouse, Manchester
  • 22/11 – Brighton Centre
  • 24/11 – Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham
  • 25/11 – Alexandra Palace, London

EU leg:

  • 29/11 – Afas Live, Amsterdam, NL
  • 1/12 – Den Atelier, Luxembourg, LU
  • 2/12 – Elysee Montmartre, Paris, FR
  • 3/12 – Cologne Palladium, DE
  • 5/12 – Mehr Theatre, Hamburg, DE
  • 6/12 – Amager Bio, Copenhagen, DK
  • 7/12 – Huxleys, Berlin, DE
  • 8/12 – Proxima, Warsaw, PL
  • 11/12 – Vienna Arena, AT
  • 12/12 – Tonhalle, Munich, DE

Are you hoping to see Enter Shikari on their November/December tour?  What do you think of their latest track?  Let me know on my Facebook or Twitter page, or in the comment section below this post.

Review: Hear It Calls

Hi altrocklifers! Today I’ll be reviewing the latest EP by up-and-coming Texas band, The Naked Tungs.  The four piece band put out the five track EP, Hear It Calls, yesterday, following the release of their single Valium And Vodka earlier this month.  The band have a fun, garage rock sound, and I’m excited to introduce this band to my readers.

The Naked Tungs Hear It Calls EP cover

The EP begins with opening track Someone Else, setting things off with a catchy and upbeat guitar solo, which repeats throughout the song.  Female vocalist Sarah R. provides the vocals for this track, and whilst her voice might not be technically perfect, her attitude comes across really well.  The last 30 seconds or so of the track is made up of an awesome instrumental, notable for its interesting drum fills.  Lyrically the track talks about how people can change under the influence of drugs, and this theme of partying, drugs and alcohol carries on throughout the rest of the EP.

Next up is the EP’s title track, Hear It Calls, this time sung by male vocalist Hersh C.  The higher pitched guitars and more focus on cymbals, as well as the slight echoing effect on Hersh’s voice, gives the song a more indie feel compared to others on the EP.  This is a really fun track which adds to the party vibe mentioned in the lyrics running throughout.

My favourite track on Hear It Calls is definitely Valium And Vodka, and I can understand exactly why the band decided to release it as a single.  The track is a great summation of The Naked Tungs’ sound as a whole: Sarah’s vocals are at their strongest here, and the instrumentals feature a strong bass line, interesting plucked guitar features, and inventive drumming.

The EP’s penumtilate track is All Of This, possibly the most grungy track on the EP, which suits its low-fi production perfectly.  Hear It Calls is then rounded off by Its Alright, the longest track on the EP at over six minutes long, which really lets the band stretch their creative muscles and just jam.

You can listen to Hear It Calls on the band’s Bandcamp page, or alternatively stream it on Spotify – just pop The Naked Tungs into your search bar.  If you’re a fan of Band Of Skulls of Wolf Alice, I reckon The Naked Tungs are a band you definitely need to get into.

Get your feet summer ready! | Cruelty free and vegan foot care

Hi altrocklifers! You probably wouldn’t believe it if you looked out of the window today, but summer is drawing ever closer.  As the weather gets warmer, we must say goodbye to our boots and shoes and replace them with sandals and flip flops, and those poor feet that haven’t seen the light of day in six months are suddenly exposed to the outside world.  When you’re constantly wearing proper shoes and slippers it becomes easy to neglect your feet, so if you’re looking to get summer ready, or just give your toes a treat, here’s my foolproof method to get gorgeous feet.

You will need:

  • A pumice stone, or electric foot exfoliator – I use the SilverCrest electric hard skin remover
  • Lush’s Volcano foot mask
  • Two tie-handle bags – I use large sandwich bags usually
  • A pair of thick, warm socks or slippers
  • Lush’s Pumice Power foot soap
  • Soap And Glory’s Heel Genius foot cream
  • A pair of ordinary cotton socks

Step one – exfoliate

Exfoliation is always the best way to start a foot routine, especially if it’s been a while since you last looked after your feet!  There are all sorts of manual exfoliators available, some from as little as £1 from discount shops, but I personally like to use the SilverCrest electric hard skin remover.  It gently removes any built-up hard skin on the heel and balls of your feet, and leaves the skin feeling soft and smooth.  If it’s been a long time since you last exfoliated your feet, I can guarantee that this will be extremely satisfying.

Step two – mask ’em up

Next up, it’s time to grab your Volcano.  I recommend applying this sat on the edge of the bath or with your feet in the shower tray, as you wouldn’t want to spill this anywhere!  I apply Volcano in a thick layer on the bottom of my feet, focusing on the heel, the balls of my feet, and the bottom of my big toe, as this is where I get the most hard skin build up.  The Lush website recommends using the mask all over the foot, but I don’t find it makes much difference to the skin on the top of my foot.  This also means the pot lasts longer, so that’s a plus too!  Once you’ve applied the mask, take your plastic bag and tie it at the ankles, to stop the mask drying out too much.  I also put a pair of thick socks over the top of the bags, to help keep my feet warm which prevents the mask from drying out.  I then leave the mask on for anywhere up to half an hour.

Step three – get scrubbing

Now it’s time to remove the mask.  I tend to take a folding chair into the shower with me, so I can sit down whilst rinsing off my feet and prevent slipping over, but if you can think of a better method, let me know!  I take the bags off my feet, get my hands wet, then gently massage the mask into my feet for a couple of minutes.  Then, I use my hands to rub the mask away.  Once my feet are clean, I grab my Pumice Power foot soap and scrub it into the same areas I applied the mask to.  Leave the orange scented lather on your feet for a couple of minutes before rinsing away.  Get out of the bath or shower and pat your feet dry gently with a clean towel.

Step four – moisturise

The final step of this routine is to apply a generous layer of Heel Genius all over your feet.  I can’t recommend this product enough – I’ve been using it for years to maintain the softness of the bottoms of my feet, and I find it’s the perfect ending to this routine.  Just pop a pair of clean socks over the top to allow the cream to soak in without walking it all over your home.


So, there you have it!  Have you used any of these products before?  What did you think? Let me know on my Facebook or Twitter page, or in the comment section below this post.

Review: After Laughter

Paramore are currently a three piece band from Tennessee, having shifted genres and reshuffled line-ups many times since their formation in 2004.  Friday marked the release of their fifth full length studio album, After Laughter.  Their current reincarnation is that of a cutesy pop-rock three piece with 80s vibes, demonstrated by the album’s lead single, Hard Times.  You can see the video here:

Hard Times is the opening track for the record, and it definitely sets the tone for what is to come.  Gone are the days of Paramore’s emo classics like crushcrushcrush, or their more acoustic, stripped back numbers such as Misguided Ghosts.  This track is chock full of fun pop elements, such as gang vocals, fun synths and the wacky “and I gotta get to rock bottom” garnishing each chorus.

Williams’ songwriting has continued to grow over the years, and at some points is in direct contrast to the light-hearted pop sounding instrumentals.  Williams seems content to lay out her feelings of anxiety, frustration and pessimism with more nuance and grace than ever before.  Whilst the instrumentals on After Laughter often sound sweet, the actual lyrical content sometimes leaves a sour aftertaste, and I really appreciate the band’s complexity.  One of the best examples of this is Fake Happy, with its cheerful sounding veneer and “ba-da ba-da ba ba” backing vocals sugar coating feelings of sadness and the pressure to maintain appearances.  Another is the incredible Idle Worship, where Williams purposely distorts the sound of her voice to illustrate her confusion and frustration with being put on a pedestal.

This album has also allowed Williams to change things up with her vocals.  Williams has an incredible vocal talent, and previous albums really stretched to demonstrate that – think back to All I Wanted from Brand New Eyes, for one example.  Nowadays she no longer has to prove her vocal prowess, and to me it sounds like Williams has taken a small step back.  She’s the front woman of Paramore, that’s not up for discussion, but After Laughter seems to focus a little more on their musical experimentation than vocals.  To me this is best demonstrated in tracks such as Rose-Colored Boy and the slower paced Forgiveness.

The sound of After Laughter reminds me a lot of Walk The Moon’s second record, Talking Is Hard, in terms of its vaguely 80s vibe and fun, summery upbeat themes running throughout.  This is absolutely a compliment, as both albums confidently combine pop elements with more mature and complex songwriting.  I’m looking forward to getting hold of a hard copy of After Laughter so I can put it in my car and listen whilst driving down the motorway, windows down: this is the perfect record for those long drives.

Some Paramore fans seemed to express surprise and the band’s new pop sound, but in my mind, After Laughter was the next logical step for the band.  Brand New Eyes took the band further away from their emo origins with a number of more chilled, acoustic tracks, and their self titled fourth record was the album that garnered them the most commercial and critical success.  As the band have grown older and wiser, it’s obvious to me that they would shed their angsty teen attitude to songwriting and cultivate a more mature sound.  The songwriting in After Laughter is miles away from the petty and venomous “once a whore you’re nothing more, I’m sorry that’ll never change” from Misery Business.

Overall, I honestly think After Laughter is a strong competitor for one of the best pop records 2017.  Fans of Paramore’s self titled album will definitely enjoy their latest LP, and although fans of their first two records may feel that the band have lost their way, I for one think that they’ve found it.  Williams, Farro and York seem to be creating the music they really want to make, and if that’s the case, then I am 100 per cent behind it.

 Highlights: Hard Times, Fake Happy, Grudges, Idle Worship

Lifestyle: How to make a tattoo appointment

Good afternoon altrocklifers! Today I thought I’d cover something a bit different, and discuss the ins and outs of getting tattooed.  A lot of the articles and blog posts I read around this topic are very America-centric, which isn’t much good to us UK tattooed folks as the culture (especially around tipping) is very different.  I’ve already got four tattoos, and I just booked my fifth one, so I thought I’d walk you through the process of finding a studio, picking out the right artist for you, and booking the appointment itself.

Step one – decide what tattoo you want

Deciding what tattoos you would like can sometimes be a long and complex process, and sometimes very simple.  Sometimes the ideas behind tattoos can have significant meanings – such as my robin and teacup tattoos, which are memorial tattoos for my grandparents – and therefore it’s very important to find an artist who will translate your perfect design into a tattoo. Others – such as my poppy tattoo – don’t have as much meaning, so as long as you find an artist who’s work you like and you trust, it shouldn’t be too difficult to get the end result you’re looking for.

In my case, I have a number of different tattoos I’d like to get, some with a lot of meaning, and some with little past “I think this design/concept is cool and I want it on my body”.  Either way, before committing to getting any of my tattoos, I gave the ideas themselves a lot of thought over months or sometimes years to help to prevent potential tattoo regret.  Tattoo regret is something that I reckon most tattooed people feel about at least one of their tattoos, so by ensuring you find the right artist, you can minimise the risk of coming out with a tattoo you’re less than totally happy with.

Step 2 – finding your ideal artist(s) and tattoo parlours

This step can vary depending on your circumstances: for example, this weekend I’m going to Manchester, so I looked up Manchester tattoo parlours to find a good artist for me.  First, I checked out the websites of a number of parlours, both to look at artist portfolios and to see if the website was a) well made, b) had high quality photos of the artists’ work, and c) was of a decent quality with good spelling and grammar throughout.  That last point might make me sound like a bit of an elitist, but for me a well written website helps to reassure me that the parlour and its artists pay attention to detail and will provide a high quality service.

Then, I start to look for the artist, or artists, that I would like to tattoo me.  This is where  Facebook or Instagram come in to play, as sometimes website portfolios can be out of date so artists’ most recent work can usually be found on social media.  I’ll take a look through the tattoo parlour’s page, identify the artist or artists that I like, and then look for that artist’s personal page to see even more of their work.  Thanks to Instagram I’ve identified a number of tattoo artists with incredible portfolios dotted all over the UK and abroad that I would love to be tattooed by some day.

Step three – booking the appointment

This step can be a bit of a long one, so I’ll try to break it down for you.  Booking an appointment with an artist will vary depending on how they organise their books: sometimes, the artist will manage the bookings themselves, and sometimes, the parlour they work in will organise them for you.  I’ve dealt with both: when getting tattooed in Bournemouth, I dealt with the artist directly, but I booked my appointment in Manchester through the tattoo parlour.

Booking with the artist directly

This step can sometimes start with a consultation with the artist.  Before I got my first tattoo by Ana Tatu, I messaged her via her Facebook page to book a consultation, and spoke to her so I could get to know her a bit better and decide if she was the right artist for me.  Some artists will book tattoos via social media, but others will only communicate through email, so make sure you check out their bio to find out how they do things!  Otherwise, your message might not be seen and you could miss out.

If the consultation goes well and the artist wants to tattoo your design, they will usually then ask for a deposit.  Most parlours I’ve seen only take cash, so I’d advise taking out some money beforehand – deposits can vary from £20 to £100 or more depending on the size of the piece and the time it will likely take.  If you’re booking the tattoo over social media or email, the artist may ask you to pay your deposit via bank transfer or PayPal.  This deposit will then secure your booking, but if you have to cancel the appointment, the deposit is likely to be non-refundable.

The artist will usually then ask for you to send some reference pictures to them – these can either be pictures of other peoples’ tattoos that you’d like them to take inspiration from, or simply photos of the animal/item/landscape/person you want tattooed.  They can then work on designing your tattoo!  Remember, don’t expect your artist to copy another tattoo outright – this is art theft, and the mark of an untrustworthy artist if they are willing to copy another person’s work. There’s nothing wrong with taking inspiration from other peoples’ tattoos, but copying is always a massive no-no.

Booking through the tattoo parlour

The process of booking through a tattoo parlour is slightly different to the above – in my case, when booking the tattoo I’ll be getting this weekend, I haven’t actually spoken to the tattoo artist at all!  First off I messaged the parlour’s Facebook page to ask if my preferred artist had any availability on the dates I’ll be in Manchester, and if they were interested in tattooing my design.  They then asked for the rough size of the piece – this makes it easier for the parlour to book me in, as it gives them an idea of how long the tattoo will take.  They also asked for some reference pictures, so I sent over some tattoo designs that I liked, as well as some photos of my tattoo subject.

The parlour then confirmed roughly how much the tattoo would cost, how much the deposit would be, and gave me details of how to pay said deposit.  Then, this morning I phoned the parlour, paid my deposit by card over the phone to confirm and book the appointment, and gave the parlour my contact details so they could get in touch if anything changed.

You’ll remember that earlier I mentioned tipping culture as being different in the UK to the US.  Over in the US it’s expected to tip your artists, but as the UK doesn’t have much of a tipping culture, it’s definitely not expected to tip your tattoo artist here.  I’ve personally never tipped my artists, but I’ll usually ask if they’d like me to bring them a drink or snack if I’m picking one up for myself.  If you think your artist has done an amazing job, and you’re not sure if they accept tips, just ask! I’m sure they’ll be flattered that you asked even if they don’t like accepting tips.


So there you have it!  Did you find this information helpful?  Have you had a different experience of booking tattoo appointments in the UK?  Let me know on my Facebook or Twitter page, or in the comment section below this post.