Each month our intrepid artist liaison and generally jovial Eikon staffer, Patrick Coste, sits down with a tattoo artist to get to know them a little better. This week he's talking with multi-talented artist, musician and all-round great guy, Greg Laraigné.
Such a smooth operator!!! Multi-talented in music and tattooing, Greg is able to manage both at a high level. I’m always impressed by his smoothness and his candid personality - Patrick Coste
Patrick Coste: GREEEGGGG, how’ve you been, you talented mammal?
Greg Laraigné: Lol! I’m doing really good, but it hasn't always been the case since we last saw each other!
PC: RIGHT, it’s been many moons since, eh? Seriously. You've been chasing COVID lockdowns for a bit huh... Too soon? ;P
GL: LOL, you could say that! But yes, Toronto is the last city in lockdown here in Ontario and I was in Montreal in the middle of COVID last year as well… I had time to go up and down that thinking ladder, but in the end I’m at peace and in a great place as I adapted and let go of many things...
PC: I hear you. I know you, and I know you’re quite active not only on a musical level but on the tattooing side of things too, and now BAM! Nothing but a sweet lady, your favorite animal and to grow a beard!!!
GL: Yeah exactly, lol! What else you need? Lol, seriously. It was a time of adaptation for me to let go, and a lot of fun really. Don't get me wrong though, I’m ready to go back to what I love; music and tattoos.
It’s been an integral part of my life since my teenage years. Music, even before tattooing. I grew up in a French town ten minutes from the Swiss border. I spent a lot of time there, skateboarding, playing music and you know, being a teenager!
PC: Since music and tattoos are close to your heart, and seem to be the ultimate mix worldwide, did music have anything to do with how you got into tattooing?
GL: Oui, here’s a short story: I was getting tattooed before I started tattooing. I was jamming a lot and became acquainted with my tattooer, whose shop was right next door to where we use to jam.
To make a long story short, at that time I was a tour manager for bands, playing music as well as getting tattooed. My “real job” was quite fun, intense, but when that ended I was recording an album, so I wanted to take it easy for few months. I still needed to work and so my tattooer offered me a job working the front desk for few months while I finished the album etc! Time to get back on my feet, then who would have known? I started drawing… then an apprenticeship! Then I’m talking to you!!! LOL!
PC: Lol! That contagious eh? That last part is the best, right?
GL: Yes, lol, all of it went so naturally that it was fun and lots of learning. I didn’t draw much at first. I didn’t plan on becoming a tattooer but it grew and after a while of drawing and drawing, which is the key, I became more at ease drawing flash. It became more natural and so forth. You can imagine how it goes, but yes, music and tattooing have always been there, interlocked.
PC: So now you’ve ended up with waayyy too much time on your hands. How’s that going?
GL: Up and down… Like you mentioned earlier, I’m always doing something. During this COVID era, I needed to to take a chill approach. I had to let go so I could come back hard at it, so I did. It’s such a long time… you know? One year is nothing usually, but when you have time that you don't know what to do with.. You develop habits and routines to make it work.
Man, I took long baths and painted my toenails… Life was hard, lol, but in a sense we didn’t suffer. We’re still here, and I took time for me.
This COVID thing was all about that for me. Being very active everyday takes time… You know, one thing people don't realize is that tattooers have deadlines every day. Multiple ones a day at times, and always having deadlines is something I had for a long time. In fact I don't recall not having a deadline until today, but having the time off to realize that, changes your perspective on “being busy”.
PC: You do music professionally, you do gigs and all, well… prior to COVID, and you’re also a busy tattoo artist. How do you manage all that?
I have a full album that I’m waiting to get out, and do so on the road and all. It’s ready to be listened to! It’s sad, but it is what it is...That’s also my new motto. I can’t change things I have no power over. I’m ready though. Once again, I took time off during this longest break the heart ever had, and now I'm ready. It’s exciting really when you think of it. Now that it’s… I don't want to say it, but… over soon…. ish…
You’ll be able to hear a bit more music in the next few months for sure...
PC: Oh, NICE! This should be perfect for summer right??
GL: Let’s hope so...
PC: Tell me, if we go down memory lane and think of the moment that best describes the luck you had in tattooing, what would it be?
GL: I had so many, from conventions to roadtrips, to discovering new countries… I’d say it’s the time I spent with Safwan. That would sum it up! I grew up tremendously during those years…as a tattooer and on a personal level. Safwan is tops! Thank you Saf!
PC: RIGHT! So what’s next for you “Mr. in Vacation mode” ;P
GL: Lol, good one. I’m keeping in shape with drawing and music sessions. On a music level, I’ll be releasing an album shortly - this one was in the works for a while.
PC: As always Greg, it’s been awesome chatting with you. Before we go, I know you’re a huge music fan, what are you listening to these days?
GL: These days I’m listening to the “HotSnakes”. Not everybody knows about them, but they’re tops in my books! I like everything Punk Rock. We could go on and on here...
Follow Greg Laraigné tattoos : https://www.instagram.com/greg_laraigne
Follow Greg Laraigné music: https://www.instagram.com/laraignemusic/