MIKE & KIFKA | TATOOIST & ART CONSULTANT

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Hey Ho – Let’s Go! Aloha amigos, my name is Mike and I am a full time musician/ tattooer/ artist…I work at Blue Lady Tattoo in Melbourne ( www.blueladymelbourne.com ) with a super nice crew of people who constantly push and inspire me with their talents. I make pop music with Sweet Gold and we have just put out a vacation romance record called Love Songs Till Midnight (available to listen at https://sweetgold.bandcamp.com/) and heavy dirty music with Acid Vain ( www.acidvain.bandcamp.com ) from time to time I do art-work for bands and brands (like album covers/ tee shirts/ posters etc…) past clients include Chuck Ragan, Darren Gibson, The Bennies, Sweet Gold, Hawaiian Islands, Sunny’s Pizza Adelaide (super cool pizza place, try the vegan eggplant one, even if you eat animals it’s amazing!), Fox Riders Co., Key St, Acid Vain…but I try not to take on too much of that work.

I dislike computers, and I prefer drawing in the real world to photoshop etc.I once wrote a jingle for Weetbix and I have licensed music to Korean Video Games, had a song feature in a Val Kilmer/ Cuba Gooding Jr Movie (it was used without my knowledge or consent and I never got paid which is a bummer, honestly APRA up your security game). I love making music with my brother. I have a few things in the pipes like a new record/ videos for Sweet Gold, Blue Lady Tattoo turns 4 this year which is super exciting as we have a new space at Level one, apartment 1, 67 Hardware lane. I am directing a few music videos this year. I love creating things as a job, and I am grateful everyday that hard work trumps talent hahaha. Eat some fruit and enjoy your day!
Follow me: @mike_tea_tattoos @blueladytattoo @sweetgoldrecords

Hello my name is Kifka and i’m the Everfresh Studio Manager & Art Consultant. I organise creatives for a living. One of my business cards says ‘professional cat-herder’ so that might give you an idea of what I do with my time. I like working with artists, artisans, and anyone one with a creative bone in their body. I like spreadsheets (yup), organising things and making shit happen, and talking about the world. And yes, I did a degree in this (Art History & Arts Management). I feel like I spend a lot of my time on photoshoots or organising them, in the backs of ubers, on the phone, with accountants, and literally watching paint dry. I love actually everything I do, and am in love with everyone I have ever met in some way or another.

HOW DID YOU FIRST MEET?

M:  I was in NZ it was Boxing day 2009….hanging with my good pal Danni….getting toasted at her mansion, then we went to a 90’s dress up party that eve…I had no costume so I wore a Vneck jumper of hers and was gonna . say “I’m ross from friends” if anyone asked (nobody did) I was angling to hit on this girl…but when we walked into the party I saw this babe on the driveway and I was just thinking “Ok – I need to have adventures with this girl….” I must say she had a vibe like nothing I’d seen, nearly 8 years later I’d say we ticked that box and few others.

K: At a Boxing Day party in 2009. I was standing on the driveway of my friends place and this guy just comes up to me and stares at me, and I see that his pupils are huge, and I think ‘wow this guy really needs to talk to someone’. I strike up a conversation with this wide eyed weirdo by saying “I had a curry today, it wasn’t hot enough.” Turns out spicy is Mike’s favorite food so nailed it.

Oh I was also dressed as Kurt Cobain. Complete with stubble drawn on my face, and soap chunks in my hair. No idea how I picked up

WORKING IN DIFFERENT AREAS OF THE CREATIVE INDUSTRY,
HOW DO YOU FIND BALANCING EACH OF YOUR BUSY SCHEDULES AND STILL HAVING QUALITY TIME TOGETHER?

M: It’s hard but not impossible…having someone sympathetic to ever changing timetables is good…you have to be flexible and appreciate that things can change at the drop of a hat. I’m lucky to have a babe that is just as busy and understands. We have mini getaways to hot tub friendly locations. I find it harder to play my guitar.

K: You make the time. Stay up late, get up early. If you have a project you want to finish everything kind of goes there, so I’m pretty lucky Mike is just as busy as I am and understands. Come to a relationship with a relaxed attitude and enjoy the ride, rather than another thing that needs your attention.p

 

DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY?

M: Get up at 5:30am have a whiskey, then a cup of tea, do some work 80/20 the task list…eat some fruit…by midday rent a car and drive to an exotic location for lunch then guitar shop and spend 4 hours playing everything tasty….extend the car rental….continue playing guitars and select the most delectable piece of wood…pay no attention to the price and enjoy making it home with 3mins till the booking ends….eat a soup prepared earlier by your smoking hot babe…cup of tea….maybe a whiskey….draw a Reaper kissing a babe eating a Pizza…look at guitars on youtube you haven’t played yet….sleep” True story we did that yesterday.

K: Perfect isn’t really a thing, every day can rule if you decide it’s your perfect day. But actually mostly my days are pretty awesome, they are always different.

 

 

 

WHO IS SOMEONE THAT DESERVES MORE RECOGNITION?

M: Nick Manuell – amazing photographer/ video guy/ musician all around legend. @nickmanuell on instagram

K: Oh man, too many people to count. Siy Studio – Holly Graham is this all around talented guru. @siystudio & siystudio.com

Kate Ballis, Photographer, and incredible woman. @kateballis & kateballis.com, William Griffiths from Metal Couture Jewellery on Gertrude St @wlgmetalcouture. Megan Quigley and the whole team at Dangerfork (Collingwood) @dangerfork I could go on forever.

DO YOU SHARE TASTE IN MUSIC? WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW?

M: Axis Bold As Love – listening right now….and You’re gonna get it by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakerers….just purchased on record. I love music that was made in a time that it was hard to fake it…if you sound good on a record made in the 60s or the 70s you sounded good in the room. It’s a real representation of the people in that room that day. My Band Sweet Gold just made a record on a 4 track tape machine with all 60s amps and mics and guitars and drums, to tape.

Before protools/ logic/ ableton…you had to be good on tape. It’s what I like about tattoos…on that day you made that mark and you can’t fake the end result….either you did it well or you didn’t. We share some taste in music….but I’m the over bearing one who veto’s things I find yuck. I’ve been called a music Nazi by people with shit taste. And they deserve to call me that for not tolerating their shit taste. Life is too short to listen to the 4th generation facsimile….find the real stuff. Slayer kills all the shit hardcore. Tom Petty kills all the shit folk punk. You only have a finite amount of time here….don’t waste it on the pretenders.

K: Mike likes dad rock. I like almost everything bar a few things. Mike rules the music roost at home and I’m pretty musically illiterate so it doesn’t bother me.

IS TIME APART HARD OR NEEDED TO STRENGTHEN A RELATIONSHIP? 

M:  Depends on what you have to fill the time really…if somethings bubbling you hardly notice…if it’s business as usual you may find a miss or two floating about your little head. That’s what friends and food art and records and Seinfeld are for.

K:  I travel for work a lot. Like A LOT. Mike also tours with his bands and tattooing and always has done, and we met when we lived in different countries so time apart is pretty easy in a way for us. Anything longer than 3 weeks gets hard, but you know, if it doesn’t kill you etc etc.

 

WHAT’S SOMETHING YOU LOVE THAT YOUR PARTNER CAN’T STAND? 

M: She loves Twilight – I prefer a vodka sunburst sunset.

K:  Mike has actually watched Twilight with me heaps of times. Yoga classes. Mike will never come to them and I love them, even though they would be really good for his back.

 


 

IS THERE A TV, MOVIE OR CARTOON CHARACTER DOES YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER REMIND YOU OF?

M: some kind of happy meerkat from a disney or pixar thing I’ve never seen

K: I think he means Sid the Sloth from Ice Age? I can honestly say I’ve never been reminded of Mike from a cartoon. Oh wait, maybe Groundskeeper Willie? But with a filthier mouth on him.

WHAT’S A SPECIAL TALENT THAT YOUR PARTNER HAS THAT NOT MANY PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT?

M: cooking vegan brownies (with or without weed) that honestly are better frozen. Who knew? – Mike (I can tie a cherry stem in a knot with my tongue)

K: Mike is annoyingly good at everything physical that requires aim or coordination. Like pool or bowling he’ll be like ‘Oh I’ve never done this before’ and then get ten strikes in a row.

YOUR FAVOURITE PHRASE, MOTTO OR LYRIC?

M: Too much Ain’t enough – Tom Petty

K: 100% – Kifka

WHAT’S A MOMENT THAT’S TAKEN YOUR BREATH AWAY?

M: We’d stayed up all night partying and left our friends place at sunrise….came home and stayed in bed all day with our sunglasses on while the day carried on with it’s business. Listening to tunes, eating, laughing, being silly, being in love. It was glorious in it’s absurdity. Life seemed full of possibility and with your sunglasses on you were not quite part of it. I was sweeping floors back then and we had no money, no real plans, just living in the moment….we had dreams though and nearly 8 years later we get to live them. I think there’s nothing wrong with drifting, having no plan, no idea about what you want to do…following your gut and not settling is something nobody tells you in school or uni….but the teachers at those places aren’t interested in your dreams, just security and accepting the lot they think they deserve. Not bagging teachers or professors at all…just my experiences here…I know a lot a great people in those jobs…but a government sanctioned entity can’t have dreams only protocols and systems. I say drift and neglect lead to dreams and dreams lead to actions and actions lead to a life well lived.

I regret nothing and I made bad choices every step of the way, real bad ones. But we aren’t here to follow someone else’s script are we? I have a friend who had a jewellery business and had been chipping Away for 5 years, moderate success…but not enough to pay the bills…kid on the way…considered packing it in to join a government job for security for his family (makes sense) I said to him “you did the hardest part already, you started something and it’s good. If you join the safe job that’s it for you, you will never take a risk on your families economic future…but right now you have another 12 months to keep going and you are at the hump…it’s nearly time for you….don’t give up now” a year later the dude is a millionaire, 12 staff, famous people wearing his stuff..- don’t play safe, play to fucking win – smart gamblers say “what am i prepared to lose?”, real gamblers say “how much do I want to win?

K: We’re kind of ultimate little gig buddies. We buy each other concert tickets and art show tickets as surprises and always have. We’ve seen so many live bands, and flown around the world and the country to go to watch bands and stay up and walk along beaches, streets, alleyways etc and watched a lot of sunrises. We’ve met each other at a lot of fucking airports, had a lot of all night conversations on Skype, Mike will wake me up at 4am and play me a song he has written, or he’ll stay up with me all night while I work out how to do a show. We have what we call ‘Night parties’ (and ‘day parties’) and we just hang out with each other and scheme schemes. Some of the best stuff we’ve both done has come from that.

8 years ago we were just two little party kids and those night parties would be actually partying and talking about what we would do one day, where as now we’ll get up at 5am together and hang out with our laptops working and chat about our businesses, we are actually doing what we talk about and that’s rad.
We met as very different people and I think if we didn’t have such a good time with each other we would probably be quite boring. Or we’d be the same. Who knows.

Mike tattoos out of Blue lady tattoo in Melbourne and Kifka is the studio manager
for Everfresh Studios. 

Both of these legends are doing incredible work and they deserve nothing but your love and support.

 

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