Balancing two careers with Frank Carter
The rocker/tattooist offers some helpful tips on the multi-job balance a lot of artists face.
Punk music and tattooing – they’ve been in a perfect balance for many, many years now. You can have one without the other, obviously, but they’ve always been synonymous with each other. And here's how Frank Carter has balanced a professional life in both realms.
1. You’ve got to have a shitload of focus.
You’ve got to have a lot of focus to pull yourself back in to work on what you should be working on. The easiest thing to do is to get lost in something you want to do but shouldn’t be right now.
2. The most important thing above focus is having a supportive family.
My wife is incredibly supportive. She’s an artist and a tattooist as well, so she knows how incredibly important that is. We try and give each other the right amount of time to just go out and create without having to worry about the fucking bills. Those are the kind of distractions that make it impossible to create. So it’s really important to have a strong and supportive family to help you through that. After that, everything else is really easy. To be honest, I don’t think you need five tips. You need a support network and you need focus. If you’ve got those two things you can really do anything. I’ve just had a kid. You talk about juggling careers – talk about juggling anything else with just looking after the kid. It’s fucking insane. She’s amazing and what she’s learning every day is mind blowing to me. That’s why I’ve needed my wife – because I’ve been trying to make a record and trying to tattoo and she’s been trying to tattoo and ready an exhibition for New York, and the whole time we’ve been tag-teaming the baby who just want to party with us all the time. You’ve got to have support and you’ve both got to have focus.
3. I’ve gotten very good at scheduling.
Which is not something I cared about as a kid, but now I understand the importance of making sure I’ve got time locked away to tattoo and to write. It’s all very easy to get lost in writing the music or get tied up in doing a shitload of promo or whatever your management thinks you need to be doing to best serve the band. That’s all well and good, but I’ve had to sort of make it clear to everybody that’s in this project - “Look, I’m in this band, I wanna fucking do it, I love it, but I’ve also got to fucking pay my way, You know?” I don’t want my other career, which I’ve spent 10 years building, to fucking fall apart because I couldn’t give it the time. I think that again goes back to the support network. You’ve just got to make sure that everybody in each career knows that every facet that you have, every job that you do, is integral to the other. Because they all benefit each other. Like, I definitely have more bookings when I’m in a successful band. And likewise, when I’m doing great tattoos that is more content for me to put out as the band. This all sounds very business right now, but unfortunately it’s fact. We’re living in the digital age now. It’s so important that every single person is a brand more than ever and as much as I find that disgusting, I’m also like, if you don’t embrace it, you will be lost. You will be forgotten about.
4. Drawing or tattooing for me is pretty much ingrained but I definitely take a bunch of photos on the road.
That’s what I do more than anything. I take a ton of reference photos. If we go to a museum or a church - even if I find something like a bit of architecture in the street, I’ll take photos of it and the minute we come off tour, I’ll have a few days just to decompress and spend some time with the family and in that time I’ll go through those photos and make a couple of drawings from them - just some flash.
5. I have multiple sketch books with me at all times.
I’ve got one for writing, I’ve got one specifically for lyrics and then I’ve got one just for sketches, in case I do find myself with a bit of extra time. I have been known to have three sketch books with me at all times. But it’s hard to draw in the van. Our Kia just got extra suspension put in and it’s like “Woosh!”
Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes' debut album BLOSSOM is out now via International Death Cult/Kobalt