Phil Kyle: Would you recommend an apprenticeship to people knowing how difficult that is to do on your own?
Xam: Totally and definitely. It’s the only way. Not anyone can do it. Not everyone deserves it, people will still try it, like I did… Call me selfish if you want but there are too many of us now. It’s out of control. Some will fail and most will keep doing shit forever. And that’s it really…
Xam: And some will make it through…
PK: Do you think the people that made it through did so because they picked up things and techniques from people they have worked with?
Xam: Yeah, for sure. It’s something we are always learning anyway, even after 20 years.
Yeah, if you think you know everything then you really don’t know anything. When you think you know it all that’s when the shit comes out and there are a lot of young people doing really good shit these days. You have to keep raising the bar.
PK: True. When you flip through a magazine you see a lot of new stuff.
Xam: Yeah, mostly technically well done but it’s all the same… They can make a clean tattoo, but they all look the same… like there’s no soul, I don’t know if you get me? I don’t know, I think they should go to the roots of a design, study and understand the basics before even trying to attempt a particular style.
PK: Yeah, you don’t look at a rose in a tattoo magazine to draw one; you find a real one or at least a photo of a real one and draw it from there…. Back when I started I didn’t even know what the fuck the Internet was… We bought reference books. [Laughs]