Some artists use songwriting as a method to chronicle their life, like St. Paul, Minnesota artist nobody likes you pat and his new record imago. The brainchild of singer, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Pat Kiloran, imago is his debut full-length record, just released via Nettwerk. Through eleven songs, Kiloran looks back at the last few years of his life, changing gears between indie pop anthems, heartfelt ballads, and more singer-songwriter-type moments.
He covers a lot of thematic territory in only eleven tracks, with songs that explore mental and physical illness, loneliness, damaged relationships, substance abuse, success, failure, and many other topics. Kiloran attempted to pull together a wide array of very human experiences and, via that, offer listeners something authentic and relatable.
A unique but genuine person and artist, part of Kiloran’s appeal to listeners is his relatability. Like so many artists, musicians, and just fans of the genre, Kiloran likes to express himself, not just through song but also through art. This leads us to our latest edition of Tattoo Talk, in which we discussed with Kiloran his growing list of tattoos, his preferred style of ink, and how he interprets them as being meaningful to himself.
What was the first tattoo you ever got?
Pat Kiloran: “The first one I ever got was when I was about 18. It is a large text piece on my right forearm. ‘Tetelestai’ is the ancient Greek word meaning, ‘It is finished.’ It is the final phrase spoken by Jesus before dying on the cross, as written and translated in the New Testament.”
How many tattoos do you have on your body?
“I currently have eleven, with plans for many more.”
What style of tattoo do you feel closest to? What drew you to it?
“I’m really into simplicity. A small and effective black ink tattoo can be much more eye-catching than a grandiose full-colour piece, in my opinion. It’s more about what it means and if it’s attention-grabbing to me.”
What’s the most painful piece you’ve ever received?
“Definitely the anime portrait on the left side of my neck. It probably only lasted 20 minutes, but it was the only tattoo that I nearly had to tap out from.”
What inspires you for your tattoo designs?
“I almost always get pieces related to my album releases or significant changes/ideals in my life. I’m definitely not against a ‘dumb, spontaneous’ tattoo; I have a couple. But overall, I want pieces that genuinely mean something to me and serve as a memory or reminder.”
What’s the most outrageous/batshit thing you’ve ever had tattooed?
“Maybe not completely outrageous, but a couple of my best friends and I decided we’d get a tattoo based on whatever an AI phrase generator gave us. So, we have plans to get matching ‘Don’t trust yourself: go fishing’ tattoos.”
Do you have any new tattoos planned or underway? Give us the dirt, dude!
“My seven-year-old son is an aspiring artist. There’s a drawing he did a couple years ago of this weird, abstract rectangle monster. I want to get that soon.”
Have you seen any fans with a band tattoo; anything crazy memorable?
“A fan of my old band, MILKK, has a huge tattoo on their arm that says, ‘Pat Kiloran Sux,’ in my handwriting. So, props to them.”
Do you have any tattoos that you now hate, want to replace, or have covered up, and why?
“I wouldn’t say I hate any of my tattoos. I think there are some I would do differently now, just due to my taste changing and developing. But overall, I see my tattoos as a slow journal through life that reflect certain times and experiences.”
If you HAD to get someone’s face tattooed on you, who would it be and why?
“I actually have three faces tattooed on me. They are anime versions of my wife and my two sons. I would never do a photorealistic tattoo. But I really love my family, and I’m a huge anime fan. So, this one made sense.”
When do you get work done? Is it something planned and more regimented, or whenever the mood strikes?
“I’m way more spur-of-the-moment. I usually jot down concepts, but I’ll just decide one day, ‘Yeah, I’m going in right now.’ And that’s that. I don’t really ever get crazy complex pieces, so walk-ins are easy for me.”
Tattoo pain: love It, hate it, indifferent to it. Or, maybe, is pain mental?
“Mixed feelings for me. I don’t have a super high pain tolerance. But there is something exciting about training your mind to accept the pain and to mentally jump the hurdle of, ‘This is ok and is not actually dangerous to my body.’”
In your opinion, what’s the worst tattoo you’ve ever gotten?
“I got a small ‘<3’ symbol on my middle finger once while on tour in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The artist that day clearly had no intention of going the full mile for a walk-in. Half of it wasn’t deep enough, and the other half was too deep and blew out. It just looks messy and was a real bummer.”