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The Flesh Profaner - Carlos Aguilar of BlackShadows Tattoos

The Underground Warlock of art, known to most as a high caliber tattoo artist who's ink has graced some of the most known metal musicians, the Flesh Profaner, aka Carlos Aguilar, is simply nothing but a Legend !!!!!

Interview by Lariyah Perrin




ViaOmega - Carlos, I can’t express enough how honored I am to have you as our cover feature. It’s been a long time that I have wanted to get in your books, not only for a tattoo but to have you featured in ViaOmega [“(laughs!). How have you you doing lately? There have been a lot of changes over the past year in your life I see!

Carlos Aguilar - First, I want to say thank you very much for the opportunity to be part of VIA OMEGA MAGAZINE. Yes, a lot of changes over the last year and the other year before that as well. Traveling and moving during the pandemic was not so good because my mother was diagnosed with cancer so I decide to cancel all my projects in The United States and be with her and take care of her and do everything possible to make her recover but she could not and passed away this year in February so it is difficult now anda  very hard and sad time for me. Now I need to learn to live with this.



VO-  I’d like to introduce your story to our audience from the first steps. 23 years of tattooing, but let’s take it back to the past, to a much younger Carlos. You were born in the southern area of Chile, Osorno areas as I recall. How old were you when you moved  and also what was the reason why, and also what was your first destination?

C.A. - Long story. I think I have 26 years in the tattoo industry.

I was 16 years old when I started to listen to such as  punk rock and thrash after that death and black metal.  I was the editor of a metal fanzine called EYACULATION ZINE 1993 in Osorno, Chile. At that time my parents were Jehovah Witnesses and all of my family still are.



At that time all of my cassettes and collection of fanzines or any metal stuff they just set on fire including my black clothes arghhhh hehe. I never finished high school, it was too boring for me. I hated that school and I was a bad boy there. At the same time I was organizing local concerts.

I remember the first concert I did when I was only 16 years old. I convinced the government office to put the money, venue, backline, etc. to do the first metal festival in Osorno called METALSTORM FEST with bands from the capital city Santiago and other towns for a total of maybe 1,000 people in 1993so it  was successful. At that time my parents hated me so I currently continue to live with them and decided to move to another city called Valdivia.



VO-  Where did the inspiration for tattooing come from? Did you get influenced by someone that you knew or did it happen unexpectedly?

C.A.- At Valdivia in 1996 nobody did tattoos at that time. Sometimes when I was drinking with my friends, I drew on their arms with only a pencil and they say would  to me “Broooo you fucking bastard you should make tattoo in the future so thaf you can buy a lot of alcohol and drugs forever hahahah!”.

After that in the summer there was a very big party, I think it was a celebration of the city or something like that and I remember a guy from Santiago had a very prehistoric tattoo machine with a motor and zoi needles with China ink for pencil or wherever. I was watching  him and I could not believe how awesome it was.  Of course the tattoos he made were horrible heheh but seeing howthe experience was I ran to my place remembering that I had a personal stereo for cassettes andwith a hammer I fucking broke my personal stereo and took the motor out and built my own tattoo machine hahaha!



In 1997 I was in the second tattoo convention in Santiago. I never used a professional tattoo machine but at that convention it was my first time doing that. My friend called SAPO  told me that I have to try magnum needles and I was like “What the fuck is that?” haha then I tried and I won the competition in black and grey. Then I decided to move to Santiago to dedicate my life as a tattoo artist.


VO. - Okay, we will come back to tattooing shortly, since there is a LOT to talk about, however something I really would like to know is the complete other side of you - your involvement with music and media. You are an all-around very talented person, which is very rare. Tell me a bit more about your music video works. When did you learn filming and editing and where did the passion come from towards extreme metal?


C. A - When I moved to Santiago I was always involved with the metal music scene. I had a lot of contacts with promoters of international concerts in Chile so I was always in festivals with bands.


My first mate that I tattooed was Schimier from DESTRUCTION in 2002 and after that KRISIUN was playing there in 2001 (I think) so I tattooed Max (Cavalera) and he invited me to Sao Paulo, Brazil, and I stayed there for two years and met lots of people including the guys from SEPULTURA, RATOS DE PORAO, NERVO CHAOS, my friend Eric de Hass from CENTURY MEDIA Brazil, Gerard from NUCLEAR BLAST etc. etc. Big thanks to the guys inKRISIUN for helping me because then I started to be as professional as I can.

After that I went back to Chile and started to do my own international concerts and festivals in Chile. First I brought KRISIUN and DESTRUCTION in one show. It was a dream come true because I tattooed them and after I brought them there to play. I will never forget that night, people were fighting and bleeding because they destroyed the venue, fuck it was very crazy night!


Then after that I continue with concerts with other bands likes VADER, GORGOROTH, BEHEMOTH, OBITUARY, SADUS, WATAIN, POSSESSED, SADISTIC INTENT, MARDUK, SARCOFAGO.etc



My passion for music videos began in Sweden 2008 in Borlänge at Peter Tagtgren’s The Abyss Studio.


First, my brother Lord Ahriman from DARK FUNERAL invited me to Peter's studio. We had a great time there as they were recording and I don’t remember which album but after they finished they had three free days so they took those days to record a music video called “My Funeral” in an abandoned mental hospital. I helped them set up and I saw how the guys recorded and it was a lot of fun and I thought to myself hey, why not to try to do music videos, FUCK YEAH!


When I back to Uppsala (the city where I used to live) I very much focused on learning as much as I can like crazy, working every fucking day from 12pm to 7pm in my tattoo studio called BLACK SHADOWS TATTOO STUDIO, while 7pm to 10pm also working on BLACK SHADOWS MAGAZINE and after that from 10pm to 5am learning how to make music videos.


I then told Tobias (ex-Necrophobic) “Hey Bro, I’m learning to do music videos.” and we did two music videos for his other bands TRIDENT and ORDER OF IZAS. It was awesome, just for fun.


I was on a European tour with LOCK UP and I brought my cameras and I did not tell my brother Nick Barker (drummer for Lock Up at that time)  that I was making a video. I just did it and they liked it so we used it for an official video. I did other videos for other bands as well.



V.O. - Speaking of that - you have designed many cover albums. How far did you come from your first time ever creating a cover, and if you don’t mind sharing, which band was it for, and what are some of your favorite artworks that you’ve done?


C.A. - Yes, I remember the first cover album that I did was I think for the Brazilian band RATOS DE PORAO’s

“Onisciente Colectivo” in 2003 for Century Media Brazil, some other Brazilian bands like NERVO CHAOS , FUNERATUS and others, in Europe I did one for CHROME DIVISION and some other bands but not much.



VO -  From one magazine publisher to the other - you are quite a media guru yourself! Black Shadows Magazine has definitely made its rounds to be known in our environment! What’s the story of your publishing journey? How old were you starting it and how did you go over each issue? Were you the only one to run it or did you create a team?


C.A. - Thank you very much hehe!

Well BLACK SHADOWS MAGAZINE started in 2006 as a project with Alvaro Lillo when we came up with the idea to mix my Black Shadows Tattoo style with extreme metal and a diabolical concept in an artistic way. We did 3 issues then I quickly realized it was too much to do and I did not have the time to continue. We were a team and everybody helped us, actually some members of bands that were making interviews for other bands and it was a great time making this magazine, going around and  editing, etc., etc. The first issue was made in my ex-girlfriend’s print company. We made all of our things there, the magazine, stickers, DVD boxes, flyers, etc. So much work all night. I remember we had an office place in the sofa room with very old fashioned computers.





VO-  Were there any particular features and interviews you loved the most about your publication?

C. A. - Everyone has a different story. I don’t have any in particular.



VO - Have you ever changed your opinion or passion towards a band you admired after you had executed an interview with them or in-between the arrangements? Sometimes the image we have in our heads is quite different from what we see getting back from our ‘idols’ …

C.A. - Honestly, I don’t have many idol bands anymore, the old ones you know. I just listened to some of what I liked but I’m not into the music scene anymore like I was before. And from the magazine I did not do interviews at all, there were other people who didthem, not me. I'm a person that gegs  bored very easily and I like to do stuff that is very exciting but easily  gets boring then I don’t want to listen to it or continue the projects. That is why maybe I did so many things in my past and now I don’t continue anymore.   



VO - Alright, now going back to what everyone wants to know about the most - Carlos, the world renowned tattoo artist amongst the extreme metal world. There are some of by far the most well-known band members thet you’ve tattooed, including Slayer, Morbid Angel, Exodus, Dimmu Borgir, Mayhem, Behemoth, Watain, Nifelheim, Wardruna, Gorgoroth, Belphegor, and the list goes on endlessly, however - one that was the one I found about was that you had tattooed Jon from Dissection. Did you just accidentally get into such an environment or how did your story begin with such big names? 

C.A. - From DARK FUNERAL helping me a lot in Sweden with all of the contacts so many good  things happened in those years, the years after I was working with Chaq Mol as he had the tattoo shop called DIABLO TATTOO with his wife Nina from MORDICHRIST who was a piercer then I started with my own tattoo shop in Uppsala. I tattooed a lot of metal bands in Europe.

  

One story in particular I can say, when I was in Chile my brother Nicholas Barker (BRUJERIA) told me that he was coming as a tour manager with EXODUS playing in Chile with IRON MAIDEN and I was there in the south of Chile in Patagonia so I flew to Santiago to meet him there and after the show Nick and Gary Holt stayed there for a week and we decided to plan a tattoo when he is back with SLAYER after two months or something like that. We did the tattoo then after the show in the hotel room. I told Dave Lombardo to get ink as well but we took the time to prepare the design and we did it in Sweden after THE BIG 4 show. This was an epic time for me.




VO - You’ve done some of by far the most incredible work on the artists mentioned above plus so many more, but I’d like to get back into Jon Nodtveidt’s head piece that you did. His fans still today cannot take his departure easily. Tell me more about the choice of his tattoo as that one is a bit different from your usual work.

C.A. - We were supposed  to do tattoo before that in Chile. I think in 2004 when they were on a South American tour but when I moved to Sweden I tattooed him in Alvaro Lillo's apartment. Jon brought me the design and we did it. Yes, it is not my usual tattoo style.         



VO-   Are there any artists/bands you like to work with the most and have them come back for work more frequently?

C.A. - I have many musician friends and I like to tattoo them, like Helmut from BELPHEGOR, Lord Ahriman and Chaq Mol from DARK FUNERAL, Beliath from NARGAROTH and IMPALEMENT, and many more.



 

VO - Your style is very significant to be distinguished from afar. Have you been drawing in the dark macabre style for a while before you started tattooing, or is it something that just comes in your head on the spot?

C.A. - From when I was 16-year-old and making my own fanzine EYACULATION I was always drawing evil shit before to start with tattoos, so I always tried to make my own style. I don’t have technique, it is just spontaneity, it always is just happening.


VO - A question that your clients would probably want to know about since we haven’t featured any tattoo artists yet, how do you like for your appointments to be worked? Do you just ask for a general idea and deliver the design as you go during the session or do you draw ahead of time or how is your tattoo process going from the first contact/email from your client until the execution?


C.A. - It is not too difficult for me, first they email me then we talk a little bit about what they want and we just start. I don’t prepare anything beforehand. Sometimes if they want something specific we do a design before but not often. I like it when it is just spontaneous.




VO-  Interesting to many also - do different areas that you work from demand different rates or do you keep your standard charges everywhere that you go?

C.A. -That’s right, I can’t take the same prices from The US to Latin America, prices are very much different. European prices are similar to The US.


VO - How did you end up at Kat von D’s shop? Did you guys connect before that happened?

C.A. - After tattooing Gary Holt from EXODUS and SLAYER I said to him “Hey brother I want to go to The US, can you try to help me with your contacts there?” then he contacted BOB TYRREL and he recommended KAT to me at that time. I think I was in Sweden or Chile (I don’t remember exactly), but we talked with her and she was very excited to have me there as a guest artist. So my first time in Los Angeles was in 2014. After that in 2017 I asked Kat if I could move to Los Angeles and she wanted me to be part of the tattoo family and I was more than happy to be there. I respect Kar very much and how she developed herself as an artist and she is a very good friend of mine and I am very thankful to her.




16.  How did you feel about her leaving and closing the shop? Did it work in your favor since you are quite a nomad yourself?

C.A. - I moved to Chile for a while at that time andI was supposed to go back but my mother was very sick so I decided to stay in Chile. Kat decided to move to Indiana and I totally understand her decision and I'm very thankful for all of her trust and love and for bringing me so much inspiration and I will visit her at her new spot HIGH VOLTAGE TATTOO in Indiana for sure.

I have so many memories from my High Voltage Tattoo family and so many good moments. I really miss them.


VO - You travel for work quite a bit. Where do you call home nowadays and where do you go back to often? 

C.A. - Yes, I travel a lot but during the pandemic time it was quite difficult to go here and there. Before it was easier to plan tours for work and some vacations. But now nothing satisfies me and I don’t know what is in my future for now, maybe sleeping in a coffin…

I like Germany. I have my brothers Daniel and Christian there so I always like to go back there.




VO - Are there any plans to open multiple shops for Black Shadows Tattoo? Perhaps in different countries?

C.A. - Not anymore. I don’t want to have any tattoo shops at the moment, maybe in the future but for now I'm tired. But for next year I will be building a mobile tattoo business for traveling in South America. So who knows?


VO - How do you feel about the metal scene nowadays, if I may ask? Lots of artists I interview truly miss the “true” years of metal back in the day. Do you think metal is still alive and full of verve or do you think it is starting to fade out?

C.A. - It is a natural thing because when you get older you always have your nostalgia.

From my side I miss the past metal scene, it was more mysterious and underground, you would delight in  waiting to go to pick up the mail and see some tapes, flyers, etc. It used to be very hard to get music or concerts, in my country of Chile after the Pinochet dictatorship, if you had long hair… Fuck, they just hit you for nothing and put you in jail for the whole night just because you were suspected for criminal shit and of course I always I was sleeping in jail hahaha.

But the metal scene I think will never die and is still there and more of a big industry now, I think.


VO - Carlos, thank you so much for your time. I hope to cross paths sooner than later as I have been waiting for your work on me for quite a bit of a time! I hope you have a great continuation of your artistic journey ! 

C.A. - Thank you again very much for this opportunity to be in this great magazine concept and we will make your tattoo guys in the future for sure one day. And thank you to all metal bands and clients for the support BLACK SHADOWS in all this years.


The flesh profaner.

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