Louis Molloy is one of the finest tattooists in the industry today, and with his straight-talking attitude and no-nonsense approach, it’s no surprise that he counts a whole host of celebrities amongst his clientele - David Beckham being one of his regulars.

As the second series of London Ink comes to a close this Sunday at 10pm on Discovery Real Time, I caught up with the enchanting Louis to chat about his high and lowlights, and getting thrown out of an aeroplane.

Hey Louis, how are you?

I’m fine thanks.

What are you up to at the moment?

Too much hard work! That’s what I’m doing!

Tell me about it!

It’s non stop at the moment; there doesn’t seem to be any credit crunch in my studio that’s for sure!

The current series of London Ink comes to an end this week, what can people expect from it?

I get thrown out of an aeroplane!!

Are you joking or is that true?

No! It’s true! I tattoo this guy called Toby Goodchild who is the coach for the military parachute display team and he was a client of mine anyhow and I put forward a suggestion to tattoo him on London Ink and then him doing his thing to me! So I do a tattoo on him and then he takes me up on a plane to do a tandem jump from 15, 000 ft and I do it in my suit!

Wow, you’re so brave! Were you not terrified?

It was good fun! I wasn’t scared which was weird because I thought I would be absolutely shitting myself but I didn’t! They were very good and professional about it all and made it really easy, plus when you’re tandem jumping it’s idiot-proof anyhow, you just do what they tell you. I would recommend it to anyone because it’s one of those things that everyone should do before they die.

Is there going to be a third series?

Well we don’t know as yet. The thing is, we are dealing with a big corporate entity and they don’t really tell us that much. If you ask a question they never give you a direct answer. So if I ask them if we’re going to do a third series, they just say “I don’t know.â€

It would be nice to think that we’re going to get another series because it does seem to have been extremely popular but you just don’t know because TV is such a fickle thing at the moment as there is so many channels out there.

Like take the first series for example, it got the highest ratings for something like 2.5 years, and despite that, they didn’t let us know there was going to be another series before 2 and a half months before we started filming. So what I try to do is think that we won’t do any more and if we do make another series then it’s a bonus!

When you first started tattooing it was quite a taboo industry, how did you get into the business in the first place?

I opened my studio when I was 18 and I actually started tattooing when I was 14, it’s all I ever wanted to do, I never wanted to do anything else.

Did you ever think it would lead to this level of success?

No, not at all. When I first started out there were less than 200 studios in the country and there are now about 2, 000! I don’t think anyone ever imagined how big it would get; it’s expanded hugely over the past ten year or so but it’s also brought a lot of idiots into the industry but I’m hoping the current economic crisis will get rid of some of the dickheads in it anyway.

What has been your most difficult tattoo to date?

I’ve not done it yet.

On the other hand, is there one that you’re really proud of?

There’s one that everyone bangs on about which is known as the Rocketeer Sleeve and it has won just about every competition it was entered in an it’s become a bit of an icon now. It got me a lot of recognition.

Given the chance, who would you love to get your hands on?

At the minute there are two people more than any others I would like to work on; Daniel Craig because he already has tattoos too and from a very unofficial source he apparently said that if he was to get more work done he would come to me, but I don’t know if that’s just someone bullshitting me!

The other one would either be Prince William or Prince Harry but somehow I doubt that’s going to happen!

I love it, get Harry, he’s the rebel! Your tattoo has taken you all over the world; where has been the most interesting?

Yeah, I have been all over the world with it but the place that I keep going back to, despite the fact that it might sound boring, is Switzerland. They have a lifestyle that we should have really; if you want to see how people live a normal life; go to Switzerland. It’s a place where there are no grills and shutters on every shop in town and where you can go out on a Saturday night and not look over your shoulder without thinking someone is going to punch your lights out. You can still smoke in bars over there too!

How did it feel to be named as Outstanding Artist Of The Year twice?

It was good at the time but it doesn’t really mean anything anymore because you can’t really say that someone is ‘the best’ in this industry because there are so many good ones but it’s nice to just be able to get recognition for your work and some of the bigger tattoo conventions is one way to do it and a TV show is another.

What else is there on your list of things to do?

I was actually talking to someone about this yesterday; I would like to do a TV series which documents the history of tattooing because it’s very diverse and it covers all kinds of cultures over a 10, 000 year time period and I think it would be really interesting to do because it’s never been done and it would be nice to have on your CV! I have put the suggestion to Discovery… but it’s that big corporate machine again.

What do you look for in an apprentice for your own studio in Middleton, Manchester?

Just someone who can do the job really because there are a lot of people coming into the industry who think that they can do it, but the real truth is they cant. I don’t want a super shit-hot artist who can replicate anything exactly, I want someone who can put a decent tattoo on and if you can get someone who can do that, then you can make them learn other things. But if you haven’t got the basics then just forget it.

So how well do you really get on with the rest of the guys from the show?

I get on really well with Phil and I get on okay with Nicole but I couldn’t go out socialising with her every night… she’s a proper party animal. Dan is the one I don’t get on with though as you probably know, just because I find him pretty lazy; but that’s why they put him in there - to stir it up.

When was the last time you felt truly inspired?

Oh all the time!

What kind of things inspire you?

Like a 20-year old bird hitting on me!

And you’re like… “Come into my studio!â€

No, no! They come to me! It’s the best job in the world because beautiful girls come in, you tattoo them, they get their clothes off , they flirt with you and then they pay you… Brilliant! It’s better than being a porn star.

Agreed, at least there’s not too much physical exertion involved!

I also get inspired by people who have vision when they come into the shop. It’s great when they come in because you can really create something special, but when you get people who come in and say; “I want a tattoo that represents my Gran.†and I’m like; “F**k off!â€

It’s bullshit because they watch the programme and think “I cant do that!†This guy came in yesterday and said ; “I want 5 stars; one for me, one for my girlfriend and my 2 kids.†and I’m just thinking “F**k off!†then he asks me to think of something to put in the stars to represent them, they should know what they want, not ask me to come up with ideas for it.

That the problem you see; stupid people go into bad tattoo shops and get tattooed by stupid tattooists and end up with a pile of shit on their arm and then a few years down the line they bitterly regret it. It’s not that they regret it, it’s that they didn’t put any thought into it.

We ask everyone we interview to come up with a question for the next person and Parkway Drive want to know; “What is the longest you’ve gone without a shower?

I don’t know! Probably only a day because I can’t function if I don’t. sometimes you have the odd day when you are running late and you just have to get up and get out, but on those days I am sat there feeling gross all day and I just feel manky then when I get home I’m rushing for the shower!

Good that’s a relief! Well thanks for taking time out to chat and I’ll come see you in Manchester soon!

Bye!

FemaleFirst - Ruth Harrison

Louis Molloy is one of the finest tattooists in the industry today, and with his straight-talking attitude and no-nonsense approach, it’s no surprise that he counts a whole host of celebrities amongst his clientele - David Beckham being one of his regulars.

As the second series of London Ink comes to a close this Sunday at 10pm on Discovery Real Time, I caught up with the enchanting Louis to chat about his high and lowlights, and getting thrown out of an aeroplane.

Hey Louis, how are you?

I’m fine thanks.

What are you up to at the moment?

Too much hard work! That’s what I’m doing!

Tell me about it!

It’s non stop at the moment; there doesn’t seem to be any credit crunch in my studio that’s for sure!

The current series of London Ink comes to an end this week, what can people expect from it?

I get thrown out of an aeroplane!!

Are you joking or is that true?

No! It’s true! I tattoo this guy called Toby Goodchild who is the coach for the military parachute display team and he was a client of mine anyhow and I put forward a suggestion to tattoo him on London Ink and then him doing his thing to me! So I do a tattoo on him and then he takes me up on a plane to do a tandem jump from 15, 000 ft and I do it in my suit!

Wow, you’re so brave! Were you not terrified?

It was good fun! I wasn’t scared which was weird because I thought I would be absolutely shitting myself but I didn’t! They were very good and professional about it all and made it really easy, plus when you’re tandem jumping it’s idiot-proof anyhow, you just do what they tell you. I would recommend it to anyone because it’s one of those things that everyone should do before they die.

Is there going to be a third series?

Well we don’t know as yet. The thing is, we are dealing with a big corporate entity and they don’t really tell us that much. If you ask a question they never give you a direct answer. So if I ask them if we’re going to do a third series, they just say “I don’t know.â€

It would be nice to think that we’re going to get another series because it does seem to have been extremely popular but you just don’t know because TV is such a fickle thing at the moment as there is so many channels out there.

Like take the first series for example, it got the highest ratings for something like 2.5 years, and despite that, they didn’t let us know there was going to be another series before 2 and a half months before we started filming. So what I try to do is think that we won’t do any more and if we do make another series then it’s a bonus!

When you first started tattooing it was quite a taboo industry, how did you get into the business in the first place?

I opened my studio when I was 18 and I actually started tattooing when I was 14, it’s all I ever wanted to do, I never wanted to do anything else.

Did you ever think it would lead to this level of success?

No, not at all. When I first started out there were less than 200 studios in the country and there are now about 2, 000! I don’t think anyone ever imagined how big it would get; it’s expanded hugely over the past ten year or so but it’s also brought a lot of idiots into the industry but I’m hoping the current economic crisis will get rid of some of the dickheads in it anyway.

What has been your most difficult tattoo to date?

I’ve not done it yet.