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Beneath The Skin: The history of everything told through the history of tattooing

Beneath The Skin tattoo podcast interview


Beneath The Skin: The history of everything told through the history of tattooing

Have You Heard? is where the Pod Bible team meet the people behind the podcasts you may not have heard of yet. This time we’re speaking to Thomas O’Mahony from one of our ESSENTIAL podcasts of 2022, Beneath The Skin…

What was the first podcast you ever listened to?

The first podcast I ever listened to is a show called the GiantBombcast back in 2009, I was a big gamer at the time and I didn’t have the best internet connection to watch reviews or previews so it was a great way to stay in the loop and the personalities of all the hosts really impressed on me that doing a podcast could be fun.

Why did you decide to start podcasting in the first place?

I always had a creative streak but never really knew what to do with it, I’m not the best writer and can’t draw but always wanted to make things. After a stint in college radio I did an internship in commercial radio but the format never felt right. Eventually I decided to give podcasting a try when I went back to study journalism after listening to them for so many years and immediately it clicked. All the ideas I had in my head seemed to start to take form and I saw all the little threads that would pull the fragments of my notebooks together to become a reality.

Which podcasts do you take inspiration from?

I take a lot of inspiration from shows like Articles of Interest. I like to think about how different storylines come together to influence something as a whole, like the story of how a forearm tattoo on Tsar Nicholas II intersects with the Meiji Restoration in Japan and the decline of the Dutch trading companies. I like shows that take a small, almost inconsequential, story and use it to connect it to something bigger and more nuanced.

How do you navigate talking about the cultural aspects of tattooing?

One of the biggest things to remember about tattooing is that it is not a monolith, from the outside most non-tattooed people just see tattoos as tattoos, ink in skin and nothing much more than that, all painted with the same brush. When in reality tattooing as a culture is very diverse, from styles, to regions, to even who’s applying them. There has always been a very rich cultural history in tattooing that far predates tattooing machines or our modern ideas around tattooing. It’s an artistic medium that has touched every culture and subculture you could imagine, so it’s a lot more diverse and deep than most people think

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt so far as a podcaster?

Always save a backup and don’t drink sparkling water before recording.

Which episode would you say is the perfect introduction to your podcast?

I would recommend either our second episode, ‘Into the Land of the Painted People’ on the prehistoric origins of tattooing, or our episode on ‘Britain’s first professional tattooist’ Sutherland McDonald.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

There’s no such thing as a bad tattoo, just ones that aren’t appreciated yet.

Where can Pod Bible readers find out more about you?

You can find us on Instagram @beneaththeskinpod where we also share images of some of the tattoos we talk about in the show!

Beneath The Skin

Listen to Beneath The Skin on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and other popular podcast apps >>

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