Artist of the Month: Mike Roberts

Mike Roberts is a tattoo artist working out of Grizzly Tattoo in Portland, Oregon. His style is mainly old school with a tendency towards darker imagery such as horror movie icons, weapons, and the undead, but you can catch him making more Japanese inspired pieces such as flowers and dragons as well.

Wolf head and skull/drinking horn
Plague Doctor (fitting for the times)

Mike is the perfect artist to feature in October, as much of his work consists of the macabre; everything from wolves and spiders to medieval torture devices and undead warriors that give me strong Evil Dead and Army of Darkness vibes.

Gory devil stomach piece
Mouth of Sauron for all you Tolkien nerds

But don’t worry if you can’t make it to Mike in October, he’s tattooing spooky pieces all year round, doing both large scale pieces and one offs. Grizzly Tattoo is a must stop shop if you live in Portland or are passing through.

Crow and roses
Awesome medieval looking dragon on the ribs

What’s your favourite horror movie?

Bloody knight
Bloody guillotine
‘Tis but a scratch! Monty Python piece
centipede and spider both done by Mike

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Artist of the Month: Roblake

Roblake is an artist specializing in black work designs with mainly old school motifs. Working out of Dead Slow in Brighton, Roblake also sells merchandise such as prints and clothing here.

Sweet filler head piece.
Matching hands

Roblake has a very distinctive style, taking inspiration from old school flash while adding his own flare that includes detailed line work and sometimes soft and delicate shading inside of tough looking pieces.

Beautiful nesting doll
Big one shot chest dragon

He is particularly well known for his knife designs, whether they be a sharp singular switchblade, a row of daggers, or a knife through a skull.

Healed row of knives
Devil and lady

Along with tattooing, Roblake has an extensive tattoo collection, and also does some clothing modelling.

Burning cop car and getaway car
Healed forearm pieces

If you’re in Brighton or passing through, Roblake is a must see artist, or, if you can’t visit, check out his online store.

Beautiful peonies
Big stomach piece

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Tattoo History 10: George Burchett

Referred to as the “king of tattooists” by himself and others, George Burchett- (Davis) was one of the most famous tattoo artists of his age, particularly in the UK. Notably tattooing in London, marking both the social elite and the hard working class, and even members of the Royal family.

George working on a forearm piece. (photo colourized)
Burchett Devil by Quinn Jordan Campbell.

In Burchett’s “Memoirs of a Tattooist” he states that “I have tattooed the subjects of six sovereigns, starting with portraits of Queen Victoria. The tradition has been maintained and still seemed to be strong when I prepared the designs for the coronation of 1953.” He also reminisces about tattooing The Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, one of Queen Victoria’s favorite nephews, Prince Christian Victor, a grandson of Queen Victoria, and King GeorgeV. Along with English royalty he also tattooed King Alfonso XIII of Spain, and King Frederick IX of Denmark.

Burchett was born in Brighton in 1872, and had a very early introduction to tattooing. He practiced tattooing on his five year old brother, Charles, who apparently traded candy for some scratched designs in his skin. George also tattooed his classmates until he was expelled for doing so at the age of twelve.

Burchett doing a full back. Found thanks to vintage tattoo archive, linked at the end of article.
Burchett tiger head done by Mike C Davies.

After being expelled, George joined the Royal Navy and sailed as a deckhand all over the British Empire, including stops in the West Indies, the Mediterranean, Africa, India, and East Asia. This was also where he fell farther in love with tattooing, as he was able to see marvellous styles and designs from all over the world. He was able to develop his own skill and style by tattooing other sailors.

Life at sea proved to not be for George, so he left the navy while on leave in Israel, and set up his first shop in Jerusalem. This only lasted a short time as he feared being caught by authorities for deserting the navy. This led to him boarding a Spanish merchant ship. He was able to avoid persecution for twelve years, but missed England. It was at this point that he dropped the “Davis” in his last name to make it harder to catch him, and set up shop in London, but this time as a cobbler. Though he did continue to tattoo on the side whenever the opportunity arose. During this time he was fortunate enough to meet two other legendary artists, Tom Riley and Sutherland MacDonald. MacDonald took George under his wing and taught him more about techniques and designs of tattooing.

Burchett black trad design by Coque Sin Amo.
George’s shop. Found on vintage tattoo archive.

During his time as a cobbler/tattooer he grew more and more popular with the working class as a top tattoo artist, working mainly on sailors, dock workers, and transients that happened through London from all around the world. In 1900 George was able to start tattooing full time and give up cobbling. He opened a proper shop on Mile End Road where he could easily catch soldiers on their way to the front lines in World War One.

As his shop grew in clientele, so did his reputation, leading him to tattoo more wealthy Londoners, and even royals. Though Riley and MacDonald tattooed more royals than he.

King Frederick IX of Denmark, dragon on the chest tattooed by Burchett in London.
George tattooing “The Great Omi.”

Another of his more famous clients was “The Great Omi,” (Horace Ridler) who was a well known circus performer. George was paid several thousand dollars to tattoo a full body suit that turned The Great Omi into a human zebra.

George is also one of (if not the) first artists to use tattooing as a cosmetic procedure, tattooing women lips and eyebrows (though he also tattooed many flowers and lovers initials on his female clientele).

George tattooing a woman’s eyebrows.
Colourized photo of Burchett tattooing a woman’s leg.

George Burchett was undeniable a classic American traditional artist, though like many historical and modern tattooers, drew influence from African and Asian art that he had the good fortune to see during his travels at sea.

He tried to retire at the age of 70 in 1942, but because of World War Two, tattoos were at an all time high demand, essentially forcing him and his two sons to tattoo the immense amount of soldiers and sailors walking through the door.

Another shot of “The Great Omi.”
Burchett battle piece done by Nick Roses.

Because he never retired, George worked until Good Friday of 1953 when he died suddenly at the age of 81. His work is still highly influential today with people still getting his designs, or variations of them, tattooed in large numbers.

To read more on Burchett’s life and legacy check out the links below: https://www.tattoolife.com/tattoo-portraits-george-burchett-king-tattooists/

https://www.tattooarchive.com/history/burchett_george_charles.php

As well as the books “King of Tattooists: The Life and Work of George Burchett” and “Memoirs of a Tattooist

Check out https://www.instagram.com/vintagetattoophotoarchive/ for more vintage tattoo photos

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Winnipeg Artist 12: Joel Mijker

Joel is an artist working out of Rebel Waltz Tattoo in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

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Classic cry baby.
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Big panther and a snake locked in battle.
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Deconstructed anchor and a bit of a seascape/sunset.
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Fingers crossed.
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Swallows and a heart for mom.
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Spooky demon.

Joel does classic American traditional tattoos. He has plenty of flash to choose from, or you can bring an idea to him.

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Good luck horseshoe. This design used to usually be done with the horseshoe facing upright, to keep the luck in. But now people seem to get it upside down more and more, seeming to be a sign of making your own luck.
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Nice vacation in a bottle with this one.
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Geisha with a beautiful kimono and umbrella.
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Blackwork stomach with geometric flowers and peony. Lots of lines!
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Black rose and Bert Grimm crying heart.
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Mean looking spider and crying eye.

Joel does both colour pieces as well as blackwork.

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Blackwork peony in more of a Japanese style.
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Twisty dragon, an American take on a Japanese design.
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Geometric vase and wrap around snake.
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Traditional Aboriginal lady head.
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Fortune teller lady head and Bert Grimm tiger head.

You can search him up on Instagram and see when he is doing walk-ins, or contact him and set up an appointment.

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Sleazy Mickey.
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Blackwork snake.
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Tough boxer and rose in blackwork style.
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Butterfly for a gap filler.
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Crowned Jesus blackwork piece.

Joel sticks to the classics, and does it well. He has crisp bold lines and solid shading, all within a readable trad piece.  He is a must visit artist if you’re in Winnipeg.

Winnipeg Artist 10: Don Ritson

Don Ritson is the owner of Rebel Waltz in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

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Black and red Japanese dragon.
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Japanese geisha piece with flower kimono.
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Classic American traditional filler rose.
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Demon making off with a woman as a painful stomach piece.
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Japanese Oni demon.
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Healed lil castle and flower.

Don works in mainly in American traditional style, as well as Japanese and some black work. When doing American traditional style, his pieces are heavy on black and red.

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Jesus with the cross.
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Lady head with some spooky skeletal hands.
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Bright red chrysanthemum flower.
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Classy smoking woman.
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Classic design featuring an eagle, skull, and snake.

Don has done two of my own tattoos, both of my forearms which are a gramophone and a design based off of the rose of no mans land. Don is a very friendly guy who makes getting tattooed a genuinely pleasant experience.

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My own forearm pieces. Blackwork gramophone and rose of no mans land.
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Bert Grimm’s tiger. Lots of black with some red to make it pop.
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Creepy reaper.
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Traditional wolf. Heavy on the black!
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Rock of ages in a beautiful full back piece.

You’ll find Don taking walk ins on Saturdays, though starting earlier this month (April 2018) the shop will rotate the main artist doing walk ins. You can find Don’s contact info on the Rebel Waltz website.

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Vicious looking dragon head on the inner bicep.
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Asian woman with a wrap around snake.
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Butterfly with woman’s face.
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Statue of Liberty and the Virgin Mary.
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The Forks in Winnipeg.

Don is a must see artist if you are in Winnipeg. He also does guest spots in Canada so watch his Instagram for that as well.

Winnipeg Artist 8: Jan Veldman

Jan Veldman works at Gypsy Cat Tattoos in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

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Matching Russian nesting dolls with totem designs.
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Blackwork death’s head moth.
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Big ole’ werewolf and red moon.
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Badass cobra with witchy hands.
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We all float down here… Pennywise and balloon.
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A Salvador Dali inspired piece.
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Traditional ship with flowers.
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He’s late! Black and grey white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland.
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Terrifying snake lady with barbed wire.

Jan’s style can be characterized as neo traditional and new school, with a hint of American traditional thrown into the mix. He tattoos everything from classic roses to characters from shows and movies.

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Ghost sheet tattoo with some classic flowers.
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Devilish baphomet in black and grey.
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American traditional style Jesus Christ and cross.
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Hobo cat doing his thing!
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Japanese good fortune Maneki Neko cat.
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A drunk Speedy Gonzales.
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Road Runner and Wile E Coyote.
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Creepy new school spider with eyeball.

Most of Jan’s work is bright and bold, but he doesn’t shy away from some brilliant black and grey work either!

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Neo trad woman and wolf head.
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Classic and deadly scorpion with red background.
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A ghostly Bart Simpson with some script and trad flowers.
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Cute little cactus with budding flowers.
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Bender!
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Bright red chameleon.
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Adorable Michelangelo with his favourite food.
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Super cute new school cupcake.

Bring in your own design or pick one of his. Whatever you choose, Jan is a must see artist in Winnipeg!

Artist of the Month: James Mckenna

James Mckenna is an artist at Foothills Tattoo Byford – Western Australia. James is a painter as well as a tattoo artist, with a focus on surreal and horror themed pieces, mixing American traditional and neo traditional styles.

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Multiple skulls as a gap filler.
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Elbow ditch surrealist skull hidden within spider webs.
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Vicious demon above a skull and snake piece.
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Leopard within a leopard within a leopard.
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Traditional elbow mandala.

The majority of James’ work features skulls, often hidden within designs. Other work includes lady heads, animals, and demons.

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Neo traditional lady head.
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Leg sleeve castle with secret passages and a snake mixed in.
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Big ole’ jaguar, scorpion, and flower. Heavy on the black!
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Skull added to the stomach piece!
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Neo traditional bear and skull in a tender spot!
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Healed blackwork snake within a snake!
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Leg snake!
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Evil looking demon under the armpit.
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Butterfly lady head!
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New twist on a classic skull and snake.
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Jaguar and lady head.
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Knee big cat and butterfly.

James is a must see artist if you’re travelling through Western Australia.

Artist of the Month: Sergey Vaskevich

Sergey Vaskevich is a tattoo artist from Minsk, working out of Good Sign Tattoo. His work is dark traditional and neo-traditional. His work is dark both in colour, and in imagery. Often featuring devils, demons, ghosts,and occult designs, along with the occasional fetish piece.

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Horrifying bat head.

He has a fantastic imagination, combining often mundane designs with a fantastic mix of death and horror.

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Devil head and mountain range.
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Vampiric looking ladyhead with her own great snake tattoo.
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Knee mandala
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Wicked throat piece of a fiery candle.
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Beautiful harp.
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NSFW fetish/torture piece.
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Spooky occult piece featuring a demon hand making shadows.
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Classic wolf head.
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Fiery bold torch.
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Well and ghost.
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Classic bear head.
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Banging elbow spider.
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Fantastic demon head eating a naked woman.
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Severed ladyhead with moon and crow.

Which piece is your favorite?

Ghost (Band) Tattoos

Ghost is a popular metal band from Sweden that formed in 2008, and quickly became popular around the world. The bands macabre theme, costumes, lyrics, gothic sound, and artwork make for the perfect Halloween band. The vocalist “Papa Emeritus” is dressed as a Satanic Pope, and the instrumentalists all wear black clothing and devil masks, and go by the name “the nameless ghouls”. Adding to the band’s theme is an air of mystery. No one knows exactly who any of them are. Even when signing autographs, the vocalist signs with his stage name, and the nameless ghouls use stamps with their individual alchemical symbols, allowing people to focus on the art instead of them as individuals.. Despite their dark and often satanic lyrics, members of the band have stated that they are religious in some form, and have said in interviews that they are all “tongue-in-cheek”, it’s all for the entertainment and artwork.

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Realistic Papa Emeritus by Paul Acker at Seance Tattoo Parlour in Bensalem PA.
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Black and grey photo realistic Papa Emeritus by Salva Navalon.
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Another Papa Emeritus by Micke Bayman at True Heart Tattoo in Sweden.
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American traditional take on Papa Emeritus by Vince Genois in Quebec.
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Adorable cartoon version of Papa Emeritus by Stacey Martin at Golden Age Tattoo in Texas.
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Creepy caricature of Papa Emeritus by Ver Rou Ven in Berlin.
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Surrealist Nameless Ghoul by Ron Russo at 570 Tattooing Co in Wilkes Barre, PA.
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Black and grey Nameless Ghoul by Tim vonEvil at Evil Eye Tattoo in Stockholm, Sweden.

What is your favorite Ghost song?