So, first of all: NYC has a “vampire community.” Some of them meet regularly at the Houston Street bar Madame X, they have (assumed) names like “Valerus,” and “Crucifane,” they participate in ceremonies called “Keeper of the Blood” and “Scroll Induction Rites.” Many wear fangs and suck blood (consensually, of course).

As part of a fascinating profile on the Court of Lazarus, “New York City’s largest vampire community,” Voactiv conducted the above interview with Ra, a “fangsmith” from Jersey who supplies many of the city’s vamps with their chompers.

Why fangs? Aside from their vampiric aesthetic appeal, sometimes, “You have to let people know from a distance that you’re not to be fucked with,” says Ra.