Hello Daniel, thank you for
taking the time to fill out this interview with us. Please introduce
yourself to our readers.
I’m Daniel Ferguson, owner of Abyss Records and been involved in the
1990. Also use to do underground Fanzine “A View Into The Abyss” Zine (6
you first discover metal? Who were some of the first bands you listened
to? Who are some of your "current" favorites?
W.A.S.P. Animal (Fuck Like a Beast) changed my life and got me into metal as
we know it today. Some my personal favorites are bands on my label as well
the classics like Entombed, Autopsy, Darkthrone, Carnage, Destroyer 666,
Iron Maiden, Helloween, D.R.I., Kreator, Carcass, old Morbid Angel, Bolt
Thrower, Eucharist, In Flames, and so many more……
Going way back I remember
ordering (I think from you or possibly a then fledgling Moribund Disto) a
Darkness Enshroud 1993 cassette you performed on (under the name Rahu). Can
you tell us a bit about that time with this band, that recording session and
what you did on the demo tape?
use to work together with Michael Ford of Black Funeral / Darkness Enshroud
together, so he had asked me to do some backing vocals and I did. Plus
helped with the lay out of the Demo cassette, ect….. Kind of how some things
started to lead where I’m at today in business.
Enshroud tape. I also ordered a killer fanzine called A View Into The Abyss.
This was your fanzine,
please tell us what inspired you to start a fanzine in the first place? What
memories do you have of making the first couple issues and how many issues
total were made?
Just being involved with the scene and being in contact with a lot of bands
back in the day. Like I said 6 issues was made and some my best memories was
writing Varg/Burzum and Euronymous/Mayhem all before he was murdered and
getting the letter one day from
Hellhammer about the incident before the main stream media was all talking
about it. So being a part of the Black Metal movement.
Did you enjoy doing the
zine and why did you end up stopping it? Has it ever crossed your mind to
revive the zine? What do you think about webzines replacing printed fanzines
for the most part?
It was fun but a lot of hard work and back in the cut and paste method
days…. Hahaha I would say we sold at least 200 or so first issues and by the
6th issue it was selling around 300-500 copies or more. Been too long I
don’t remember plus printed up like 30-50 at a time….
I believe you also did a
compilation tape in the early days, tell us about that and was that the
start of Abyss Records? When did you decide to turn Abyss zine/distro into a
full-blown label? Are you happy with how things are progressing so far?
I did a compilation
cassette called “Extreme Hardcore Holocaust” back in 1990 and features some
great bands like Nocturnus, Skeletal Earth, Dead Horse, Radiation Sickness,
and others I was into back in the underground then. Around 1997 I done one
CD release Crimson Moon “To Embrace The Vampyric Blood” CD under Abyss
Productions, but done 2000 copies in two pressing and SOLD OUT (yeah I
remember that and wondered if Abyss Records was still going all those years…
selling on Ebay (due to limitations and their dumb as policies) I started
the label in late August 2008 and since then have not looked back. I’m happy
with the progress but would be even better to see more CD sales pick back up
and the support get better again.
You have or had a physical
Record store in Indianapolis correct? How long has the store been open? How much has traffic in the
store decreased in recent years with the proliferation of online cd ordering
and of course ordering mp3 albums online?
had a store front for about 5 years, closed down and tried another on other
side of town for about a year, then was sick and tired of the scene so I
closed and went to work from home. We had loyal customers and more that
would travel out of town than there was in town, sad but true.
Please tell the readers a
little about your releases? Are their any upcoming releases to watch out
for? Abyss recently took over John McEntee’s Ibex Moon online mailorder
activities, how did that come about?
They range from all Extreme genres of Metal Music, some have some members of
other bigger known bands and some are local bands I feel deserve global
support. I just sign bands that blow me away when I hear them and grow on me
when listen to the albums.
John called me and we have known each other for a long long time… I have
been trying to help him since he is on the road with bands, it’s harder for
him to keep up the mailorder. So we worked it out, but still hard to keep up
at times and communication all the time.
Do you work/run Abyss on
your own or do you have some friends that help you out? What would you say
is the easiest part and the hardest part about doing a label? What do you
look for when signing/releasing a band?
run mostly everything myself, but have Clawhammer PR help me with promotion
and couple friends Mike McCoy (who helps with online work & flyers) and Dan
Jones (who helps little around here with stock, inventory and flyers, ect).
The easiest part is now bands come to me and I pick and choose mainly, the
hardest is dealing with economy that goes up and down from day to day.
What are your thoughts on
Metal fans stopping collecting CDs, vinyls etc… in favour of mp3s and
actually do not seem want to be encumbered with a physical CD?
What does the term "underground metal" mean to you?
People who just download and think they are collectors are a fucking “JOKE”,
that is about as poser as one could get in my eyes. Continue doing the
damages and soon there will be no bands, no labels, and already see the
effects of stores disappearing. So the same thing with video games, movies
and take the cheap way out doesn’t show me any form of REAL support!!!!
Anyone can download every album online and say they have a huge collection,
so what is the point???? MP3 sound like shit too if people really knows
anything about sound quality and or cared, but guess that is more the newer
generation thing than mine. Most people today live a disposable lifestyle so
collecting is not important to them I think is the main case.
What kills me people willing to pay $60 for a video game that comes out &
plays almost the same as the last 5-6 versions of the same game, each and
every year, but complain about paying $11.99 for CD ???? People will spend
$100-$200 on a pair of shoes as well, today more people are worried about
what others think & social status all the time.
still go online and pay regular price as well in stores, when I know I can
go get for wholesale just as easy.... Sometimes it's NOT always about saving
a $1 or $2 but supporting those who keep things going and alive.
Are Abyss releases
available for people to buy as an mp3 album? Do you think this format is
hurting the scene and caused people to stop buying albums?
People can buy our releases on Amazon, Itunes, and all major download sites,
but can also buy actual CD for $10 and EP for $7 which is not much more and
have a physical copy for as long as you take care of it. The BEST is when I
hear people in bands talking about all they do is download and then turn
around and complain they didn't sell anything at a show.... WTF
seriously!!!!! I can't be the only one who takes notice of things like that
I think you have a family,
so with you running the label, doing the online distribution and organizing
shows etc… Do you have any problems balancing time and responsibilities with
the family and the label together? Tell us a bit about the live shows you
Yeah, work takes a lot of my time and I try my best to balance it between
some quality time with my wife and son, although I don’t get as much time as
I would like. Plus it takes away from my personal free time as well, it’s
hard to leave town for a day or two and especially a vacation.
use to book shows more when I had a store next to small venue called Emerson
Theater, which now it’s under poor management and does nothing but rip off
young local bands. However gives them a place to be heard I guess. Since
those days I have not done much with shows, except help here and there and
promote the ones Abyss Records artist are involved with the best I can.
You have been a part of the
metal UG in one way or another for 20 yrs. What is it that has kept you
motivated and going all these years? When the day does finally come and you
decide to put Abyss to rest for good. How would you like the metal fans to
remember you and Abyss?
Well honestly it’s NOT in my blood to give up and quit, rough times make me
push back even harder. Kind of like bands who really want it and others who
give up before really trying, but that goes with everything in life. Sure
you can get by day by day and live the same life for years, but I like to
create new ideas and evolve as we should in time.
I just want people to be able to look back at Abyss Records when I’m gone
and say damn, that was a great label with amazing bands involved. Become a
Kult label of the Metal Underground to be remembered forever, not just
another one in the numbers of countless labels with nameless bands involved.
Thank you Dan for taking
out the time to do this interview. Please give us some final words and how
people can contact you? We wish you the best of luck with your label and
activities metal brother. Cheers.
Thank you for the
support and everything, as well all our fans who do care and help support
Abyss Records as well other labels efforts. Once the labels are gone then
even the FREE downloads will disappear too as bands, labels and stores
continue to die out.