Interview by Dale Roy & Patrick Schroeder with Daniel Ferguson, owner of Abyss Records late June 2012…

We are happy to have this interview with a man that has been battling it out in the UG scene for decades, which all by itself shows the mans dedication and passion for the scene and the bands he supports. I first contacted Dan back around '93/94 sometime. He has come a long way since then and leaves a demo, a fanzine, a physical record shop and now a full fledged record label in its wake. Read on...



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 underground since 1990. Also use to do underground Fanzine “A View Into The Abyss” Zine (6 issues total). 

When did 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?

I 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.

When I ordered the Darkness 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… - Dale).

After leaving 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?

I 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?

I 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.

I 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 too..... Idiots!!!

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 have organized?

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.

I 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.

Abyss Records
8063 S. Madison Ave. #360
Indianapolis, IN 46227
Phone (317) 887-2302



Abyss Records Discography 

Bulletwolf - Double Shots of Rock and Roll, 2008

Christ Beheaded - Open The Gates of Hell 7" EP, 2008

Die Hard - Evil Always Return CD EP, 2008

Hordes of Nebulah - ...And Blasphemous Night Shall Fall, 2008

F.U.C.T. - Retain The Aggro, 2008

Angrepp - Prepare For The Attack Demo CD EP, 2009

Maax - Dawnbringer, 2009

Torture Division - With Endless Wrath... Compilation Album, 2009

Angrepp - Warfare, 2010

Chaossworn - Chalice of Black Flames 7" EP, 2010

Humangled - Fractal, 2010

Maax - Six Pack Witchcraft, 2010

Noctis Imperium - Nihil, 2010

Pasadena Napalm Division - P.N.D.  CD EP, 2010

Torture Division - Evighetens Darar, 2010

Wan - Wolves of The North, 2010

Bane - Chaos, Darkness & Emptiness, 2011

Dead Horse - Boiling 12" LP, 2011

Diabolical - Ars Vitae Live Album, 2011

Die Hard - Evil Always Return / Emissaries..., 2011

Entrench - Inevitable Decay, 2011

Fester - Silence, 2011

Hat - Vortex of Death, 2011

Hyperborean - The Spirit fo Warfare, 2011

Sincera - Cursed and Proud, 2011

The Gardnerz - The System of Nature, 2011

Thousand Year War - Tyrants and Men, 2011

Corrosive Carcass - Composition of Flesh, 2012

Desultor - Masters of Hate, 2012

Diseim - Holly Wrath, 2012

Eternal Helcaraxe - Against All Odds, 2012

Fester - A Celebration of Death, 2012

Fetus Stench - Stillbirth, 2012

Humangled - Odd Ethics CD EP, 2012

Maax - Unholy Rock & Roll, 2012

Radiation Sickness - Reflections of A Psychotic Past, 2012

Septekh - The Seth Avalanche CD EP, 2012

Southwicked - Death's Crown, 2012



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