Interview by Dale Roy (over the phone) with Keith Dempe during the first days of 1998...

Here is an interview I did with the mighty Eternal Darkness mag/label/distribution from Pennsylvania. It is long and I hope in depth, the way I like interviews to be. Keith is a long time undergrounder, he has been doing this as long as some reading this have probably drawn breath on this mud ball. Keith has been like a mentor to me and has seem and done much in metal, so read carefully he speaks words of  wisdom and intelligence that comes with expierence. Read on…



Tell us about the year and age you first got into the underground!??.

Okay, I first got into metal around 1982, when I was about 10 years old with bands like Iron Maiden and bands of that nature that were really big at the time. Then every year I was into it (metal) I wanted more and more extreme stuff. I first heard Venom in ’84, and I first got Venom in ’85 with “Welcome To Hell” and that sent me on my journey to the underground.

What were the first demo/zines/bands you originally got into???.

The first ‘zine I ever saw or read was called Unholy Book and I think it was from Texas, I’m not sure but I bought it in a local record store here and loved it. That inspired me all the way up to until today, it still inspires me. Metal Forces, was always big back when that was more of a ‘zine then a magazine, it was always big on my list. Morbid…Morbid magazine from Norway and Sweden, when he (the editor) moved to Sweden. Umm…early demos, Dreamdeath - “More Graveyard Delving” (demo ’86), was a real big one that inspired me to get more into the underground with tape trading, a lot of Pittsburg bands like Dreamdeath, Bird Of Prey, early Necropolis…uh…

What was the first band you wrote!??.

That would be Pedophile in Arizona…it’s kind of a funny story, cause I wrote away for Morbid mag from Norway. I was living in Mesa, Arizona and (when) I got Morbid mag, I read about Pedophile, who lived 2 streets over and I wrote them through a Norwegian magazine (There in lies one of the true beauties of the underground scene! -Dale). That was the first band, I ever wrote.

When did you first begin tape trading???.

I started tape trading with my friends in 1986. When I got my first dual deck stereo in 1986. I moved to Arizona (From Pennsylvania), I met lots of people who were into tape trading and the scene down there. So, I really expanded when I moved down there in 1987. I started building a list.

Okay…without getting too deep into your record label or your mag yet. Do you feel your tape trading suffers, due to restraints on your time, produced by your other activities!??.

Oh yeah!. Good question, I really do. I’m afraid, (anymore) I only have a couple of tape traders and your one of them (Yes, I am I count myself lucky Keith’s list fucking rocks! -Dale). You know for yourself how long it takes me to get tapes back to people. But I always apologize to ‘em and always try to send neat stuff when I can. But yeah it does suffer.

When and how did you get the idea for Eternal Darkness mag!??.

Okay, I was reading a ‘zine from…I was really into ‘zines in the like the mid to late ‘80’s. I was reading a ‘zine from New Jersey called Hammerhead and said to myself “hey I could do this”, and sure enough a couple of months later I had one starting to develop and about a year later in 1989, I put out my first issue. But, Hammerhead ‘zine is why Eternal Darkness exists today!.

Cool…some of your favorite all time fanzines, past and present???.

Old ones would definitely be Unholy Book, Morbid, the old Wild Rag! Before it turned into a newsletter I really loved the old Wild Rag!. And uh new ones I really like are Heresy from Australia, I like Visionary’s Dream form New Jersey a lot, The Sepulchral Voice R.I.P. Uh the ‘zines that look underground but are well written, is what means a lot to me. The writing and the underground look to it.

Preach on brother Dempe!!…we share that same philosophy!.

Yeah Canadian Assault to of course!.

Ah ah ah…How did your first issue turn out and how many copies were printed???.

The first issue was rough, it was the stapled in the corners(type thing), it was done on a really old type writer(gasp…type writer, what’s that!? Ha ha -Dale), my first 3 issues were done on this horrible old type writer. They were put together neatly at least, I put a lot of time into them, it(issue one) sold like only a hundred copies.

Is that how many you printed???.

That is how many I printed. It is sold out, I only printed a hundred copies.

What bands were in your first issue???.

There was 6 bands interviewed, there was Nocturnus, Human Remains from Phoenix, Black Ritual from Pennsylvania, Arcane from Texas, Hellwitch from Florida and one other I can’t remember right now.

Can you explain the long history of Eternal Darkness mag and the old school kings Order From Chaos!??.

Oh sure, I wrote to Chuck(Keller) to get a “Crushed Infamy” demo in 1989. He sent one to get reviewed in issue two of Eternal Darkness, I reviewed it and sent the issue to him. He called me up and said it was the first magazine to compare Order From Chaos to the bands they actually wanted to be compared to. Like (bands such as) Bathory, Terrorizer, Carcass, stuff like that which we were really big fans of at the time and still are. Our relationship just blossomed from there, we started tape trading. Then that summer Chuck, the summer of 1990 he said that he had to come down and visit his Aunt in Tuscon(Arizona), I was living in Phoenix at the time. So I said why don’t you stay with me for the week that he was down and he did. It became a yearly thing, he would come down and visit me and I became really good with them(the band) and eventually released a seven inch of theirs. And umm…I was friends with all of them until they broke up, but I’m still really good friends with Chuck and Mike today.

How about a few words on your series of compilation tapes!??.

I started the compilation tapes, that was back in ‘90/91. For mags to put out a simple compilation tape with some of the bands from the issue in it, So I did that, it’s not such a big thing today like it was back then. I just wanted to show people reading my magazine what the bands I was raving about in the pages sounded like.

That’s kinda cool, cause people can hear a sample of what the bands sound like and know for sure if they will want to order it!

Yeah exactly, nowadays people put out CD’s with their magazines, unfortunately I don’t have the money to do that. I’m still putting out compilation tapes, there looking a little better than they used to. I’m getting them done more professionally, there will be a new compilation tape with this issue too.

Oh really!?…I thought you had ended the compilation tapes!?, or that was just the Darkness comp series you ended!??.

Yes the long series, so to speak the four compilation tapes, that were in that (were ended). This one will only be like 30-40 minutes just some of the best bands of the issue and it will only go out with the issue, it won’t be sold separately.

That’s a good idea, I might even steal that one from you ha ha.

Heh heh go for it man!.

Did you find the comp tapes were a lot of fun to do and do you still sell them!??.

Oh yeah, they are all for sale, they all cost 3 US/4 elsewhere (postage included), except for the last one, from ’96 it is five dollars, cause it’s done more professionally…

Could you list them for anyone that wants to order!??.

Sure, the first one is called “In The Darkness’ Cold Clutches” from 1991(90 minutes), 2nd is “Darkness Reborn” from 1992(90 minutes), 3rd “A Dark Time” from 1993(80 minutes), then “Let’s Fight In The Dark” from 1996(90 minutes).

When did you come up with the idea and concept of forming your record label???.

It kind of started with the compilation tapes, I had hoped it would always blossom into more. But I never had the money but uh…I originally went into it with a friend to do a seven inch in 1994. It was to be(either) Order From Chaos or Nepenthe, but Nepenthe weren’t ready to release anything at the time. So I got O.F.C. to give me some live tracks they recorded in the studio and that became the “Live: Into Distant Fears” 7”. My friend kinda bailed on me, so it just became Eternal Darkness Records, just from doing that seven inch. So far, I’ve released 3 seven inches and a couple cassettes…

Kay hold on, your going right into my next question…perfect. Could you list all of the products you have put out and describe each one!??.

Sure, 1994 I have the Order From Chaos live 7”, it had 2 songs for 16 minutes. Live O.F.C., that was almost unheard of and it is available(as bonus tracks) on the “Plateau Of Invincibility” CD. But, it’s better on vinyl cause vinyl rules!(He only speaks the truth! -Dale). It’s available on red and black vinyl and Order From Chaos play the best black/death war metal(ever) in the scene!. The next release wasn’t until early 1996, I released the Vulpecula(band made up Chuck Keller formerly of O.F.C. and Chris from Nepenthe - Dale) demo ’95, but it wasn’t really an extended release. That was put out to just tide(us) over until the, until I put out the Vulpecula 7” ep out, but the demo is still available for anyone who just wants a cassette of it. But, the seven inch “Phoenix Of Creation”

which is the same as the demo and is available on blue or black vinyl, they noclucent black metal in the vein of ancient Samael or Mortem from Norway, very cult sound, very underground sound. It’s the first recording the band ever did in the studio together. Then spring of ‘’96 I released…(pause)…I re-released the Nepenthe - “Ligea” 7”. Which was supposed to be released on a European label, which I will not mention here, that kinda bailed on them. So I released it, it is 4 US/5 dollars every place else. They really, really brutal death metal in the vein of like Treblinka(who later became Tiamat -Dale) or Nihilist(who changed there name and formed Entombed -Dale) a very Swedish sound.

Okay, your working on a split 7” ep release right!??.


Tell us about that and what bands are invovled???.

Well, my next release which isn’t out yet, it will be out in early February(1998, this interview was conducted on Jan.13th/98 -Dale). It is a band called Aries Kingdom which is Chuck and Mike formerly of O.F.C., their first project since Order From Chaos together(the release will be in the form of a cassette ep -Dale). Then the split 7” is gonna be Aries Kingdom and R.U. Dead?, which is a band from Germany that is Fleshcrawl(the Black Mark records band) members and ex-members of a band called Poison. It will be a Eternal Darkness and Majestic Union Records from Germany(co releasing it).

Now when you say ex-Poison members, this maybe interesting to the readers, is that the old speed metal band from Germany!??.

Yeah, exactly there are one or two members(in R.U. Dead?) that are from the old speed metal band. R.U. Dead? are a very intense band one of my personal favorites. It is going to be great to do a seven inch with them.

When pressing a 7”, how many do you usually press!??.

Usually 500 at a time I usually see how it sells then do a pressing in another color five, six or seven hundred that is usually as far as it goes.

Can you give a rough release date and price on the new issue # 11!??.

The new issue will be out by the end of January for certain, cause I’m done typing it. I’m just laying it out now. It costs $6 dollars US and comes with a sampler tape with Cromlech, Tyrant from Australia, Armageddon, Holocaust and a lot of good bands. The issue is gargantuan, well over 80 pages(fuck he is not joking either, that number could well inflate past the 100 page mark when all is said and done! -Dale).

Please give us a list of all the bands featured!??.

Okay let me get the list…(pause)…This issue has lots of different kinda bands, like lots of power metal, lots of black metal and death metal. Let’s see, we have interviews with: Samael, Cradle Of Filth, Angra, Steel Prophet, Summon from the United States, Pentacle, Scepter(see this interview elsewhere for a preview of the killer work Keith does! -Dale), Witch-Hunt, Misery, Dew Scented, Ablaze My Sorrow, Disciple, Mournful Congregation, Martire, Star Gazer, War Hammer, Conqueror. It’s a big issue, I hope everyone enjoys it, I have big hopes for this issue!.

On what basis do you choose bands for a releases, on your E.D. records???.

Well, if I have the money that’s the first thing!. I like to think ahead and not to overestimate my budget. But usually I have to know the band or be friends with them and know them as people as well. Of course love their music!, I have to be totally dedicated to their music to want to put out a 7” or a ep of their music.

So you would never release anything you weren’t heavily into but you know will sell!??.

No! Never! On thing you can say about Eternal Darkness bands is that they don’t sell very well. That’s one thing I can say about myself, I don’t sign bands on the basis of whether they sell, so I have to like ‘em.

That is the way it should be!!.

Yeah! I just sign stuff that I would like to have in my collection.

Are there any bands at the moment, you have your eye on you would like to eventually release something from!??.

Well, Christian of Inverted from Sweden, and I have talked about releasing a 7” but I think that is probably way in the offing now. That’s about it, there’s a couple of bands I would have loved to have done something with like Forest Of Proud Slavs from Poland, or Darkened from the US I liked a lot.

Has there been many setbacks financially for the mag & label???.

Yeah no money! Ha ha it’s always been a big problem. I don’t have like a really good job, I um always seem to be kinda in between jobs or in a job that doesn’t pay too well. As I’m still in college, I’m a bio/chem major and I’m trying to bachelors in that so I can work in criminalistics.

Very cool!.

Yeah nothing fancy, but I always get it out(mag/label releases), I sell enough to keep it afloat. So it’s a lot of integrity, a lot of heart.

Have you ever had any printers/pressers give you  grief with printing explicit materials!??.

When I have gotten the mag done professionally over the years. I’ve always had problems with printers objecting to the material or going against what I say or what I want so I just choose to do it myself. I’ve had stuff like printers loosing originals and just outrageous stuff like that, I just can’t stand!.

How does your distribution go?, a lot of trading with with other distros and labels???.

I just trade with a lot of labels and distributions yeah, the first couple months when it(a release) first comes out I do a lot of trading. My mail bill(during this period) is really expensive. Yeah I trade with a lot of labels like Moribund and Merciless and a lot of good labels like that. I sell a lot through my catalogue, that’s how I sell most if it after the(initial) big push for it.

Is your label specific to one genre or is it open to anything under the mighty banner of metal!??.

It’s open to anything under the banner of metal, so far it’s just been black/death pretty much. I love all forms of metal from doom to heavy metal to black and death metal. All over the place I love all forms of metal.

Now onto my fave question in this mag. What is your opinion on the powerful Venom and their glorious “Black Metal” LP!??.

Venom’s “Black Metal” ahhh yes!! I love the album, it is truly a classic. It’s not my favorite Venom album, but it’s definitely one of my favorite albums of all time. My favorite Venom album is “Welcome To Hell”, “Black Metal” is second and is probably in my top 10 of all time. Truly great and a landmark release for the band. Anybody who say they are sloppy hard rock or whatever they are saying this week, can just go jump off of a bridge cause Venom, they are the kings of the scene and always will be! (couldn’t have said it better myself, hell yeah!! -Dale).

Okay Keith hold on bro this is a long winded one. I hear a lot of people, who have been around for a long time in the scene, who have been in the scene a long time and are very cynical towards it, saying it is not like the old days. I mean I see there point to some extent but I think they are just being ignorant to some of the good things and great bands scattered throughout the underground scene these days. Yourself being an old timer of the scene, I would like to get your opinion on this and how you see the scene as it stands today!??.

Okay…that’s very good, I wanted to talk about this!. I think the scene today is good as musically as it used to be…uh…there are some bands today that I just adore, just as I adored Venom and Exciter, Demon years ago. But, the only difference I can see today is there’s a  lotmore cynicism and eliteism (yes very true, metal is a brotherhood, support each other and we will prosper! -Dale), like especially in the black metal scene, there’s attitudes galore. With the bands I’ve encountered in live situations or on the phone have just been… (pause)…some have just been total assholes. I see a lot of fans like this too. But aside from that I think the scene has the potential to be just as good as it used to be. I like what’s coming out today(on the whole).

Have you ever had any hate mail, from the things you have said in your mag!??.

Someone just asked me this the other day, it was my girlfriend, she asked if I had ever received any nasty letters. I don’t think I have. I’ve received a couple nasty letters from churches that have gotten my address. Yeah they sent me literature and said quit the mag and change your ways or you’ll be cursed for the rest of your life blah, blah, blah, I’m not kidding either. I wrote the address on their pamphlets and told them off.

What do you know about Canada as a country!??.

I know it’s a country with some great bands heh heh…

Hah you don’t get off that easy man. I want to hear what you know about Canada as a nation???.

I’ve been to Niagra Falls, the Canadian side and it’s pretty much like America I guess, but things cost a little bit more(tell me about it!! -Dale). I would like to live in Canada some day, it sounds like a really nice place, I don’t know much about Canada just what I see on t.v..

What are some of the things you see on television!??.

Umm…like Northern Expsoure.

That’s an American show!.

Yeah ha ha. Well just like it’s nice and cold up there and I sound like a idiot now! ha ha.

Ah ah ah you did not too bad man, Americans are notoriously uninformed about Canada, on the other hand the average Canadian is very knowledgeable about America. Go ahead and grill me on all the states and their capitals ha ha. Okay back to the music, what do you think of the Canadian scene past and present???.

I love the Canadian scene!. They always impressed me, Canadian bands over the years like Slaughter or Razor or Voivod, Blasphemy. Today, Conqueror, Sacramentary Abolishment, Tenebrae these bands impress me. I always thought that god gave Canadians tow doeses of heaviness(Ain’t that the truth, ever scene the gut on me!! Ha ha -Dale), cause there are always good bands from Canada. Quo Vadis I like, lotta good bands up there.

Do you think there is quote a ‘Canadian sound’???.

I haven’t noticed one, but back in the ‘80’s bands like Obliveon, Soothsayer, Yog Sothoth…

You go….you do know your Canadian metal!.

Ohh I used to love those bands, I still do old Soothsayer that “To Be A Real Terrorist” demo is one of my favorites.

How did you first come up with your moniker???.

Eternal Darkness!? Well, I got it out of some old Destruction lyrics, off of “Infernal Overkill”. I always found the words Eternal Darkness fit together, I thought it was a good title so I used it.

How do my readers get your catalogue!??.

Okay, all you gotta do in the United States it’s free and anywhere else it’s a dollar or I.R.C.(take my advise it is packed with cool shit and Keith sells things at very cheap prices -Dale). Whatever you can afford any kind of return postage is great.

Time to wrap…how about some final comments to the Canadian Assault readers!

I wanna thank you, Dale. Also to tell your readers to support Canadian Assault and Eternal Darkness. Stay true to yourself and the music. Fuck the trends!.







Click above to return to the homepage