MUSIC EXTREME WEBZINE (September 2001) (http://www.musicextreme.com/darknesset.htm)

1- How was "Dawn of the Suffering" received by the people and the press?

The reception for "Dawn Of The Suffering" was great! It was much better than I would have ever thought it would have been, I mean, the style of death metal that I play is one of the most obscure, extreme, and darkest forms of metal out there, so I was very surprised to see the response it got. "D.O.T.S" got great reviews from over 85 magazines and webzines world wide, and many of the people that ordered it either directly from me or got it through stores or distro would write me back and let me know how much they liked it, so I am grateful to everyone that has supported DARKNESS ETERNAL and the debut CD thus far, hail to the underground!

2- You told me that you were entering the studio some time ago...How is the new recording going?

Yes, that is correct. Actually, as I do this interview I am in the studio recording the new DE CD. So far the recording is going good, I just completed all of the drum tracks, and the drums sound great so far, and we haven't even messed around with sound and eq's and stuff like that yet, so hopefully the end result will be good. I will be completing all of the guitar tracks (rhythm and leads) by the end of this week, and then I will complete the bass tracks and all of the vocals. Hopefully the final product, including mixing and mastering should be done in about 3 weeks from now, that is the plan for now, so we'll see how that goes, I don't want to rush anything because I want this to come out as good as possible, I plan to make it better than "D.O.T.S" in every aspect. I will let everyone know when the CD is finished via newsletters and my website at www.deternal.darkgod.net.

3- Which is the concept behind the lyrics in "Dawn of the Suffering"

The main concepts lyrically for "D.O.T.S" are very strong Anti-Christian and Anti-organized religion sentiments, The hatred I have for the world, the human race, and just life in general. "D.O.T.S" is just my total and honest expression of my most dark and hateful emotions and feelings, it is a very personal record, and the new one will be no different, in fact, it will take everything that was on "D.O.T.S" a step up, as this one will be even more hateful, more extreme, more unholy, and most importantly, DARKER than "D.O.T.S". I base all of my lyrics on my life experiences, and with "D.O.T.S" I went through many personal tragedies and I unleashed them on that CD, and with the new one, it will be no different, I went through more personal tragedy and all of it will show itself in a most obscure, extreme, depressive, and hateful form on the new CD, I promise this!

4- Why is Darkness Eternal a solo band? Do you have side projects that involve other people?

There are several reasons as to why DARKNESS ETERNAL consists of only just me, one of them being that for last three to four years of my life, I didn't have any time to find and compile actual members to form a live unit. I was working a regular job from 60-84 hours a week, I barely had anytime to do DE on my own as I was doing it, plus I had a lot going on in my personal life at those times, so that made it very hard for me to make DE a live band. Secondly, the scene here where I live is pretty small, and there aren't very many people into the kind of dark death metal that I play, and for me if I was ever to form a band, absolutely EVERY member of the band would have to be 110% into this dark and obscure music that I play. They would have to have their hearts into it and have to have a passion for dark and extreme metal. Also one advantage to doing DE the way I am doing it right now, is that I have 100% creative control from all aspects of the spectrum, and that is a good thing for me because I am a visionary. People need to understand that DARKNESS ETERNAL isn't a hobby for me or a "project", it is a way of life for me, plain and simple! I live for my music, I live for metal, I live for DARKNESS ETERNAL, and without these things I have absolutely no reason to be on this wasteland called earth. DARKNESS ETERNAL is and always will be my main priority, but currently I am playing bass for some good friends of mine in a band called RMC. To try to make a long story short, I used to play guitar for RMC, but when I tried to move to the USA, I had to leave them, so they replaced me with a long time friend of mine (and one of the best guitar players I've ever had the pleasure of jamming with). Well, in the meantime, they were having serious problems with their long time bass player, so just as things didn't work out for me in the US and I returned back home to Canada, they had a split with the bassist and they phoned me and asked me if I could fill in for him, so that is what I am doing right now. They are all great guys, and the best musicians I've ever played with, and I'm glad to be playing with them and helping them out right now. Whether it lasts or not, I don't know, as my life is in disarray right now, but we'll see, no matter what happens, RMC is a great band and they have been good and loyal friends to me and I am glad to return the favor, but like I said before DE is and always will be my main priority.

5- Are you doing all the artwork for Darkness Eternal?

No, I'm not doing the artwork this time around. I am proud and excited to announce that Jonzig is doing the artwork for the next DE release. I had a bit of a bigger budget (though not much bigger) to work with for this album, so I stretched the money I had as much as I could and I decided that I needed to get a pro artist for this release. As well as doing DE all by myself, I have to fund EVERYTHING myself as well, that is a lot for just one person, so for "D.O.T.S" I was forced to do the artwork myself to save money. After considering several artist, I knew Jonzig was the right one for me when I saw the amazing artwork he did for both Averse Sefira's CD's "Homecoming March" and "Battle's Clarion". Those are some dark pieces of work! Jonzig just sent me a sample of the artwork for the new DE release, and it is amazing!!! It totally fits the concepts of DARKNESS ETERNAL and the new CD and it is very dark and unholy! I am extremely happy with the way he displayed my vision, and I'm sure all the sick metal freaks out there will love the artwork for the new CD. You can check out Jonzig's work at his website located at www.jonzig.com, he is a phenomenal artist.

6- How important are the slower passages for Darkness Eternalīs music?

They are extremely important. The doom passages in my music are definitely a defining factor in the music, and I think mixing the elements that I do for DE, using utter despair ridden doom passages mixed with unrelenting fast dual guitar hatred and mystical clean sections is what separates DARKNESS ETERNAL from a lot of the bands both in the underground and in the mainstream. Doom has always been a style of metal that I both love and appreciate, I know that it is a very hard style of music to get into for a lot of people, and I'm talking about strict doom here, you know, bands like THERGOTHON, EVOKEN, and WORSHIP, but some of the best stuff I've ever heard is from the bands I've just mentioned. Unfortunately, a lot of people have the mentality where "oh it is so slow and boring" and whatever else, but to me that is the whole point. Sometimes you can speak more with two notes held out for 20 seconds each, than you can with a million notes in 2 seconds. To me it's all about the atmosphere you can create within the different realms of extremity. To many people, extreme is thought of as blistering speed and hyper blasting speeds of 200 mph, but to me something slow can be just as extreme, if not more extreme, as something fast and technical. It's all about the mood you create with the riff. If a riff has a dark and obscure feel to it, be it fastest of the fast or slowest of the slow, it doesn't matter, because as long as it has that feeling to it, that is all that matters to me. Everyone will see this in the new DE record, it has both the fastest and slowest stuff I've ever done, and it is going to be dark, obscure, and extreme in so many different ways. I will always strive to improve and advance with DARKNESS ETERNAL, but the roots will ALWAYS remain very firm, there will always be doom, and there will forever be the DARKNESS in the music, that will never change.

7- Has your music been labeled in many different ways: death metal, black metal, doom metal, etc?

Yes, my music has been labeled all of the above, and to tell you the truth, I don't have much of a problem with that. I personally refer to my music as unholy dark death metal, but it has certainly been called doom and even black metal, especially in Europe and Asia I find it being referred to as black metal a lot, and think that is because to them, "black metal" has a little bit of a different definition there than it does here in the western hemisphere. To a lot of people I talk to there, "black metal" is more a definition of the anti-religious or satanic lyrical content in a bands works, where as over here "black metal" is more a reference to the faster style of playing and high-pitched screaming vocals. So since my lyrics are very sacrilegious, they consider DE a black metal band, and like I said before, that is fine. The doom reference is obvious as doom is very present in my music and I am damn proud of it too! As long as people know that DARKNESS ETERNAL stands for unholy depressive darkness, and the true metal way, then they can call it whatever they want if the definition applies accordingly.

8- Are you recording your new material at Rabid Hunchback Monkey Studios with Stew Kirkwood?

Yes I am. Except the studio's name has changed now, it is now called Stoogeo. I am once again working with Stew Kirkwood, and so far it is going great. He is an amazing engineer, he really works hard and cares about his craft, and I respect him so much for that. He is also very easy to work with and very open-minded, he always listens to what you want and tries his best to get you the sound you want. For never hearing death metal before, I felt that he did a great job on "Dawn Of The Suffering", and I'm not the only one that thought so either, I had many people contact me asking about him, and when I told them that he wasn't a metal producer/engineer, they couldn't believe it! So now that this is the second time for him working with this style of music, it feels better and more natural for both of us. Already the drum sound is great, and like I said before, as of this interview, we haven't even touched the drum sound yet, so hopefully all the instruments will sound great as well. Stew also upgraded his studio heavily since the last DE record, we are working with a lot of new microphones and equipment including a 24 track digital board this time, where as last time we worked with a 16 track board. He has also learned a lot in the last year and a half, and so with all these factors into play, I'm sure the next record will sound great.

9- Do you think that the death/black/doom metal scene is growing in Canada?

Hmmmm, that's a very good question. Well, it does seem like it is on the rise here lately, especially in the west. For a while it seemed like the scene was dying here where I live, a lot of bands became inactive, or just altogether broke up, but things look to be picking up again here. I just recently found out that EXHUMED, MARDUK, KATAKLYSM, and DIABOLIC, are all coming here within one month!! I don't think that has ever happened here in Alberta before! If we got two good shows in a year, we were very lucky, but now it is starting to look promising. As for the rest of Canada, it is very hard for me to comment on the country as a whole, as I live in Alberta, but it seems like it is picking up all over Canada. I know that Blasphemy recently started up again and are playing shows in Vancouver, seems like CRYPTOPSY and KATAKLYSM are doing well for themselves in Quebec, so the situation looks pretty good right now. We'll see I guess, only time will tell, but no matter what happens, DARKNESS ETERNAL will be around for as long as I will be around.

10- Do you play Darkness Eternalīs material live? Do you have hired musicians to do so?

No, unfortunately DARKNESS ETERNAL has never performed live and no one else has ever been involved in DE except for me. As I said before, it would be real hard for me to turn this into a live band, that doesn't mean it will never happen, it just won't happen in the immediate future as I have far too much to deal with right now in my personal life. But I have to admit, it would be great to take DE on live stage and see how it would play out, I know I would love to do it one day, but right now I am taking everything one day at a time. Playing live would benefit DE so much, especially in promoting the band and it's releases, for that there is no better promotion than playing in front of a live audience. I would love to do a full scale tour one day, even if it's not with DE. Also, in the last year I made a pact with myself that I would see my favorite bands play live, no matter what it took, and I did just that, traveling from South Carolina to New York City, and that really got me itching to get up on stage and unleash my dark fury. Watching bands like THE CHASM, IMMOLATION, INCANTATION, NILE, EVOKEN, and DIABOLIC play live is just unreal! Right now the main priority for me is to complete and release the new CD to the metal masses, and to promote it as much as I can, and the rest I will take from there.

11- Which are your main influences as a musician?

My main influences as a musician are the great bands and legends such as THE CHASM, INCANTATION, IMMOLATION, and AUTOPSY. Those are the bands that really laid in the foundation for the kind of metal that I like to listen to and play, which is dark, depressing, obscure, unholy, and hateful metal. All of the bands that I mentioned above are all originators and innovators, and all of them each have their own distinctive style, and I have so much respect for each of those bands for what they do, and for the inspiration that they have given me. While those bands are influences on me, I do like to think that I have developed my own sound, and that will be even more present on the new CD for sure, and I hope to continue to advance with DE.

12- Is Dark Salvation Productions your own label?

Well, I wouldn't really call it a label, as DARKNESS ETERNAL is the only band under Dark Salvation Productions, and I'm not looking to start a label or sign bands, because I have enough trouble running DE the way I am doing it right now, I couldn't even imagine running a label, I know that is a lot of hard work with little gain in most cases. I created Dark Salvation Productions for just that reason, it is my production company. As I said before, I not only write/arrange all of the music and lyrics and record all of the instruments on the records, I also fund and pay for everything involving DE. That means all the recording costs, all of the promotional costs, all of the manufacturing costs, everything. So I felt that since I am in control of DE both from a musical and a financial position, that I would create Dark Salvation Productions to take care of the business end of it all. So unless anything changes, I will keep doing things the way that I'm doing them.

13- Anything more to add?

Thank you very much for the interview and great support you have given DARKNESS ETERNAL Federico and Music Extreme, I truly appreciate it, keep up the excellent work with your webzine. Thanks to all the true metal warriors world wide that have support DE and it's cause. There are still copies of "Dawn Of The Suffering" available, and if you'd like one you can get it for $12 US (World) or $15 CAN (Canada) money order (make payable to George Velaetis) or well concealed cash to: George Velaetis, P.O. Box 5002, Spruce Grove AB, Canada, T7X 3A2. Also for the latest news on DARKNESS ETERNAL, check out the official website at www.deternal.darkgod.net. The new DARKNESS ETERNAL CD is scheduled for release in October/November 2001, Prepare for Dark Salvation!!