Interview with A and L of Eternally Cold Records
We were fortunate enough to interview the founders of Port Macquarie’s only raw black metal label, A and L. I thank them very much for their time and generosity, not to mention the brutal and hilarious conversation that continued. Enjoy and embrace the burning of the Black Flame!
SM: So what started you both on your musical journey? What were your primary influences?
A: Well my primary influence was I wanted to make filthy hatred music and keep the black flames alive. I started when I heard Black Sabbath; my father loved the hard rock of the 70s and 60s. Then my love for metal grew and I got my first metal tape when I was ten: Metallica’s “Reload”. From thirteen onwards I wanted heavier and rawer stuff like Deicide and other death metal bands. From sixteen onwards I got into the rawer stuff like Darkthrone, Mutilation, Satanic Warmaster and Vlad Tepes which just kicked off my love of black metal.
L: Like A, my father and uncle were my biggest influences as a child. Ever since I learned about the performing arts I loved acts like Gorillaz and Daft Punk. As I hit puberty at thirteen I became heavily involved in the underground scenes of 2009 which helped me establish myself as an independent artist. Evolution took hold of me naturally so my angst craved heavy brutal tunes. I craved darker and heavier music. Bands such as Aborted, Thy Art Is Murder, Cattle Decapitation, and Death were my biggest inspirations.
DW: What interested you in extreme music at such a young age? Many of the bands you mentioned continue careers well into their forties. How do you account for this music having such a profound effect on people?
A: I like death metal and black metal because it speaks to my heart. It gives me goosebumps with the tone of the guitars and deep and high vocals. And I think people like it for those reasons as well.
L: For many reasons: the biggest one being its better than Justin Bieber and Britney Spears!
SM: You’re both from quite a diverse musical background. What drove you to start your record label?
L: After I moved out of my home, I lived with a mate who was heavily into Black Metal, which is where I met A. When me and said friend made a project, we were looking for labels to release the CD for us, but after a while, I decided to do it myself naming it after the album, Eternally Cold Records. A came on board shortly after the first release, helping me with the second release, using methylated spirits to strip the cassettes of their prints so we could put our own on it. The label only really began when we both worked together.
SM: When you started the label was it to produce your own projects as well as side projects? Do you currently have any side projects going?
The purpose of the label was to release our own music and occasionally other Australian acts, in their own demos or in a split. Due to the nature of the music, we do not make music like “normal" bands do time-wise. So for some, you could say all our side projects are defunct or on hold, but all these acts are somewhat active, always fermenting in themselves. With that, we will always be making music under different names with the same cause of hate, filth, and depression that is the black flame. Any signs of us stopping is incorrect.
DW: What resources did you have to start with when founding Eternally Cold Records? What means did you have to spread the word through advertising?
L: When I first started the label, I had next to nothing and a job in which I worked two days a week. All the info I had was from the friends around me to help get the label to the right people, and it eventually did via forums and online groups.
A: After the first release I came in and used my contacts, then the rest is history. Because I was in the scene for a long time, I had influential underground contacts.
DW: Tell the readers about your musical project that you distributed through your label. How many releases does it have and how many copies were made?
L: There are a lot of bands that are under the Eternally Cold banner and they are exclusive to us. A lot of the releases are demos and are released in limited quantities.
SM: Tell me about the black flame. How did this concept come about?
The black flame represents the fire of what we stand for as a group. A dark essence that lives in us all, that needs to come out when it has to. And that is what you hear in our music, the black flames leaving our body into what you hear as the music. The Black Flame sigil stands as a symbol of our dark Brotherhood. When the cloaks go on, it doesn't matter how you look from your day to day life, you are a faceless worshipper to the flame.
The term “keep the black flames alive” is for all that follow the black flame in the world. Anybody can use that phrase in terms of filthy raw black metal as we have seen in the last years.
DW: Besides your musical projects, what bands have you released material by? Are you primarily streaming your releases or do you press CDs and/or cassettes?
L: Bands in the past we have released, that haven't been under our sign of hatred, have been ones we enjoyed. Black Legion (Italy), Barabbas (USA), Advanced Hatred (Australia) and Vrag (Australia). We have produced CDs before in the past but have no interest in the near future to press them.
DW: On which streaming platforms are you sharing your releases? Provide any appropriate links the readers should check out.
A: L and I recently started putting our releases on the Eternally Cold Records Bandcamp page.
SM: Is your label currently active and are you looking for any new releases?
A/L: The label has been on hold for over a year now, while we have been gathering ourselves. But as 2020 draws its first breath, the flames will arise from their slumber with a few new releases.
DW: Why has Eternally Cold Records been on hold for the past year? What are you planning to release once you resume activity?
A/L: We have been on hold solely due to personal reasons. But, we are gathering dark energy and resources to return strong in 2020 with additional extras to keep the label's fire burn bright. As of now, we have a few releases ready to be pressed, but you'll have to wait.
Keep the black flame alive.
-Sarah McKellar and Dave Wolff