From Dima Andreyuk, author of Seven Inches of Metal and Tough Riffs magazine, Tape Dealer is an incredibly exhaustive new book glorifying the first decade of the global death metal tape trade. With thorough coverage spanning from 1984 until 1994, an abundance of interviews, information and killer illustrations—not to mention hundreds of fanzine covers, Tape Dealer will prove to be essential reading for all metalheads interested in the roots of the genre.
“After assisting Dima with the Seven Inches of Death book cover artwork, as well as some past drawings for his Tough Riffs publication, he once again reached out to me for some artwork for the Tape Dealer book he was compilin,” recalls Mark Riddick (Fetid Zombie, Macabra), who lent his dark handcraft and black pen to this project. Mark says, “I gladly agreed to help out, especially since the tape trading and demo tape culture was a big deal for me in my youth. During the early ‘90s, tape trading with like-minded fans, bands, and underground record labels and distributors was the ideal way to get a hold of extreme music, outside of mainstream outlets. Death metal, and other extreme music forms, was still still in its genesis and to have been a part of it helped to shape my creative path. When Dima asked if I could do the book cover art, it wasn’t a matter of choice, for me it was mandatory.”
We caught up with Dima to get some insider info on Tape Dealer, which you can preorder here directly from Seven Metal Inches Records.
First of all, please tell us about your ‘zine and your first book, Seven Inches of Death. What made you want to start writing about old school metal bands?
Hey Dutch! Thanks again for this opportunity! Well, I started my zine because I wanted to be part of the scene. I wanted to help the bands and spread the word about their new releases and latest updates. Soon after, I also launched the printed version, and today there [are] 9 issues out, and recently I re-released the re-designed and updated 3rd issue, which was released by The Other Records and was sold out pretty quickly. If anyone is interested, some issues are still available directly from the publisher.
Talking about Seven Inches of Death… Well, I’ve got this idea when I saw Andreas’ first book, Seven Metal Inches. If someone doesn’t know, this was a book mainly focused on 7” picture discs, and me, being a big fan of ‘regular’ 7”s, I just asked him why he wouldn’t do another book about normal 7”s. I remember he laughed back then, calling me crazy hahaha. He was pretty busy at the moment, so I decided to keep the idea low and did a special in one of Tough Riffs issues, called ‘Seven Inches of Death.’ It included some sort of memories mixed with reviews related to some cult 7” from a personal collection of Andy Koettel. It’s after that issue was published that Andreas came back to me to discuss the idea again and to finally work together on the full book.
Do you have an education in Anthropology or something? What makes you want to focus on bygone eras of metal so keenly?
No, hah, I’m a linguist who’s working in [the] video games industry. I don’t know, mate, just being a fan of those bands and metal music in general, I like all those details. And just sometimes it’s not so obvious how back then, 30+ years ago and without any internet, bands were able to record great demos, distribute them, organize DIY gigs, do interviews with fanzines from another side of the world, etc. The whole idea, firstly with Tough Riffs, then with SIOD, and now with Tape Dealer, was to try and properly document the history, to make sure that stories of hundreds of underground bands [are] being told by the original members.
For me, the biggest concern was that the information about all those releases has been dispersed all over the place, throughout many years and hundreds of small, hard-to-find fanzines. And I just wanted to unite these stories in one compact and readable format, preferably with some nice visuals and proper scans of the items.
You know, many of those musicians are over or around 50 years old now, and a huge part of them haven’t recorded anything else but those couple of demos or 7” like 30 years ago. For some of them it was already pretty difficult to remember any details, so the time to act was now.
Firstly, every time I’m working on an interview, I’m trying to make the process interesting for both, the musicians who are answering the questions, and those, who will be reading the final product. And of course, being a fan, I’m asking questions I would like to know the answers to myself.
What did the research for this book look like? What were some of the weirder or more coincidental moments you encountered while researching Tape Dealer?
To make it short, I sent too many friend requests on Facebook hahah! As soon as I defined the timeline for the book, I started looking for [my] personal favorite bands and records, trying to make sure I [would] include them in the book. On the way, I’ve found a lot of real pearls of the underground, those exact bands that recorded just one or two demos and ceased to exist. Those were the most difficult to find, as some of the members have several namesakes, and without any photo references to the “good old times,” I had to act blindly and just try my luck. Sometimes people were surprised and honestly looked kinda lost, but in some cases, it was a bingo!
But at the same time, it was such a pleasure to work with many of the contributors, who were glad to share some stories from the past, eagerly describing all details. Deceased…, Immolation, Pentacle, Incantation, Cryptic Slaughter, Cynic, Revenant, Viogression, Apostasy, Morta Skuld, Dying Fetus, Krabathor, Nasty Savage, just to name a few, who were so keen on helping with the project.
Another great moment and a big help and great source of underground records was Ken’s Death Metal Crypt YouTube channel. Ken is a big collector and metal supporter, his help for this book, including multiple scans of the tapes from his personal collection, is much appreciated. It’s thanks to him I was able to discover and contact such great bands as Cataclysm, Mule Skinner, Tractor, Exterminance and many others!
Bringing in Mark Riddick again for the artwork seems to have been a no-brainer.
Mark is an excellent person, very kind and dedicated to the metal scene. And every time I’ve worked with him, it was a great honour. He’s very devoted to the process, and his imagination and creativity just fit so well everything death metal related. Also, he’s a professional of a first class!
Actually, I also included in the book Mark’s old band he did with his brother, Excrescent, about their early demos.
Also, to illustrate different chapters of the book, I worked with such great artists as Mitch “Toxic” Bushnoe, Rok, Thomas Westphal, Lucas Korte and David Mikkelsen.
Who were some of the hardest bands to get a hold of? What bands surprised you with their reactions?
Well, I was working alone on this book, and I don’t have contacts with big labels to help to arrange interviews with big names bands. And phone calls are still a bit of a challenge for me, so most of the veterans of the scene were hard to get to. I even tried to contact Chris Barnes to talk about Cannibal Corpse’s demo. What a naïve guy I am, jeez.
I’ve also got a funny response while trying to add [the] Amon demo to the book: “Everything is on Wikipedia”… Well, alrighty then!
There were many others who didn’t even care to respond or to follow up on the interviews, but I don’t want to be on the negative side here, I understand people have lives or different reasons they don’t want to talk about those times anymore.
But at the same time, most musicians are down to earth people, and many were quite enthusiastic about the idea and really wanted to help and do good interviews. Even now it’s sometimes surreal that I was able to contact all those bands, hah!
On the other note, I’m really happy that Andreas helped me to contact Sodom and Unleashed; and Cam [Schwarz] (The Growl movie director) provided the content for Vader demos.
The Die Hard version went too quickly. Will there be a repress?
I was blown away, man! Thanks to everyone for such incredible support! The die hard version includes a limited tape compilation and a tape trading list from back in the day when it was one of the ways of getting your hands on any demos. It was an exclusive offer from Seven Metal Inches Records and I don’t think there will be more in the future.
What’s your next project?
As I’m a big fan of old 7” EPs, and right now I’m working on another project, a little bit different from what I’ve done before, but hopefully still exciting for many. I’m preparing a book about Seraphic Decay 7” releases, where I want to collect all the stories and interviews about each release. Right now, I’m trying to collect ALL possible variations of those seven inches, including every different color of covers and vinyls. Hah! We’ll see how it’s going to turn out.