AfterWorld Records is a small label run by Jason Wineland out of Michigan and it is a great label and here is his story:
Jason, where were you born and where did you grow up?
I was born here in Michigan and I’ve moved around here and there, but I live in Hillsdale, Michigan now. It’s my hometown and my family is here so it’s a good place. Nice small town vibe. Couple hours away from Detroit to the east and Grand Rapids to the west, so I can go to shows on both sides of the state if need be.
So what sort of teenager were you in your high school years? Did you hang out with many friends? Are you friends with any of them still?
I was an introverted kid, shy, didn’t say much. I read a lot of books, watched a lot of horror movies, listened to metal, partied, went to concerts, pretty much typical for a high school kid. I didn’t have a ton of friends, but the ones I did have I still see or talk to from time to time. I have 4-5 high school friends that I get together with once or twice a year to play cards, drink some beers, all the things we adults do lol.
Do you remember the first metal concert you went to and also your first underground one?
The first metal concert I went to was Iron Maiden and Fastway at the Lansing Civic Center in Sept of 1983. (I saw that tour too-chris). I don’t recall the first “underground” show I saw, but I spent a lot of time in the 80’s and early 90’s going to small clubs and seeing bands such as Possessed, Dark Angel, King Diamond, Slayer, Megadeth, Voivod, Death, Vio-lence, Celtic Frost, Unleashed, Entombed, Morbid Angel, Nuclear Assault, Motorhead, Exodus, the mighty Repulsion and lots more! I was going to shows 3 times a week at one point. Sometimes by myself!
So now at this time did you know about tape trading? Did you ever do any? How about fanzines. Did you read many back in the day?
Oh yeah at that point I was 100% into tape trading. I traded with people all over the world. It was great! I loved it! Opening the mailbox and getting to hear stuff that you had never heard before or had heard of the band and finally got their demo. I amassed over 3,000 tapes at one point. I also loved the fanzines. (I still have some pages from some) including: Metal Forces, Mortuary Mag, Holocost zine, Peardrop, Chapel of Ghouls, Buttface, Venal Efforts, Bloodshed, Grindsnore, Disposable Underground, Atmosfear, Kick Ass Monthly, and of course metal-core! (just seeing those zine names brings back great memories-chris).
So now at any point did you ever think of playing in an instrument or managing a band back then?
I had a guitar at one point, but I didn’t take any lessons or anything I think I sold it to buy records lol. I didn’t think of managing anyone I didn’t know the first thing about the music industry.
Now when did the “I think I wanna” start a record label bug hit ya?
In 88/89 I was already tape trading a LOT! I and had been writing back and forth/phone calls etc with people I tape traded with and guys that were doing zines. I had also been to a lot of shows meeting people with like minded interests. There were a lot of compilation tapes so I figured I would do one as well. it took the better part of a year contacting the bands waiting for replies putting together the artwork etc etc. It came out in late 89 early 90 and was called “The Population Won’t Care”.
How did you come up with the label name?
I was and am into Terrorizer and I really like the song “Afterworld Obliteration”. So, when I was throwing around ideas I was listening to that song and I figured “afterworld”. That sounds good. Also, I had Dead World comic books so I was gonna call it “dead world”. I ended up using Afterworld.
Now how many copies did you do? Was it easy finding bands for it? How did you go about promoting it?
Jason: I made 500 copies. I dubbed them all off myself using a dual tape deck. lol.I sent letters to a lot of different bands and got some replys. The bands that were on the Comp were: Brutality(FL), Confessor, Eternal Torment, Incantation, Grimace, Prophecy of Doom, Carnage(UK) and a couple of others. At this point I was just a dude in his bedroom with an idea. I went to the Michigan Death Fest in nearby Jackson, Michigan and saw Deceased, Nuclear Death, Morbid Angel, Fatal, Sacrifice, Baphomet, Exmortis and Lucifer’s Hammer. I spent a lot of time meeting people I tape traded with (there were people there from all over the u.s.a.) and was told about the upcoming deathfest in Buffalo, New York. I didn’t have the tape ready for the Jackson show so I tried to make sure I had it ready for Buffalo. I promoted it just thru tape trading and sending out copies to zines, college radio stations anything I could do to get the word out.
So now early on did you think this idea of a label would go on to actually sign bands or were you just looking to maybe put a couple comp tapes out and call it a day? How long did it take to get rid of the 500?
I really didn’t have a plan. I just really enjoyed the entire scene and wanted to do what I could to help bands out. I went to Buffalo, New York with a duffel bag full of comp tapes (rode 16 hours in the back of a U-haul lol) I set up right next to where Autopsy were selling their stuff. After awhile people mistook me for someone in Autopsy and started handing me money for shirts. I helped them out and got a free shirt. I didn’t sell hardly any tapes. I knew alot of people at the show thru zines and friends of friends and buying demo’s from some of the bands that played that day. I went home with my duffel bag still nearly full and contemplated the future of Afterworld Records. Long story short I didn’t ever sell all 500 copies.
Ah that sucks. Are any original copies still lying around ha ha? So now with the not so great response to your first comp, what was going through your mind? Did you even want to do another release?
I had 3 or 4 hundred of them in my parents basement for years. Then a water line break took care of those and almost all of my demo collection-it SUCKED! When I was in Buffalo I talked to almost every band on the bill and some that weren’t. Most had deals lined up with other labels or were doing full length releases. I did make some good contacts and had a bunch of phone numbers and addresses. I could have easily given up but I just felt I had to keep trying, that I had something to offer. I was in touch with Putrifact and Baphomet and Prophecy of Doom so I started working on trying to work something out with those bands to start with.
Good for you. Now these releases were just demo releases early on? Did you at the time figure that maybe a cassette release of a band would do better than a comp cassette?
I didn’t think about doing another cassette at the time. I was heading towards doing vinyl. Gorement was a vinyl release of a cassette demo, as was Exhumed, and Necrotion. The Prophecy of Doom and Baphomet 7″‘s were both live songs. The Profanatica and Putrifact were both new stuff or newer versions of things that existed on cassette. Putrid were re-recorded songs that had been on a rehearsal tape.
So now where did you get these 7” done at? How much did they run ya and around how many copies did you make? Did you do different color vinyl like other record companies have done in the past?
I had some of my releases done at a record plant in Texas and another in California. (both have since closed) I don’t recall the prices. I did runs of 500 of every release I did. I did 5 releases on regular black vinyl. I also did red, blue, white and a couple of different swirl/marble as well.
Did these early 7” do well. Were you starting to get more and more orders over the months? Out of say the first 2 years of the label, what was the best selling band?
The first 7″ I did was Profanatica and it went crazy. Sold all 500 very quickly! The first 2 years I sold out of everything I had pressed (I didn’t keep a copy for myself of any of my releases), Putrifact and Baphomet went fast as well. So, I was off to a running start! I still get asked if I have any copies lying around!
Now with your early releases selling like hotcakes, why didn’t you do any represses? How did you hook up with Profanatica? How much do copies of your old releases go for these days?
The only thing that got repressed was Putrifact. Profanatica was re-released on cassette. As far as the other bands-none even mentioned it. Things were pretty crazy at the time and things were moving forward with new releases and looking for the next thing that was going to be put out. I don’t remember who put me in touch with Profanatica. I called and spoke with Paul Ledney, and we agreed on putting something out. They were playing live shows and had a pretty good buzz going. Paul came to Michigan and stayed with me for a few days. His friend Jim Stanic came along as well. I think Paul was a little hesitant for whatever reason and wanted to meet me and make sure everything was going to go smooth, which it did. I’ve never really looked a lot into what some of the stuff is going for. I know the Profanatica and Exhumed are pretty sought after. I assume the other 7″s are still getting a lot of interest as well.
Were you starting to actually get any bands approach you about releasing something of theirs at this time? Was mail starting to pile in with just orders and pen pals, etc? What were some of the amazing shows you saw around this time?
At that point I was getting a lot of demo’s sent to me wanting to put stuff out. I turned a lot of them down cause things were so crazy or in some instances (not very many) I didn’t like the material. I had lots of mail and orders etc. I stopped tape trading just to focus on the label and “hired” a friend of mines girlfriend to help me pack and ship orders. I still made time to go to shows! I went to the Rhode Island Deathfest with Pungent Stench, Immolation, Gorephobia, Brutal Truth, Incantation, Phlegm, Grief, Profanatica also played this show. Then was Michigan Deathfest #2 with Autopsy, Cannibal Corpse, Mythic, Repulsion, Baphomet, Mortician, Incantation, Broken Hope, Dead Youth and more! I went to a lot of other just “regular” shows as well.
So now, did you ever decide at this point since the releases are doing so well to bumping up the copies to a 1000 per release? Were you having anyone sell your stuff overseas? Were you also distributing other stuff at this time?
For the most part I stuck with 500. I was trading with overseas friends 10-20 copies for a time, I sold directly to Osmose in Europe. I also had wholesale prices for anyone overseas and in the USA. I traded and sold with Relapse, Slap a Ham, and several others. I also did trades in the US to sell 7″ and 12″ with other bands and labels.
Did the thought ever cross your mind at this time of doing a full length album release with a band or did you just wanna do 7” only? Were you making any money with the label?
I was moving toward full length releases. I kept going with the 7″ vinyls cause I had bands in line to do them. I was making money and every bit was spent on the next releases. I worked full time as well, so the label was self sufficent at that point.
So at this point, were you getting a lot of demos or bands contacting you about releasing stuff that you had to turn them down? Any you really look back now and regret not working with? What is one or more releases that you put out that surprised you due to lack of sales?
Oh Yeah! The demo’s were coming in a lot. I didn’t turn anyone down butI had a few that just didn’t work out (timing problems, scheduling problems, etc) Marduk, Necrophobic, Sigh, Acheron, those are the ones I remember. I wish I could have done them all! Thankfully I didn’t have anything that didn’t sellout. I have all the friends to thank for that!
Did you ever put a full length release out? If so who did you put out?
I never put out a full length release. I was talking with the Exhumed guys about it and they had enough material to do a full length. I started checking around and it was out of my price range at the time. CD’s were anywhere from $12-15 dollars my cost. This was kind of a setback and I had started to re-think where things were headed.
So I know back then CD’s and full lengths we’re becoming a big thing and 7” were starting to fade a bit so what was your next few moves so to speak in regards to the label, like the decade of the rest of the 90’s?
I was kind of at a crossroads with things. I wanted to continue but wasn’t really sure what to do next. I ended up bring things to a halt. I got letters for a year after I had stopped asking about releases etc. At the time, I thought I had made the right decision, but I always regretted it. It was late 93-94 when I ended the label.
So now you are back, what made you decide to re-start the label? What were some of your first couple releases with round #2 with the label? Did you start to see changes within the underground right away? Were all these releases 7” and how did your releases sell?
Oh man how things have changed! As far as bands go and the “scene” I think it’s stronger than ever. I was just throwing the idea of re-starting the label with a few online/offline friends. I was turning 50 and kinda stuck in a rut and I figured why not? So here we are. Change wise it’s all instant now. You don’t have to wait for anything. Which in a way is bad. You know the anticipation. The waiting for someone to come to your area, what the setlist will be etc etc. The going to the record store and picking up the newest stuff. Once I got going again the first thing I put out was The Primitive (jim roe’s one man wrecking crew) it got the word out got things going again. Then I put out the Master-Witch Hunt 7″ which is doing well and spreading the word as well. Next up was Exhumed-“Excreting Innards” which is a re-release of my last release in 92/93 which is doing very well and exposing the first 2 releases. I’m pretty stoked about how things are going and I appreciate all the responses and I’m glad to be back!
So at what point did you fool around with the idea of starting up the label again? When you did, did you have any band or bands in mind or any idea what formats you were gonna release stuff on?
I always had it in me to do it again. I was nearing 50 and said well it’s never too late (unless your dead) I talked to a few friends of mine from back in the day and some new metal brothers and figured why not? I had spoken with Jim Roe about releasing something and it went from there. I figured I’d do some 7″ records, but eventually I want to put out 12″ vinyl and cd’s and even cassettes as well. It’s only been a year and I should have my 4th release out before the end of 2019. So far so good!
So where did you go to press this new 7″ you put out? How has the response to it been? How are you advertising it this time around as opposed to back in the day? When can we expect the next release and our bands starting to contact you about working with them?
For the first new release, I went with Rainbo Records out in California. They have been around for 80 years and always do a good job. All 3 new releases have done well. I’m still not sold out of any of the 3 so I have some available. Advertising wise I have all of the social media stuff and I’m working on ads for print fanzines. The next 7″ release will be NamtarU from Philly. Will for sure be out before the end of the year! I have been in touch with some bands from the old scene as well as new stuff. I’ve been contacted about releasing stuff from all over the world its coming in slowly which is good. When you “disappear” for 24 years you can’t expect to pick up right where you left off.
Do you feel there are too many bad bands these days getting their material released by record labels?
I guess I would have to say what do you define as bad? There are a TON of bands now and the scene could not be better! With this type of music be it black metal, death metal, etc you can’t fake it. The fans and lovers of this type of music don’t do it for the money or fame we all do it for the love of music.
Well I disagree there, as I get bad promos of bands that just sound the same from what has been done over and over, but anyway, please plug any websites or social media sites you currently have my man.
Thanks for doing this fantastic interview. Horns up for doing it and any last words to wrap it up?
Thanks to you Chris for taking the time to do what you do! Been a long time brother! Thanks to everyone who bought my stuff sent a message etc etc. Hails to you all!!!!!!