Last World Records is run by Paul Folk and I have known him since my print zine days and when I saw that he was up and running his label again and he was in several bands back in the day I knew it was time to do an interview with this long time metalhead, so here we go:
Where were you born and where did you grow up?
Hey brother !!!! I was born in Cumberland MD and grew up there (although I’m still growing up a little each day).
What sort of teenager were you and were you heavily into music back then?
Music was (and is) everything. It’s 95% of my day listening or thinking about music. I was a metal head teenager lol
So what were some of the early bands you liked and how did you get into underground metal music?
Early on Stuff like Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Dio, ext…. then discovering Venom and Bathory started a whole new level and that started the itch to find more extreme and got me into the underground and tape trading and such.
Before we start with the label, let’s talk a bit about the bands your in. What bands are you in and what do you do in them and how long have they been around or were around.
I play guitar (and sometimes vocals ) with Exterminance, formed in 1990 but earlier under other names lol and been on and off for many years. I play guitar in Bittered formed end of 2014 which is a metalish grindish band. I play guitar and share vocals in The Human Race Is Filth formed 2017 which is a crust grind band. I play guitar on Split/Cross formed in 2018 which is a hardcore punkish grindish band. And there is a huge list of defunct bands I could write a book on them lol
Out of all which is your favorite and why?
Well they are all like my children so I can not pick a favorite lol but really everyone involved with the bands are truly great people and friends that I enjoy being around.
Ok fair enough. How was the scene down your way in the mid 80’s and the rest of the decade? What are some killer shows you remember seeing or even playing in?
I’m from mountain Maryland where there is a lot of talent but back then not much of a scene and I was too young to drive to the nearby scenes in DC and Pittsburg lol. The best shows from my early memory then were Deceased anytime in DC and Doomwatch and Eviction in Pittsburgh. Though I could list all the great bands from those eras and places but these were the Kings at the time. Lots of killer shows. I have played killer shows but not super killer lol.
So when did you decide to do a record label? Did you have any idea what you were doing when started it up?
Around 92 I just wanted to do distro to have some obscure things for my friends and at shows. After a while I decided to release some stuff for trading purposes and to support bands that I like what they are doing. Never knew and still don’t know what I am doing. I just enjoy supporting music.
Did you ever do any tape trading or read many fanzines back in the day?
Absolutely, I had a small short lived zine as well back in the day. I miss the zine days and tape trading! Met a lot of cool people that way. I wish I had everything from then but I don’t 😞
Me too. Now how did you come up with the name Last World Records?
At the time (and it’s been a while)….well actually I’m not exactly sure reflecting now.
No worries. Now what was the first band you put out? Did you contact them or did they contact you?
Morbius and they were and are my pals and I thought and still think they are one of the best death metal bands ever! I contacted them and they were all about it! ! Still love the album I put out for them as one of the best ever!
Was this a full length? On CD or. cassette or both?
Full length CD and I only did CD for it , it had already been recorded and was available to release. At the time CD’s were new and not everyone was releasing them. Recently Lost Apparitions Records re-released it in an awesome new package it deserved.
Where did you get them pressed and how many copies. How did you get the word out about the label early on?
Pressed 1000 copies with a company I believe called Erika and traded with labels worldwide and the word got around thanks to mail flyers and zines.
Don’t you miss the days of sending out mail with flyers and having pen pals all over the world?
Yes sir I do and miss it dearly , getting the mail then was great because you didn’t know what you were gonna get. And though still have friends all over everything is electronic and links lol, I miss putting stuff in the tape player and seeing what it was.
Totally agree. So how successful at the time was your first release? Did that lead to you wanting to put out another and I assume you were doing the label all by yourself. What did your parents think of all this?
The first release and second I had enough credit card credit limit to do them so they were a few months apart. I had a list of what I wanted to do quick for sure. Success financially wasn’t there at all but success in doing and enjoying what I was doing was there. I have a partner now and at times someone else would commit as well then back out or disappear so some releases I wanted to do I wasn’t able to which kind of bothered some at the time but I was doing it without financial success or backing and just doing it for the love of underground music and trading and building up my personal collection of music at the time. My parents were already kind of blown away a year or so prior that my band was selling demos overseas and playing shows out of town by playing death metal, doing the label and taking over the basement and having friends over to help package CDs, 7 inches, and tapes was just a small step up so they were supportive, not sure exactly what they thought though.
Now what about this short lived fanzine. How many issues did you put out and around what time period and what led to it folding and what sort of music did you cover in it?
Yes, it was called Struggle and I did it with Greg from the band Compression, it was a lot of fun at the time. It was probably around 93, or 95 I think, memory is a bit fuzzed, we prob did maybe 10 issues give or take a few. We covered metal and hardcore and were fortunate enough to interview a lot of great bands at the time directly through labels like Century Media, Metal Blade, Relapse, Earache ect. That time period they were interviews over the phone, I probably still have some recordings somewhere that I should sample with music sometime lol and like most things it never really folded but personal lives got busy and next thing you know it’s a thing of the past.
So with each release did the label grow more and more? Were you pressing up more copies of each release and did sales grow in time?
It grew more in popularity at the time and the distro side of it grew with more release’s but never pressed more than 1000 of anything at anytime and never knew if sales were up or down ect, never kept any books or anything, no tracking anything whatsoever. I only felt any kind of success financially if some place bought 100 of something at wholesale and paid upfront but that was rare. It was either trading or net 90, consignment type of stuff.
Do you have any idea how many releases you have put out over the years?
Around 15 so Not a whole lot considering when it all started as active and I’m active on and off over some years. This year is the first back to full time active status for a while.
What led to you sort of backing off on the label so to speak for a bit?
As I moved out of my parents and started being a semi responsible human I lost the time and extra money so basically working full time, raising kids, family, traveling ect.
Did you still follow the scene? Did you like the whole grunge era or Pantera style era of metal music?
Never stopped following or being involved in the scene, was always playing in bands and hosting shows and going to shows. The fringe era and panthers style error was interesting but during those times I was still more so into the death metal, hardcore, and grindcore scenes so I didn’t pay much attention to much outside of that anyhow.
Favorite 5 bands and why.
That’s tough for only 5 and then depending on the day lol but I’ll start with the early influences, I’ll start with Black Sabbath, basically because they are the best and heaviest ever and true pioneers, even through different stages and vocalists every album rules and is hugely influential still to this day, they are timeless. How about Iron Maiden, early pioneers that was easily acceptable in the early 80’s and my first metal concert was Iron Maiden on the “Powerslave” tour, totally amazing concert and I remember it like yesterday, and every one of their albums are purely genius. Then some DRI, I had heard them early on but once Crossover came out it, it changed the music world and created a truly crossover from punk hardcore skate kids into metal fans of sorts. And their albums are brilliant and every time I saw them live they were fantastic and brilliant. Venom took me to the dark side, first time I heard them I couldn’t believe how truly dark their sound was, it was a little unsettling lol. Venom started the true crave inside me for darker music and they created a genre of music all by themselves. And Clutch, Clutch has been really a ground breaking band and one of the hardest working bands there ever was. Plus, they are local to my neck of the woods and always inspired me to work hard and be creative without worried about whatever one else is doing, extra bonus they are from my backyard here in MD so always looked up to them.
Thoughts on the following
Thrash metal – Nuclear Assault, one the greatest bands no matter what genre of band you compare them too. To me they are the best Thrash metal band. I like plenty of others but when I think of trash metal that’s all I think about ha ha.
The band Possessed of course , true pioneers! My introduction indeed.
Venom Venom Venom , again pioneers !!! these great bands (Venom & Possessed) write a song with the word metal and it kicks off a new genre lol.
Are any of your releases sold out or have any been re-issued?
I wouldn’t say sold out even though I have no more copies, more so traded away for others to sell lol. If something sold out I would repress it, but I haven’t released anything that there is a huge demand for.
Have you seen any of your stuff on sites like EBay and if so what were the prices?
Yes and for Exterminance and Morbius CD’s I saw them for over $60 on eBay at different times over the years. Seems silly to me and they prob aren’t selling lol I do I have the original pressed Exterminance CDs for $10 and have about 40 left so if anyone is interested hit me up lol.
So now recently you sort revived the label of sorts. What led to this?
My best friend and I have been talking about it for a while and decided to go ahead and pull the trigger; we have more funds and time availability and there is a lot of good music out there we wanted to help push and promote, hopefully leads some to the next level. And really it’s a whole lot of fun.
Was there any bands back in the day you could have worked with that you did not and now regret not working with?
Not that I remember really, I only regret not being able to do more with the bands I was working with then, Morbius as an example put out some great stuff afterwards on other labels, still one of my favorite bands from the earlier days !
How did you come up with the label name?
Can’t really remember sadly.
Any goals for the label this time around and would you consider a 7” release or full length vinyl release?
Yeah I wanna do more vinyl and we do have a 7” ep coming out in the fall it’s just about ready to go to press soon. And have a cassette release coming out in November and a few other releases planned so hope to finish the year out strong with a bang.
What are some of the biggest challenges/obstacles you face this time around with the label?
Obstacles really are just getting people Interested enough in a band / release to want hard copies of anything. Today it’s really about the collectors for hard copies of anything, most music is downloaded or streamed.
Does the whole way things are done now with so many social media outlets amaze you now in some ways?
It is amazing but it’s caused so much flooding of crap and makes it harder to promote in some ways. Back in the day you had to go get copies made somewhere and cut them up and mail stuff everywhere, now it’s easy for even the lazy to promote but there is just so much out there it’s easy to get lost in the mix.
Please plug any websites or social media sites you have and feel free to plug any releases coming out in 2019 and beyond.
Thanks brother. Just find us on Facebook. We have some new stuff coming out this week and plenty more the coming months!
Horns up for the interview. Any last words to wrap this up?
Just thanks for your time and you totally appreciated and you lived and understand what it was like long ago lol.
www.facebook.com/lastworldrecords – www.lastworldrecords.com