Part I: Beginnings
Heathen Harvest: Hello Erik and thank you for accepting this interview offer! Firstly, could you tell us about your life prior to opening Autumn Wind Productions. How were you involved in music?
Greetings Sage, well basically I just worked a full-time job(Still so) and listened to a lot of music. Music has been a huge part of my whole life, it’s always been a good way for me to relate to my own thoughts.
HH: What finally made you decide to open up the label?
I just kind of decided it to do it one night while drinking many beers…I had been buying a lot of cd’s from many different underground labels…talking to different label owners and realized you didn’t have to be some big corporation to do this, most of the stuff I was buying was being released by people worked like I did, loved music and did it as a sort of hobby(The hobby idea disappears fast...haaa.) I thought it would be a great way to promote music I loved to anyone that would listen…so with $650.00 I placed my first wholesale order…got a website started and now I’m here..
HH: What were the initial plans for Autumn Wind Productions, and how did they change in the first year?
: The initial idea was just to start a website that would review my favorite music, and sell some cd’s on the side…never really considered releasing anything as I didn’t really understand how to…but one day someone on a forum asked If I would be releasing and bands releases, so that one question got me thinking about it…then from there I did a lot of checking around and found out it’s not that hard to do…as long as your mind is in the right place. My distro was having some success, I had a couple bands asking me to release their material(Which shocked me at first ‘cause…“shit, who am I” I thought…haaa, So one day I said yes to a band(Hoarstone) and started the label.
HH: Were there any initial planned releases that fell through?
No initial releases that fell through…a couple have in the last year but I’d rather not talk about those.
HH: Even before Autumn Wind Productions was birthed, did you see this as a serious commitment? Did you ever think you'd get this far?
No…never, this was first planned as just a hobby, but you get sucked in….I love music to death and this is something I would like to do full-time…who wouldn’t want to make a living off of the pursuit they loved….but making a living on it alone is kinda unrealistic in the underground….but I am very happy with what has happened so far.
Part II: Decisions
HH: AWP has a very unique look and appeal about its artwork today, primarily around the website rather than on the album artwork (though at times it is present here too). The appeal is of a vintage look, young 1900's America, rather than something arcane or historic in a world view. Tell us about the reason you chose this as your artistic medium of choice for the label. What is the significance of this style vs. the music you release?
Hmmm….well, I really dig the vintage look, really into antiques and anything old, I always have been, anything made of wood catches my attention. Just something about black & white and sepia pictures of women or buildings draws me in…I love photography and the thoughts that it captures….so those are the reasons for the imagery I use…as for pertaining to the music I release there’s really no significance…My site displays my interest and the artist’s on my label get to display theirs in any way they want.
HH: You also have numerous pages on the AWP website dedicated to what I can only assume is your own personal photography. Why have you chosen to do this? Is your photography for sale as a print?
As I stated above, I love photography, especially black & white photos…so I really wanted to share it with people that were into the same music as me. I haven’t sold any so no…they are not for sale, anyone or bands can use them basically, I just ask for a photo credit if they do.
HH: I believe there was an art section also at one time. What became of this?
I did have an art section up at one time but got rid of it…I only had about eight of my paintings on it and hadn’t completed a painting in a long time, So I just thought it was a self-indulgent waste of space so I deleted it.
HH: At some point the decision was made to effectively stop releasing metal on AWP. Why was this decision reached? Does it stand from now until the end of the label?
Yes, I thought my label was getting buried in a pile of black metal labels, there are so many of them out there and most of them release decent material…but I just thought there was way to many, and my musical taste was expanding at the time. I discovered music that struck me as more extreme in feeling and sound than metal, not necessarily music wise but mentally, and since this label was started to reflect my taste and interests and passion, I decided to no longer put out metal but only music that I was passionate about. But I’m very proud of the two metal releases on AWP…excellent bands!
HH: You have surrounded yourself with a number of artists that now come to mind without a second thought whenever AWP is mentioned, namely 20.SV, Vomit Orchestra, Black Seas of Infinity, and now as it would seem, Clint Listing/As All Die. These artists were fairly important to AWP's rise as they accumulated to make up the majority of releases as the label came out of its beginning black metal phase. Do you plan to continue to work with these artists into the future, especially now with the release of 20.SV's "Apocalyptic Desert"?
Yes, definitely. I will always work with those bands as long as they want. We both have helped each other get a lot of recognition and I’m very grateful for those bands putting their trust into me. They are all very good friends and always will be...I only hope the for the best in their future in music.
HH: Why the sudden head-on charge to work with Clint Listing? Along with the initial release of "My Father, My Keeper", you already have plans for an As All Die full-length release as well as a split with Changes.
Clint contacted me about putting out the split with Changes, then the AAD full-length and Clint Listing solo cd, I really dig his earlier music so I thought it would be a good fit for AWP. I’m a huge fan of Changes so I was very happy when he mentioned that release as well, hopefully we can get it released. I think Clint’s solo material doesn’t get enough credit though, His solo material is very emotional and great….Hopefully the “My Father, My Keeper” release will get him more exposure.
HH: The one unfamiliar face in AWP's future is "A Minority of One" with a release set for this month. Tell us a bit about this band. It would seem that it involves members of Waldteufel so Markus Wolff is most assuredly to be involved.
A Minority Of One is one of my favorite bands, so when they asked me to release their cd I was thrilled! AMOO consists of Jason Craban, Arrowyn Craban, Markus Wolff, Jason O’neill-Butler, and James Woodhead(Some very unique and talented artists). Their from Portland, Oregon and play a really unique brand of ambient music….almost hard to describe but to me it represents a variety of feelings, the forest, the wind, natural sounds, your mind wandering, folk of past and peasant lives. I am really excited about this release!! I went to Seattle some months ago to the Folklife Festival with my best friend K. and saw them perform, it was mind blowing.
HH: Bathe in Fiery Answer was already released in an edition of 66 copies as a cassette. Does this re-release include any additional music apart from the original?
Yes, there will be additional un-released songs on it, it will be an edition of 1,000 copies plus an extra 100 copy special edition that will be housed in something Jason Craban is making by hand.
HH: What can we expect from the upcoming Emit release? Obviously with the label's current direction, all black metal aspects of the project will be replaced with the sick dark ambience Emit has become known for.
The new Emit is out and being well received, very dark and brooding ambient and blackened sounds….well worth checking out!
HH: Your distribution center is absolutely massive and features music from all over the post-industrial world, but you have continued working with black metal here. Why the choice to stick with metal in the distribution? No doubt sales would be a huge reason.
I know there are a lot of people like myself, into metal still but also seeking something different, be it ambient, industrial, noise or folk. So I thought I’d keep a wider variety than some of the other distro‘s…hopefully it satisfies all the cravings people have. But the primary direction of the distro is still more toward the Ambient, Folk, Industrial and Noise fan. Different selections for different moods.
Part III: The Future
HH: Have there been any discussions for releases past what is stated as planned on the releases page?
Yes, a couple but I just haven’t found the time to put some up. One upcoming release I’m excited about is the Peter J Woods Solo Digi-CD, excellent noise musician from Milwaukee, WI.
HH: Can we expect to see you take a step away from dark ambient towards neofolk/martial industrial music in 2009? This question is being asked solely on the new working relationships you have developed with Changes and A Minority of One as well as Arbeit.
Just widening my interests basically, any band I think is good and catches my interest I’ll release be it ambient/ folk/ martial or noise…so it’s not really a step away, just an expansion I guess.
HH: Up until now, AWP has released only on the CD format. Why haven't you given tapes or vinyl a shot? Will this ever be taken into consideration for AWP?
I actually have released two tapes, Black Seas Of Infinity-”Within Daathian Chasms” and Death Hymen-”Flower of Flesh and Blood”, and I will be releasing a 7” by A Minority of One this year as well, the first vinyl on AWP…I’m looking forward to that. I just never did vinyl before because of all the headaches I read about from other labels…but that’s going to change now….I’m going to look into doing some more tapes and vinyl in the future.
HH: Can we expect to see any kind of sublabel development?
As of right now most likely not….
HH: We have been waiting a long time to see this AWP010 release from Aymrev Erkroz Prevre surface. Why has this release been so long in the making? The band recently did a split release with you own artist Black Seas of Ininifity on Sonic Tyranny Records, as well as with Germany's dark ambient prodigy Vinteriket. It would seem now is as good a time as any to get this name out there.
That release actually has been cancelled, too many changes and misunderstandings…so that won’t be coming out on AWP.
HH: What has been AWP's best seller in its history?
So far the Arbeit! Has sold the most….then the Vomit Orchestra and 20.SV releases and so on….but the Emit and new Black Seas.. cd’s might over come those soon.
HH: You are one of the few labels whom have also never released a
compilation. Why have you shied away from doing so?
Most likely because I’m not a big fan of them myself, to me it seems hard to put together a really good one where all the bands jive with each other…I only like a handful of comps. Myself…plus that’s just to many bands to deal with for one release….splits are enough work.
HH: Releases aside, what are the major plans and goals for AWP in the second half of 2008 going into 2009?
Trying to get more releases out, though that’s getting harder to do with the shitty economy. Establishing a stronger presence and trying not to go crazy.
HH: Thank you, Erik, for the interview. It has been a pleasure as always. Please feel free to use this last bit to say whatever you like, future advice, selfless promotion, etc.
Thank you for the interview Sage and Heathen Harvest! Support The Underground Bands, Labels, Magazines, and people….Support the bands you respect, They work very hard for their art and deserve it.