An Interview With The Afters
You may have seen them on MTV, you may have seen them on VH1, or you may have seen around town. But now they’re coming to a radio near you! The Afters have been making record progress and have started showing up all over the nation. After spending many weeks on the Top10 TRL list on MTV, they made their way out to California and all of the West Coast. This is where they Wish We All Could Win.
The Afters: Ok, let’s get out there – stop that puck, stop that puck! Ok, so what’s the first question?
Jonathan: I want to talk about what it feels like going from a Starbucks band then going to mainstream?
[guys talking together] What exactly is a Starbuck’s band? A Starbuck’s band is being hockey super-stars. [Josh] It all went from coffee to rinks. IT was definitely a change of temperature. It was a natural progression. We just happened — it was actually an accident how it happened; it didn’t all happen over night. We’ve been together – 7 years – Matt and I (Josh), knew each other in high school, just acquaintances really – he was a couple years ahead of me; so we weren’t really friends. But when he came to the Starbucks I was working at, the manager hired him and we became friends. We would bring out guitars to work and during the slow times we would pull them out and write songs. So the customers loved it and heard a lot of feedback about people wanting to hear us play in a concert setting and if we were recording music. Dallas Seminary invited us to come do some music for their missions conference. So we together a little set, got a cello, borrowed some real instruments. Actually, good story — I borrowed your cousins (Marc) — it’s like a $1200 guitar – is that one you backed over with a car?? – totally on accident and I’m still waking up in cold sweats about it. So after that, it was for a pretty good sized crowed and there were a lot of people wanting to know about our CD and where we were playing next. We hadn’t thought about that, but we thought maybe God has something more in store for us. We start playing at The Door in Dallas. Just by word of mouth we had about 300 people at our first show. It just kinda grew from there. Brad was working at that same Starbucks and he was fronting his own band and we knew we didn’t want to be an acoustic duo forever. So we booked a show with the 77s, I knew he liked the 77s. So I said brad, we’re playing with the 77s in a week. Can you borrow a bass and learn our songs? He said yes – he’s been playing with us ever since. The 77s CANCELLED, but we’ve had a bass player ever since. Since then, we put him back at guitar.
Actually, that was the time in The Afters when it really did feel like it was an overnight success because everything was moving so fast – I mean we couldn’t even keep up with it. It seems like we went from our fist show to packing out every place we played at in the North Texas area. In less than a year and it just seemed like everything – that was moving really, really, really fast. For the next 2 years we played at The Door at least once a month and it would be packed out pretty consistently. We grew out fan base there and released an independent CD. We had a different drummer originally but when that drummer had to leave, we went no further than Starbucks. Marc moved from Seattle, if he would move and play drums with us – he said ‘ok, just temporarily’ – just like Brad did. [Marc] How did we get suckered into this?? [Josh] If you really want to quit[…] He happened to play a show a couple years ago with Mercy Me before a time people knew who Mercy Me was and before I Could Only Imagine came out and it just Halloween Alternative night. We all performed and they really loved our music and we’ve kept in touch with them ever since. When Bart, the leader singer, he had the opportunity to sign some bands to his label, he called us and said “I heard you’re talking to some other labels. – but before you sign with anybody, we gotta talk.” So that’s kind of how the whole label-thing started.
Jonathan: So at the time of Starbucks, were you guys The Afters?
Josh: Well, at first we were called; actually, we were called Screaming Mimes, which carried over from another band. When we couldn’t trademark that name, we went with Bliss – which was a name we thought we could keep – but when we couldn’t trademark that name, we went on a year-long search and finally ended up on The Afters. It was like we spun a wheel and it landed on The Afters.
Jonathan: What’s behind the name The Afters, though?
Josh: It has a couple different meanings. We like to think of it as a term for how after, like in this life, for important events – whether it’s birth, death, ya know — life changing things – or things like 911 or the hurricanes we had in the past year. These events in our lives emerge and change people. After all those things, you can see God’s hand how God is always in control no matter what we encounter. And … it’s also a term for desert. There’s another cool meaning, like in parts of England and Ireland, it’s a term for something that happens after a formal wedding or a banquet and if you can’t afford the formal thing, you can go to the afters where everyone is invited.
Jonathan: Interesting concept there behind the name. And where are all of you guys as far as marriage, dating?
[whole band] We’re all happily dating our wives.
Jonathan: How does that affect you though, leaving the home and kids?
[whole band] It’s hard. [Josh] Yeah, it’s hard to be away. We were all blessed with very supportive wives which has been the only thing that has gotten us through. He called them to this life just as much as He called us to this life. That’s the good part of what we do. We work hard during the year and we have a lot of time off around the holidays so we get chunks of time off and we’re home, we’re home. [Brad] I don’t know about you guys, but after this first year of really touring and being gone all the time, it’s easier now for my wife to be without me for a while – like it seems like, she thinks about “oh you’re only going to be gone for 3 weeks?” – so it’s kind of weird how the perception how hard this is going to be, ya know after you’ve already been through some harder times – 3 weeks of being gone isn’t that bad of a deal as it was a year ago. Those special times, you miss those times. But when you’re home, like I said, you’re home; you have time to make special times. You change important dates sometimes, like the birthdays, anniversaries – ok Ethan, your birthday’s not December anymore, it’s in August – just for this year. Next year it will change. He’s 2 and in 6 months he’s turning 8.
Jonathan: Have you guys thought about going back in the studio anytime soon?
Josh: Yeah, we have a lot of plans this year and a lot of cool things in the works. Beautiful Love was just picked up by MTV for a new show that’s coming out called Eighth and Ocean; it’s going to be their theme song. We have a lot of international plans too, going to keep us pretty busy. They’re starting to ask for more songs and we’re going to try to schedule some time in the studio. The plan is to put out a new album February 2007.
Jonathan: Any last comments?
Josh: …….the best condiment to eat is…you said condiments right? Anymore condiments? That’s great….with some horsy-sauce. That’s just awesome man, awesome man.