Interview: Cyber Tracks (El Hefe – NOFX)

By Lais

Around two years ago, Aaron Abeyta (most well known as El Hefe from NOFX) and his wife Jen launched their own record label, Cyber Tracks. It’s been going from strength to strength, so we had a chat with them to find out why they decided to start a label, what makes them different from other labels out there and more.

Hi Aaron and Jen! First of all, tell us how Cyber Tracks began. How and why did you decide to start a label?

Jen: We started Cyber Tracks about two years ago. We were working with a lot of bands at the time in our home studio. One of the bands (Margate) had just finished wrapping their new album (at the time) and suggested: “Why don’t you guys just put out our record for us?!” This was opposed to us searching out a label for them. And BOOM, almost overnight, Cyber Tracks was born. It was just like that. We never actually decided one day, “Hey honey, let’s start a record label!” So, technically, I guess you could say that Margate basically started our record label.

Aaron, do you think your background in NOFX has helped a lot with being able to set up and run a music label? Do you think it will make you do anything different to other labels you’ve experienced?

Aaron: Being a musician in a band and running a label are two totally different ventures. However, having been a touring musician for over 25 years, I do know firsthand how it feels to deal with labels from the musician’s standpoint, including “the majors,” during my time with Mark Curry. So, it’s easy to relate and know what bands want out of a label. As far as the business side of things, I rely on my Wife’s common sense, mainly.

Cyber Tracks

Who have you worked with so far on your label? And who have you been most impressed with?

Jen: Currently, our roster consists of Ten Foot Pole, This Legend, Implants, Warner Drive, Counterpunch and Margate. All bands each have their own special strengths and talents which make them ALL awesome. If I had to choose one thing to talk about, I guess the most recent album comes to mind. I’m really digging the strong powerful lyrical messages on This Legend’s new album. The songs on this album have actually brought on tears of emotion for me. Now THAT’S what I call good writing.

I’ve heard a band called Margate being mentioned. Tell us more about them and your work with them.

Aaron: Margate was the first band we put out on Cyber Tracks. I produced and mixed that album and I also laid my own guitar solo on one of the tracks titled ‘Rock N’ Roll Reserve’. They are a great bunch of guys.

Is there anyone in particular you would like to work with? Any bands you’ve got your eye on?

Jen: There are a couple (known) bands that we have been talking with about possibly signing next year, but you guys are going to have to wait for those details!

What is your ultimate aim with the label? What do you hope to achieve?

Aaron: Mainly just putting out good music. We love all music (not just punk rock), and aim to release music of multiple genres.

What makes you different to other labels? Tell us more about “for artists, by artists”. Would you consider this your motto?

Jen: Yes! That is definitely one of our mottos. We built Cyber Tracks in its own unique way. We didn’t really want to create a typical ‘label’. We wanted to build a business that would enable us to be business partners with our bands and also share the profit from the music sales. We are trying to steer away from the label-boss/talent relationship and create a new environment where everything is equal. Cyber Tracks is like a family, we consider our bands part of our family. I must say that my job is pretty cool!


Try these three interviews

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Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

Interview: Trash Boat [Reading 2016]