El Hefe / Jen AbeytaFat Wreck Chords
By Shelby Monita on August 5th, 2015 at Bovine Sex Club - Toronto, ON
To finish our week covering the 25th Anniversary of Fat Wreck Chords, we cap off with our third interview with one of the biggest bands on the label: the one, the only NOFX.
Chatting with their guitarist El Hefe and his wife Jen Abeyta (who together co-own their own label Cyber Tracks), we talk about the rise in popularity for both NOFX and Fat Wreck over the years, and his undying love for Taylor Swift.
Shelby Monita: In the past 25 years of Fat Wreck are there any albums that stand out to you?
El Hefe: Um yeah, I like No Use For a Name Leche Con Carne and I like Tony Sly’s acoustic album, and you?
Jen: I have way too many… all the old Lagwagon stuff, all the old No Use for a Name stuff, there’s so much.
El Hefe: Lagwagon Duh.
El Hefe: Duh?
Jen: Duh, definitely Duh.
SM: Can you describe your Fat Wreck family experience in one word?
Jen:… I would say educational
El Hefe: How about adventurous. It’s been one hell of an adventure and one hell of a ride. From the beginning of when it started to now. Met a lot of cool people all over the world. I got to see the whole world, made enough money so I could pay my bills with my career. I’m stoked to have this as my career and I feel very fortunate that I am still able to continue doing this for a living.
SM: Do you have any advice for starting out bands who aspire to work with Fat Wreck one day?
El Hefe: You guys starting out need to be real road dogs, real road warriors. It’s a rough rough life, so learn how to get along, you’re going to get at each others necks, at each others throats. Everyone has got to learn how to work on the problems, learn how to vote and majority rules, it’s gonna be hard.
SM: When Mike and Erin started this and you put your faith in Mike with a new record label did you ever think it would go this far, for this long?
El Hefe: No, I did not. When I first joined NOFX, Mike was starting Fat with Erin and I didn’t see too much potential in the whole punk scene. It’s not the popular music you know, it’s underground. I made a little bit of money you know, I paid my rent, I was so happy I was able to pay my rent at the time. I had 3 roommates, I was living off of $400 a month at the time. You know we went in and we recorded The Longest Line and it just took off and who know knew. We were like “OMG I can’t believe this”. We did White Trash, Two Heebs and a Bean, there were lines around the clubs, sold out. We were just like “what the fuck”. None of us could believe it, we were all just like “what the hell is going on?”. I don’t know, maybe we all got lucky.
SM: Well and you’re a good band, that helps!
El Hefe: It was a lot of hard work. Sleeping on floors, sleeping in squats around Europe. Oh my god, it was rough, it was exciting, like I said it was an adventure. Seeing the world on that level, instead of like a tourist, you know. If you go to Germany or London as a tourist you’re going to see things differently. Where as if you go in as a punk band and you’re sleeping on floors and in squats you’re seeing the world differently, not everyone gets to see that
SM: What’s your favourite kind of pizza?
El Hefe: Pepperoni, double pepperoni skinny crust.
SM: Do you remember your first celebrity crush?
El Hefe: I would have to say Jaclyn Smith of Charlie’s Angels
SM: I got that earlier from KJ!
Jen: I’ll answer his now and I think it’s Megan Fox.
El Hefe: Megan Fox? No. Megan Fox is old now.
Jen: Oh I made a mistake! There’s someone new.
El Hefe: No, there’s nobody new. But back in the day there was Susan Summers… my wife reminds me of her… Farah Fawcet, Jaclyn Smith.
Jen: Do I remind you of Susan Summers because I’m ditsy?
El Hefe: No your beauty.
SM: She’s really talented.
Jen: We do watch Three’s Company like every day.
El Hefe: I love Three’s Company. I used to think “oh she’s so fucking beautiful.”
Jen: It’s funny cus’ I was wearing pigtails one time and we were backstage at a NOFX show and I was walking by and this guy was like “oh Chrissy Snow” and I was like “don’t compare me to a porn star!” Like I thought it was a porn star name and so I walked over to [El Hefe] and was like “some guy called me Chrissy Snow!” and he’s like “that’s from Three’s Company” and I was like “Oh my god I feel like such a ditz now”. Like maybe I can pull the blonde card on that one, I don’t know…
SM: So what three albums are you playing on repeat right now?
El Hefe: Oh shit let’s see I have Knife Party, Skrillex…
El Hefe: I’m into dubstep, EDM, Calvin Harris.
Jen: You were listening to Taylor Swift on the plane.
El Hefe: I have Taylor Swift on my iPod.
SM: Who doesn’t though?
El Hefe: She’s good! So I do have Taylor Swift in my iPod and Calvin Harris.
SM: Her boyfriend, right? They’re together now!
El Hefe: What? No! Calvin Harris is with Taylor Swift?
SM and Jen (at the same time): YEAH!
El Hefe: I didn’t know that! That’s crazy! Wow!
SM: They could have an amazing album come out of it.
El Hefe: Yeah him making the music and her singing the hooks, OMG. That’s going to be a trip.
SM: Something to look forward to! Anything coming up for NOFX after the tour?
El Hefe:… We’re working on new songs and new music. So we’re probably going to start on pre-production and working on new stuff.
SM: Cool! Do you have an end date for that?
El Hefe: No, no end date.
SM: Well thank you so much!
El Hefe: Nice to meet you.
Jen: Very nice to meet you!