Sometimes Omaha feels like Chapel Hill's indie rock sister city. We have relatives (Sorry About Dresden's Matt Oberst), re-transplanted natives (ex-White Octave/Cursive's Stephen Pedersen, now back in Omaha; the Gladhands), a compilation comprised of members of the two cities (NE vs. NC, The Versus Series, Vol. I on Redemption Records), and now our own musical prodigies who started their label while still in their teens.
Will Hackney and Martin Anderson began Trekky Records three years ago while Hackney was in ninth grade and Martin was in seventh. They saw it as a way to release music by their middle school band, Alvarez Painting, as well as the music of some of their friends. The label's first release was by Chapel Hill High School's Westfalia, whose members have gone on to form another Trekky Records band, Greensboro's Mortar and Pestle. In fact, the label's acts truly are a collective, sharing members and playing on each other's albums as well as sharing shows--much like Conor Oberst's label Saddle Creek Records operates in Omaha.
"One of the reasons we started was because we saw what they did there," says Hackney. "We were also influenced by Merge and Dischord Records. Just in the way Dischord and our age--you know, they were younger than most people when they started. And then Merge--just being from Chapel Hill--has been a big influence."
Indeed, by Hackney's own admission, all of the bands on his label are older than he and Anderson, but they're also friends, which is the idea that drove them as they built up the label.
"When we started, we didn't have a very good idea of what we really wanted to do with [the label]. As time went on and we got our friends' bands, we had more of a focused goal to have a large collective of bands who are all friends," Hackney says. "We're all like-minded enough that we get along pretty well and we can play shows together, but at the same time I don't think there's a Trekky Records sound that can really be defined."
In their three years they've released 14 albums and hosted nine bands, seven of which are still active, the most noteworthy being churning indie rockers Mortar and Pestle, groovy, throttling instrumentalists Choose Your Adventure, and Hackney's catchy, punk-inflected post-rock outfit, Alvarez Painting.
Just beginning his senior year of high school, Hackney hopes to attend college in the area so that he can continue to run the label--at least until his bandmate, Anderson, graduates in 2007. In the meantime, Trekky Records continues to consolidate its plans for world domination, planning bigger tours, and possibly working with a distributor for the first time on the forthcoming Mortar and Pestle CD. History demonstrates that great things are preceded by modest beginnings, and in the wake of Merge's 15th Anniversary it's probably not wise to underestimate the future of Hackney, Anderson and Trekky Records.