Elefant Traks Closing Down After 26 Years

7 March 2024 | 3:43 pm | Mary Varvaris

“I don't think there has been a more important label in Australian music for the last three decades than Elefant Traks.”

Elefant Traks' 18th anniversary celebrations

Elefant Traks' 18th anniversary celebrations (Credit: Clare Hawley)

Renowned Sydney-based record label Elefant Traks is closing down after 26 years in the business.

Known for primarily releasing music by Australian hip-hop and electronic artists, including The Herd, Hermitude, Urthboy, L-FRESH The LION, ANESU, Horrorshow, Srirachi, Okenyo and more, Elefant Traks has developed a reputation for “championing the underdogs” since its early days in 1998.

Commemorating the label’s 20th anniversary in 2018, The Music’s Mick Radojkovic wrote, “It’s hard to put into words what a label like Elefant Traks means, not only to its members but to the extended family that surrounds it.”

On the day, founder Kenny Sabir discussed the facts: there aren’t many independent labels that have survived 20 years through the most tumultuous time in music history – the emergence of streaming services and video-sharing social media – “but it’s safe to say that with love, persistence and a strong sense of family, the next generation of baby ‘elefants’ will ensure that the label continues for many more to come.”

Now, Elefant Traks is tragically hanging things up.

In a press release shared on social media today, Sabir announced that the label is saying goodbye with “full-hearted gratitude.”

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter

For 26 years, Elefant Traks has released 1,300 songs, 60 albums, and 40 EPs—not bad for an independent, artist-led record label out of Sydney. While Elefant Traks is saying goodbye today, there will be room for celebrations—stay tuned for more news about the “final curtain calls” as they roll in.

In a statement, Australian political and entertainment journalist Osman Faruqi quipped that Elefant Traks wasn’t the Home And Away of the Australian music industry, “it was the opposite of that”. Faruqi explained, “I don't think there has been a more important label in Australian music for the last three decades than Elefant Traks.”

Kenny Sabir, original member of The Herd and founder of Elefant Traks, said about today’s announcement: “It was the dream to create a significant record label 26 years ago, and we chose the most tumultuous period in the history of the music industry to make our mark, but the honours go to Tim, Dale, the ET workers over the years, to constantly adapting to find the edge and make this dream a reality.”

L-FRESH The LION added, “Elefant Traks supported me in my early music career journey when others overlooked my talent or didn't understand my potential. If it weren't for their support, I wouldn't be the artist I am today.”

Handsome ToursCaitlin McGregor expressed sadness about the label’s closure, comparing the announcement to “hearing an old friend was leaving town.”

McGregor added, “Working at Elefant Traks was one of the greatest joys of my life. My love goes out to Tim and Dale and the whole team at Elefant Traks, what a fucking legacy. One of the greatest Record Labels ever in this country, and they did it all independently (haha, no I actually mean independently). A sad day for music in this country.”

At the end of their statement, Elefant Traks thanked Inertia for signing them as the first local label on their distribution roster 23 years ago. They also praised friends, agents, publishers, promoters, managers, and “swindlers and hustlers” who have been a part of the Elefant Traks story. You can read the complete statement below.

You can look back at some of the biggest highlights of Elefant Traks’ legacy, courtesy of a video posted by Urthboy today.

After 26 years of championing the underdogs, Elefant Traks calls it a day. Thanks for all the memories and stay tuned for news about our 25th anniversary finales ❤️

Posted by Elefant Traks on Wednesday, March 6, 2024