Australian duo Hockey Dad– lifelong best mates Zach Stephenson (vocals/guitar) and Billy Fleming (drums) – have gone from making music to combat the mundane routine of the coastal lifestyle and jamming in back sheds to making history as the highest charting band – at number 2 on the official Aussie album charts -from their city/region of Wollongong, with their third album Brain Candy.
A lot of the record talks about change. Whether it be your surroundings or within yourself
Speaking of the inspiration behind the album, vocalist Zach Stephenson says, ”Most of these songs started as GarageBand demos that I had recorded at my house. I had just moved into a new place and was starting to find my feet writing again after touring. We headed out to a secluded farm house for a few weeks and worked them over into full band demos. During that trip the rest of the record sort of found its space between these songs I had brought in. A lot of the record talks about change. Whether it be your surroundings or within yourself.”
Delving further into the balance between introspective song writing and drawing from the world around them, he says “ It pinballs between the two with every song. We wrote songs like ‘Keg’ on the fly after heading to the local pub. The place inspired us in a certain way that led to that song.” Stephenson adds about their ever-evolving process, saying, “Mostly the song writing process has evolved. It hasn’t completely changed. I think we just experimented writing different kinds of songs.”
Hockey Dad move ahead with a great balance of not taking themselves or their music too seriously while still being ambitious
The success of the album is even more meaningful considering that there are no live shows to promote it. Talking about the challenges of this, he says, “ It’s been a very different release for us due to no live shows. We love going straight out and playing the record for people. Now it’s out we kind of have nothing to do. We will probably just go back into writing another record in a few weeks,” continuing, he reveals the most surprising aspect of touring he misses, saying, “Having a tour manager that looks after every detail of the day is so good and I miss that .They’re basically adult babysitters!”
Speaking of touring and live shows, he recalls the most memorable of Hockey Dad’s career, “ Playing Reading & Leeds festival last year was a pretty big moment for us last year. After growing up watching memorable sets on YouTube from those festivals it felt amazing to actually play them,” adding that the track “Good Eye,” with its positive message is their favourite offering from the album for this very reason that it brings back memories of their USA tour from a few years ago.
Hockey Dad move ahead with a great balance of not taking themselves or their music too seriously while still being ambitious – their only bucket list goal being “ Make a record better than our last one!” – and perfect blend of easy-going love for music and passion for their dreams is probably what’s brought them this far, and will continue to take them even further.
Brain Candy is out now.