Hockey Dad is a little two piece band from the coastal town of Winding in New South Wales, Australia. Made up of childhood friends Zach Stephenson and Billy Fleming, they grew up on the same street that started this band. Stephenson and Fleming combined their love of surfing, skating, and rock and roll into the jangly fuzz-pop duo Hockey Dad in 2013.As a band they stand for Joy: they have fun making music and have fun playing music live. I had a chance to talk with Zach Stephenson about the things that bring him joy, their new music and upcoming album Brain Candy along with staying positive during tough times. Stephenson said that the best part of being a touring musician, in his mind, is the travel. “Meeting people every single night who’s world is so different from your own. No way we could have seen this much of the world without music.” He explained that he does think traveling and touring has changed me as a person and that it has opened his mind and given him patience, “I’m definitely a better person for it.” His three favorite things about touring are: playing shows, good food, and making lifelong friends that live on the other side of the world.
Before the coronavirus, Hockey Dad had a tour scheduled. And even before the coronavirus hit, Australia had bushfires. Despite all of the trouble that they along with many creators and musicians are facing, Hockey Dad is doing fine, Zach explained to me. He said that they are very fortunate to live where they are and they have kept pretty safe.Last month they went live on Instagram for the Isol-Aid festival. “It was really fun to play a few acoustic songs with fans tuning in from home. As strange as the concept was I was still really nervous before we went live. After the set finished I got the same adrenaline hit you usually get after a normal show. I think I stayed up till 3am that night expecting to drive to a hotel 2 hours away. It really made me miss touring. We might have to do a few more.” “Surfing and staying active is definitely a key part to staying sane as well,” Zach said. Both Zach and Billy are staying positive doing this time, and standing by their goal of being a band of joy, by keeping busy writing and working on the release of their new album, Brain Candy, which is scheduled to release on July 31. In another interview with BTRtoday, Zach explained that Brain Candy is kind of a sweet treat for your brain and if you have a bit too much or indulge, it’s not very good for you. As curious as I am, I had to ask him what exactly this meant. He explained that “Brain Candy is kind of a way to say hey here’s a little treat for you. Don’t take this too seriously, it’s for fun. Now get back out there and keep working. At the end of the day we are making records for fun and they’re not too important in the grand scheme of things. Don’t get too bogged down into over thinking it. That takes the sweetness away.” Zach said that, as far as album creation goes, “I think individual songs will come together at first. Maybe one idea or song can be a catalyst for ideas further down the track.” To promote Brain Candy, they’ve released a few singles and music videos. One of my favorites has to be the music video for their song “Itch”.” It mixes zombies and their love for skateboarding and the beach. Stephenson said that it was the most professional video shoot that they have ever been apart of. In the past they were used to filming and creating our music videos with minimal help. The production for “Itch” had a huge crew. Zach explained that “all we had to do was act (badly).” “The zombie and skating concept was all down to the director Laban. Laban sent the idea over and we were super excited to roll with it. I think the video really captured the brotherly vibe in our band. Even at the end of the world we are still going down together laughing.” Watch the official video for “Itch” here:
Zach made a few suggestions of newer artists and/or albums that have inspired Hockey Dad or him as a person. He said that his pals Vundabar from Boston just released a new record called Either Light, “It has been playing a lot at my house.” He also mentioned that The Black Lips’ new record has been his most played of the year so far.Along with this idea, I had to ask about his feelings about knowing that his band is possibly influencing and giving other artists the confidence what they want. Zach said and joked, “It’s a strange thing to think about but it’s cool. There are definitely better bands people should be getting their daily influences from haha.” After Brain Candy is released, Zach thinks that touring will be their main focus. He says that you should keep an eye out for dates because Hockey Dad wants to play absolutely everywhere. To end our interview Zach added, “Stay safe, listen to records and see you on the road soon.”