“There is going to be such a resurgence for all forms of live music and creative performance at the end of all this. Think about how many people are bunkered down writing songs and itching to play live again as we speak”
Now onto their third Album, our mates Hockey Dad aka Zach Stephenson & Billy Fleming know their way around an album launch and subsequent tour.. but 2020 as we all know has become the master of disaster and steamroller to all plans (not to mention global catastrophe and devastation, but we’ll keep it light here.
We sat down for a bit of a chin wag about their latest Album Brain Candy, how they approached releasing and promoting an album during Covid lock down, Life Lessons, Art, Feelings, Facepaint and Live Music Post Pandemic.
Massive congratulations on your third album ‘Brain Candy’, How was the writing & recording process this time?
B - Thankyou very much! We wrote the record out west on a property in Sofala, NSW. Being able to lock ourselves away for a few weeks recording demos all day and night was super fun. We then took to the demos over to the states to record with our good mate John Goodmanson again, who recorded our previous album in Seattle, WA. We just had so much fun that first time, it made such a simple decision to go back over there for our new album too!
Editors note *John Goodmanson not only recorded the much loved Hockey Dad previous release Blend Inn, he has recorded with the likes of Weezer, Bikini Kill, Wu-Tang Clan, Pavement & Soundgarden. Holy wow.
What creatively has changed for you both since recording the last album? Did you have any kind of goals moving into making this one?
How would you describe the vibe of the sound we should expect?
Did you set out to tell a story or have a concept for the album as a whole with this one or is more along the lines of a collection of songs/ideas that have come together to form the album?
Z - I guess it’s just about getting older and looking at the world in a different way, compared to an excited (and at some times stupid) young person. Blend Inn dealt with problems in a less mature way by fighting and complaining. I think getting older I have come to see these situations as learning experiences and furthermore, actually enjoying my life more by accepting and giving in to the chaotic and for the most part completely random life. These songs I think are the tools I used to express these new feelings and a celebration of a clearer way of thinking. And mostly a celebration of life itself.
The film clip for Itch, one of the early release singles feels pretty Hollywood! How was it making that?
B - Hahah! It was definitely the most Hollywood we’ve gone for a clip. We handed the reins over to our good mate Laban Pheidias and he went wild with it. Filmed it all in one day across various zones in LA. Super fun day and we were all really happy with how it turned out.
Such cool concepts you’ve come up with to release this album..you’ve definitely had to switch up release plans due to covid – We saw you had to adjust from first cancelling Euro/Usa tour, changing Aus tour from June to 2021..But also some cool projects to help entertain through lockdown; like the Early Days recording release & Isolaide live stream performance and of course planning a Drive In gig. How has your experience been as musicians through this time and how important has it been for you both to stay connected to the HD audience through these types of creative projects?
B - Yeah it definitely has been a wild time for musicians, and so many other creative industries too. We've had a lot of tours, shows and plans fall through or postponed this year. There has been both negative and positive aspects to it all though. For instance, we haven't spent this much time at home in about 5 years! It feels like we've just been stuck in the rat race with years of constant touring, so it has been super refreshing to be spending everyday at home with all of our friends and family again. On the other hand, it also feels super weird not sleeping in the back of a van and driving for 10 hours a day too hahah. And as I mentioned before, having a solid team behind us really helps encourage us to stay psyched and keep connected with everyone who listens to our records.
A few of the Volcom crew came to the Enmore Theatre show in Sydney for the last tour and we couldn’t believe how mad the crowd was! Jumping off the second level, crowd singing EVERY word at full tilt, just mental.. And the confetti falling at the end was magical…how do you think the shows in 2021 will be after there has been such a gig drought due to Covid? Think the madness will escalate? Any tricks up your sleeves to make the return to the HD live performances extra magic?
B - Those shows at Enmore are easily some of the best memories we have! So amped that you all came along for it. There is going to be such a resurgence for all forms of live music and creative performance at the end of all this. Think about how many people are bunkered down writing songs and itching to play live again as we speak. We're gunna be at the pub watching bands more than we ever did before, and we can't wait for that!
We saw the vid on your Instagram of the Brain Candy Cereal ad in the local newspaper nestled in amongst the (ah hem) personal ads. So funny, who’s idea was that one?… We also saw you hand delivered 50 cereal boxes! (cereal boxes containing the New Album “Brain Candy’ & merch)..fans must have wet themselves!
B - Hahah! We have been going pretty crazy with the promotional side of things with this record. We’ve got a rock solid team working behind the scenes for us that always come to the table with funny ideas and ways for us to keep busy during a real quiet time in the world. Delivering records by hand to people who have pre-ordered the album has been incredibly fun! Everyone seems to be amped and enjoying the record which is awesome to see.