The year I first saw Hockey Dad’s, Zach Stephenson, wail into a microphone with closed-eyes and a guitar across his torso, is lost on me, but it’s been an experience I’ve grown used to. Despite their Australian origin, Hockey Dad’s, Billy Fleming (drums) and Stephenson (vocals and guitar) steady stream of tours made them a recognizable name in Toronto’s music scene. It would be easy to credit their name to the Canadian success, but untrue. When they perform there is a charm uniquely their own, an easy fun to be had along with their music. The band has altered that experience with their latest release, Brain Candy. Gone are the youthful tributes to surf rock, instead, a new exploration of who Hockey Dad are as artists plays out over the album erasing any genre people may try to attach them to.
Last week, from two sides of the world, Zach, his new quarantine puppy, Margarita and I chatted about the band’s long awaited third album and what it has been like to release an album in quarantine. Check it out below.
T: How has 2020 and quarantine been on your creative side? Do you think that’s taken a toll or improved in any form?
Z: I’m not sure. I feel like I’ve definitely had a lot more time to think about writing. Mm hmm. I don’t know if it’s actually done a lot more writing itself. It’s been strange if we’ve been locked away and I mean, I don’t know, I guess being locked away and not being ever gotten sides still doesn’t really make the ideas pop in the header. Oh, focus powder on songs when I’m doing demos. And we’ve had more time to just to practice quietly on our own to kind of flesh songs out a bit more and get them a little more up to speed. Okay, I think it’s probably helped our writing a little bit for sure.
T: And how are you getting ready for the upcoming release in quarantine? What’s that experience like?
Z: It’s kind of the same as many releases really where we just focus on getting everything made, and getting everybody excited, but it is a little different now that we can’t. We haven’t really got any tours or anything to play so we can’t play these new songs live and get people excited that way. I guess we’re really just trying to push it online and get everyone kind of out of air.
T: Do you have any bittersweet feelings about releasing this album while in quarantine and not being able to tour?
Z: Yeah, I think it’s kind of frustrating. It’s a little disappointing cuz we really liked these new songs on the record, and we wrote a lot of them live as well. We were all really excited to just go straight out and play them live and just kind of really get to know them. Yeah, it’s a little disappointing to put the record out and then you know, it’s just there, but we can’t really do anything with it. I’m sure as soon as we can play live again we’ll be fine playing that thing back to front.
T: For this album you’ve said it has forced you to be creative, what shifted that focus?
Z: We just had a little more time writing and in the studio. We had the time to work on a song or start a song and then kind of taken in a few different directions and see where we want it to go. So I think to do that we got the chance to do that with a lot of songs on this record as compared to older songs on old records where we just write them maybe in a couple hours and that was kind of it was kind of finished. I really liked this album. I think it’s one of our best. So I’m excited for it to get out there and for everyone to hear all the tracks in one go.
If you’re curious about Hockey Dad’s new sound, here is their latest video Germaphobe, from Brain Candy, out today!