Party In The Paddock. Ricky Ponting. Cascade beers. The humble Apple Isle has gifted us …
This week’s feature album is Blend Inn, the newie from surf rockers Hockey Dad. Hockey Dad are starting to make a hell of a lot of noise for just two dudes.
This album follows on from their smashing 2016 debut and ARIA-charting Boronia, which launched the band into the hearts of Australian music fans quicker than even the gnarliest swell. Blend Inn shows an ocean’s worth of growth for the dudes, who knuckled down to piece together an album that’s sure to leave even more of a mark than its older sibling. For that reason and many more, Blend Inn is this week’s featured album and we spoke with Zach and Billy ahead of its release.
As with any new record, the nerves run high and there is all the hopeful anticipation of how the album will fare. For the chilled out surf rockers in Hockey Dad, who hail from Windang on the central coast of New South Wales, this release is no exception.
Even with the success of the debut, and all early data showing signs that this album is set to crack the top ten on the charts, the boys are still anxious about whether people will like their new album.
“I think a lot of the nerves are different now, because we recorded the album in March last year, and where the nerves were about the songs themselves, that is now kind of gone. Now the nerves have switched, from us liking the songs but not knowing whether everyone else is going to like them. So there is always that anticipation and you just hope that people will actually enjoy the record,” says drummer Billy Fleming.
“There’s not much more than that now. We’ve already pressed all the vinyl, we can’t change it! We gotta just go with it,” chimes in guitarist and vocalist Zach Stephenson, the other half of Hockey Dad.
It helps that the first single that the duo released, Homely Feeling, had such a strong reaction from their fans and even made it into the 2017 triple j Hottest 100 at #54.
“Yeah the first song went really well in regards to people listening to it. I think there is definitely some nerves gone from the response we got, but there’s still ten other songs to get released, so who knows if the other ten are okay!” Fleming says.
Chances are they will be though, as Blend Inn takes Hockey Dad in a different direction musically, with the album taking on a more personal ‘dear diary’ vibe, something that is completely different than Boronia.
We’ve already pressed all the vinyl, we can’t change it! We gotta just go with it!
“We were away so much that it kind of put a different perspective on things and basically the whole album is very much centred to Homely Feeling and I Want to be Everybody. There a similar theme (to Boronia) but it’s a little bit different to what we were. With the first album, we were just kind of writing songs and living in the moment and stuff, which is great. But this one is kind of written in retrospect, cause we did over a hundred shows last year and white it hasn’t taken a toll completely, it does change your outlook on a few things,” Fleming explains.
The maturity in the music on Blend Inn certainly suggests a lot of growth within Hockey Dad, as right off the release they hit the road and in between 2016 and now played over one hundred shows, as well as finding the time to write and record the new record.
“I think it’s more of a solidified piece of work, because we did a lot of all-in-one sessions and we recorded them all at once and it was more of a solidified effort really, than anything we’ve done before. So, I think we’re more proud of Blend Inn than anything we’ve done, which is awesome,” Fleming says.
“I think we also had a little more confidence, maybe, this time. Because Boronia was like the first, so there was a lot more pressure to make a decent album. But this time we were more relaxed in the studio and writing it and, just sort of getting what we wanted. So, I think it’s a little more honest, and a little more easy going than what Boronia was,” Stephenson adds.
Though pressure bears to release a cracking debut, this hasn’t got a patch on writing a follow up record. But the easy-going attitude that possesses the band definitely worked in the boys favour, as it seems Hockey Dad has avoided the dreaded ‘second album slump’. Heading out bush to write the album, the boys were focused and didn’t let the pressure get to them, showing just how far these two have come in such a short time.
With fourteen shows across the capital cities, and only tickets left to five of these shows, Hockey Dad are keen to get back on the road and continue their ‘road dog’ status.
“I’m excited to get back on the road and actually play the songs for people to figure out,” Stephenson says.
And while it is exciting as it is to be back on the road, the duo have some big venues on this tour and for such big stages for two people it could seem daunting to some, but these two seem to take it all in their stride.
“I don’t know. I think we’re just gonna play the show. I mean we don’t need to change up anything from what we’ve already got. I think we’re just gonna keep having fun and trying as much as possible to keep putting on good shows. We’ve been doing the same thing for a few years now. I don’t think we’re going to try anything remarkably different. We’re having fun now,” Stephenson continues.
If you want to join Hockey Dad while they are having fun, you should secure your tickets now as these last few shows are also set to sell out…and make sure you pick up a copy of Blend Inn while you’re at it.
HOCKEY DAD BLEND INN TOUR
Thursday 1st March – Badlands, Perth
Friday 2nd March – Badlands, Perth SOLD OUT
Saturday 3rd March – The Gov, Adelaide – SOLD OUT
Sunday 4th March – The Gov, Adelaide (All Ages)
Thursday 8th March – The Corner, Melbourne SOLD OUT
Friday 9th March – The Corner, Melbourne SOLD OUT
Saturday 10th March – The Corner, Melbourne(u18) SOLD OUT
Friday 16th March – Metro Theatre, Sydney SOLD OUT
Saturday 17th March – Woolly Mammoth, Brisbane SOLD OUT
Sunday 18th March – Woolly Mammoth, Brisbane (U18) SOLD OUT
Sunday 18th March – Woolly Mammoth, Brisbane SOLD OUT
Monday 19th March – Woolly Mammoth, Brisbane
Thursday 22nd March – The Corner, Melbourne
Sunday 25th March – Metro Theatre, Sydney (All Ages)