Friends since they were kids, Aussie babes Hockey Dad – made up of Zac Stephenson and Billy Flemming – have been crafting their unique surf-rock-pop-punk sound since they started making music in their early teens.
Releasing their critically acclaimed debut Boronia back in 2016, the pair have spent the last two years growing as artists, touring the world, and working on perfecting their hypnotising sun-tinged sound. Moving to Seattle to work on the follow-up record, the duo took up shop in the iconic Robert Lang Studios (artists from The Foo Fighters to Death Cab For Cutie have grace its rooms) to craft their sophomore album, the fantastic Blend Inn.
An electrifying return from the duo, the LP poses an exciting glimpse at the heights they can reach; full of crashing guitar and mesmerising vocals, it’s both unapologetic and a clear step up from their previous material. Released earlier this month, we caught up with vocalist Stephenson to find out more.
How did you two meet?
We met when we were about six years old in front of Billy’s house. He was playing footy and I asked if I could play. We’ve been mates since then!
Was it “let’s make music together” at first sight?
Not quite. We didn’t get into playing music together until we were about 13 or 14. But since we started playing together we haven’t stopped.
Was it a fairly harmonious decision, in terms of finding your sound?
Yeah I think at the time of starting the band we both had a clear direction of what we wanted to do and what kind of band we wanted to be. As we keep playing we are constantly changing ideas and trying new things. But that’s what keeps it exciting.
How would you describe Hockey Dad’s “sound”?
Not really sure. It’s probably closest to surf rock with early punk and pop influences.
And where does the name Hockey Dad come from?
We stole it from The Simpsons. It’s a video game that Bart and Milhouse play. Check it out online, it’s hilarious.
“Hopefully [people] just have a nice time whilst listening to it. That’s all we can really ask.”
Your debut album Boronia came out in 2016. What have you been up to for the last two years?
Pretty much just touring around playing as many places as we can and having heaps of fun!
Nice. When did you decide to start making the second record?
We started writing for this record in mid-2016 and chipped away at it for about a year whilst touring. Then we got into the studio and finished it last year.
How does Blend Inn differ to your first offering?
I think Blend Inn has a deeper and more thought out sound and structure as a record. It’s more complete from start to finish than the first record.
What were the inspirations behind the album?
I was listening to a lot of Rolling Stones and Iggy Pop. They influence us constantly but we were also listening to a lot of The Presidents of The USA and Twin Peaks.
What do you hope that people take away from the new record?
Hopefully they just have a nice time whilst listening to it. That’s all we can really ask.