Not long now until Spin Off takes over the Adelaide Showground for a big day of music including festival favourites Hockey Dad. It has been a minute since Hockey Dad last played in Adelaide and Zach Stephenson talks to Hi Fi Way about everything they have been up to including touring overseas and the new music they have been working on.
It definitely feels like it’s been a minute since Hockey Dad last played in Adelaide. You must be looking forward playing Spin Off on Friday?
Yeah, for sure. It’s been a long time since we’ve been in Adelaide. I can’t remember the last time we were there, 2021 I think at Thebarton Theatre during Covid I think, it’s been a long time. I can’t wait to get back, catch up with some old friends and Adelaide’s a great city. I love being in Adelaide too, so it’s going to be good.
Do you love playing festivals a little bit more than sometimes your own headline shows? Or does it just depends on the day, the crowd, the weather and all those sorts of things?
Yeah, it depends on the mood. Playing early is always good. I like going to bed early so I can play if can play at four or five o’clock in the arvo get it done and then be able to have a couple beers and go to bed. That’s always a dream! I guess it depends, there’s a little less pressure and you’re there to just have fun and connect with the crowd. I think on your own shows you’re really trying to like work your act out properly and get the songs just right. I think festivals you can let loose, you can let the hair down and just have a bit more fun. So we’re looking forward to that.
Do you get to have any sort of outrageous over the top rider requests?
Um, no, we’ve got to work on that! I, I’ve been trying to beef up the rider for years, but I keep getting shot down by management. Are there any other bands you are looking forward to seeing play at Spin Off?
I’m looking forward to seeing Thelma Plum. I haven’t seen her play in years and I have been loving all her new music she’s been putting out, so I can’t wait to see that in the live show. She’s always really good. So that’s all, that’s what I’m keen to see.
Are you looking at previewing a few new tunes at Spin Off?
We’re going to be playing some new songs. We just finished a European tour and we were playing a bunch of new stuff there, just fleshing it out and working through the new ones, getting some responses and it has been pretty good. So yeah we’re going to debut a bunch of new songs for this set for sure.
How, how would you describe the new music you have been working on?
I think maybe it’s a little more dynamic. There’s like a little more push and pull. I think we’ve got a little quieter on some bits, some songs that you think would just be a regular heavy Hockey Dad song have been stripped back a bit and a little lighter on the ears, but they’re still fast and energetic. I think we stripped back a few layers, we just wanted to write two and a half minute catchy pop songs for these ones. Hopefully we’ve done that.
Do you put that down to experience and getting better at what you do or do your influences and musical heroes have a role in the direction of these songs?
Yeah, it’s probably a bit of everything. I think our inspiration changes, listening to new stuff and being inspired by different sounds and just being in a different studio as well. Being a different studio with different instruments laying around studios, you just pick them up and you’re inspired by those sounds and incorporate that into everything. So, it comes with everything, listening to new stuff and working with new people and how they would record and produce songs you. You take it on board and run with that. There are a few different elements which have all just come together and we’ve got the sound we have now.
Has everything gone to plan in the studio and have these songs continued to evolve as you’re working on them?
I would say it definitely has evolved in the studio. It was a quick process. We’ve been in the studio a lot over the last few years, but these last batch of songs we got in there and got it done pretty quickly. They changed as we were going but I think once we started playing them live as well in Europe they definitely took on a proper shape. I think we’ll go back taking what we’ve learned and what we’ve figured out from these live shows and pump a bit of that juice into the recordings now to get them where we want them, but so far so good.
Are you looking to expand the band line up or keep things as a duo?
We’ve been playing with a bass player for a few years now, Steve plays bass with us on all of our tours and he joins us in the studio, It makes it a little easier for me not having to compensate for no bass. It changes the songwriting a little bit. We can get a little more tricky and create some interesting lines instead of just a guitar playing some chords. That’s helped us out over the last few years. Maybe we’ll add a fourth number in a couple of years or something, but who knows? For now, three is our number.
Do you feel like with all the overseas touring that the hard work is starting to pay off?
Yeah, it’s been great to get back overseas. It was maybe like three or four years since we’ve been to Europe and the UK before that last trip. It was nice to go back and see that people were still interested in coming to our shows, still liking our music and they’re excited to hear the new songs. People took a liking into the new stuff. It was all really positive for us to go back over there, catch up with old friends and international touring is just so much fun. I mean we’re basically just on a holiday seeing the world playing fun shows, it’s the best thing ever.
Interview By Rob Lyon
Catch Hockey Dad at Spin Off on Friday 21 July, tickets HERE…