From Windang to the world: the story of Aussie band, Hockey Dad | Newcastle Herald


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It is a signal of Hockey Dad’s recognition that it took a mega star like Taylor Swift to carry them out of the highest spot on the album charts this week. The Windang pair’s third album Mind Sweet entered the ARIA charts at No2 this week, solely overwhelmed out by the shock launch of Tay-Tay’s Folklore. Guitarist and singer Zach Stephenson stated coming second to Swift (or anybody else for that matter) was higher than what they anticipated. “It was a shock as a result of we could not do our typical document promotion run and play in-stores and promote data that means,” Stephenson says. “So the stress was undoubtedly on to get on the market and make your self identified by way of this time.” What they did – with the assistance of document firm Farmer and the Owl and BMG – was hold the Mind Sweet launch within the public eye by way of making a collectible “breakfast cereal field” stuffed with Hockey Dad goodies (which Stephenson and drummer Billy Fleming hand-delivered) and establishing a collection of drive-in reveals. The reveals have been postponed however they’d achieved the job of reminding individuals the album was popping out; as did the last-minute alternative live-stream gig filmed at Wollongong’s Regent Theatre. That No2 end continues the band’s upward trajectory – their 2018 album Mix Inn entered the charts at No6. However Stephenson and Fleming have stayed level-headed and much more relaxed than what you’d count on from two guys of their early 20s with successful album on their arms. They actually do not appear all that far faraway from the 2 children who lived on the identical road in Windang, who met when Fleming walked previous Stephenson’s home, noticed him enjoying footy within the entrance yard along with his dad, and joined in. “He lived down the street and after that he by no means left,” Stephenson says. “He was there each day.” They went by way of major college collectively after which highschool, and the very fact Stephenson was older and two grades forward of Fleming did not appear to matter to the pair. “We had a bunch of mates who have been older than us, by far,” Fleming says. “So once I acquired into 12 months Seven, Zach was in 9 and we had mates who have been in 12 months 12. The explanation was as a result of all of us surfed collectively, it broke down the boundaries. It meant the entire age distinction factor did not matter.” The pair began a band with two buddies – Fleming began enjoying the drums as a result of no-one else needed to. The foursome’s first present was a efficiency at a faculty band comp, the place they performed The Residing Finish’s All Torn Down. As is the character of teenage bands, it did not final lengthy. The 2 buddies left, however Stephenson and Fleming stored enjoying collectively, recording demos at residence earlier than beginning to play gigs as Hockey Dad – the presence of one other Wollongong “guitar and drums” duo in Mom and Son giving them some confidence. A few of these early demos have been briefly made out there on Bandcamp this yr, although Stephenson describes them as “fairly crap”. “It was unusual listening again to them,” he says. “They did not sound something like we do now, they have been actually completely different. It was enjoyable to see that place to begin, to see what we have been doing.” What they have been doing again then could not have been as crap as Stephenson thought, as a result of a really younger Hockey Dad impressed Music Farmers proprietor Jeb Taylor when he noticed them enjoying in entrance of 5 individuals at Rad Bar. “The primary time I noticed them they’d most likely solely performed lower than 5 reveals,” Taylor says. “They have been fairly tough and younger however there was one thing behind that roughness within the songs. Zach’s vocals actually stood out quite a bit again then, despite the fact that they have been fairly undeveloped and uncooked. “You most likely do not see it that early with a number of bands, the place you may look by way of that rawness and really feel there’s some potential there.” Taylor and Ben Tillman from Yours and Owls had been speaking about beginning a document label, with plans for a compilation of Wollongong bands as the primary launch. A kind of Hockey Dad demoes modified their plans. Stephenson and Fleming have been at Music Farmers and handed Taylor a demo – which he felt did not seize the band’s sound. That wasn’t the demo that modified issues, it was the one which got here subsequent that did. Slightly than ignore what Taylor stated, they went off and got here again with one thing higher – which grew to become Dreamin’, the primary launch on Farmer and the Owl. That Stephenson and Fleming took his suggestions on board influenced Taylor’s choice to signal them as a lot because the music did. Different bands would not have adopted up, or possibly even thought “screw that man”, however the two Windang children listened. Dreamin’ got here out in 2014 and the debut longplayer Boronia adopted two years later – the identical yr they inked a take care of New York label Kanine. In 2018, they took an enormous step up with Mix Inn, which captured lots of people’s consideration. Stephenson says that put a little bit of stress on him to give you songs for what would grow to be Mind Sweet. “I felt the stress straight after we had some songs within the Hottest 100 and making an attempt to jot down songs for this document,” Stephenson says. “I felt a bit little bit of stress from myself, ‘pondering ‘certainly I can not write a track pretty much as good as that one once more’.” The band took off to nation NSW for a couple of weeks and simply jammed and “mucked round”. It helped Stephenson discover a means ahead and the considerations about residing as much as the requirements he set on Mix Inn have been gone. Hockey Dad has grow to be the most important band from Wollongong since Tumbleweed – in truth they’ve most likely pushed the blokes from Tarrawanna into second spot. Taylor is aware of what impact having an enormous band come out of your city can have. He was impressed to work in music after seeing Tumbleweed go massive nationally as a result of it confirmed him what was doable, and he is sure Hockey Dad is filling the identical position for youths everywhere in the Illawarra. “A part of the story of Hockey Dad is them rising up on the identical road collectively and nonetheless being based mostly right here,” Taylor says. “I at all times favored how Tumbleweed stored that story of how they nonetheless lived in Wollongong. Tumbleweed have been at all times actually happy with being from Wollongong and I believe Hockey Dad have achieved the identical factor.” With regards to Hockey Dad being Wollongong representatives, Stephenson says they’re going to take that mantle – even when it was one they did not search out. “I assume it was type of thrown upon us and we thought, ‘yeah, positive we’ll take it on’,” Stephenson says. “We at all times see bands that we’re on tour with, they arrive right down to Wollongong and fall in love with the place. We’ve buddies who grew up in Adelaide, lived there their entire lives and simply moved to Wollongong as a result of they like it a lot, after hanging out with our crew for a couple of months.”

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