A Conversation with Hockey Dad // Barracuda // Austin, Texas

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HOCKEY DAD // Austin, Texas

Billy Fleming and Zach Stephenson are the two-piece band and childhood friends of Hockey Dad from New South Wales, Australia. Their indie surf sound celebrates youth and embodies the spirit of the summer. I was able to catch their set at Barracuda and ask about their lives touring on the road.

ET: What are some of your favorite souvenirs you've picked up along the tour circuit?

ZACH: Bucee's pants that I’m wearing I got here.

BILLY: Oh I got a four dollar pack of cigarettes in Virginia! Back home, it’s like 25 dollars. Insane. Last night in Houston, our friend brought us some football shirts and hot sauce. We got a skateboard up in Canada. For some reason, Zach’s wearing a bandana right now that someone gave him.

ET: Do you two listen to the same bands?

BILLY: Yeah, but we also listen to really different stuff. It kinda helps a lot with writing to have wacky, crazy stuff that we listen to inspire us.

ET: I have to know, but did you have a nod to the Talking Heads song ‘Psycho Killer’ in Homely Feeling?

BILLY: Oh man I want that to be true now. That’s sick. That is the first time someone has said that. I wish it were true. We went to a house party in New Zealand and there was a Talking Heads song playing called ‘This Must Be The Place’ and it certainly was the place to be.

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ET: Have you had any moments that you’re like whoa I’m a rockstar? Or does it not really phase you anymore?

BILLY: Yeah we will look at each other and be like what’s going on. It’s so funny.

ZACH: Most of the time we look at each other and laugh like ‘how do people let us do this?’

ET: How is it being a two-piece band? How do you hold your own?

BILLY: In the early days, it pushed us to play and even better. You have to fill the space and play constantly. We came from a band of four or five prior, so we had that. Now, we have to pretend to listen to each other and really like each other.

ET: You also have known each other for so long too.. It’s probably like easy to pick up on?

BILLY: Even in our live set, it’s a split little difference of character. It’s weird.

ET: What have you learned from the other surf-rock garage bands you have toured with (Fidlar, Dune Rats, Skeggs) other than how to party?

BILLY: What not to do (laughs). Nothing on the instrument front truthfully.

ZACH: I learned how to kick someone out of the venue while still playing a song.

BILLY: Skeggs does their own security. It’s pretty fun.  

ET: How was it working with John Goodmanson on this record? (producer of Sleater-Kinney, Death Cab for Cutie, Blondie, Bikini Kill, and Wu-Tang Clan)?

BILLY: It was crazy because we caught onto him because he produced the Cloud Nothings record. It was a good-sounding record. Once we figured that out and connected that John did it, we looked at his back catalog and were like so excited. He did Trains’ Christmas album too. (laughs). 

ET: You recorded 'Blend Inn' there in Seattle?

B: Yeah we went to Seattle where John lived. He was like ‘we’ll just go down the road to the studio.’ It ended up being an insane studio.

ET: What cities have stood out to you in America now that you’ve spent some time here?

BILLY: Seattle now that we have spent a lot of time there.

ZACH: I love Austin and Vancouver. I’m a Canada guy.

BILLY: Denver is sick. New York, Los Angeles and Seattle we have probably spent the most time in those cities.

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ET: Your birthday just passed right, Billy? What was the best present Zach ever got you?

ZACH: Have I ever got you a present? I bought you a huge bottle of Australian rum and it’s disgusting. I got it for you on your 21st.  Walking in the Sydney airport I bought it. I’m pretty sure I drank half of it at the party too.

ET: Imagine you are putting on your dream festival. Pick the location and headliners.

ZACH: In my backyard and I’d like to get Parquet Courts for sure.

BILLY: Whistler or someone like David Guetta and make it a big party.

ET: Who’s the better parent, Hockey Dad or Soccer Mommy?

BILLY: Soccer Mommy would be way more supportive and responsible.

ET: I’m not sure how familiar you are with American baseball, but when each batter is up to bat you can walk out to song. What would yours be?

BILLY: Every time you go up to bat?! That’s sick. I want to play baseball not play music now.

ZACH: Van Halen “Dance The Night Away.”

BILLY: Zach, what was that song Steve sung at karaoke? Lenny Kravitz “Are You Gonna Go My Way.”

ZACH: Yeah we have never even been to a baseball game in the states.

BILLY: The thing is you just play shows, eat, sleep and drink. We haven’t had time to see sports.

ET: Which sports are big in Australia?

ZACH: Cricket. We are so into it. If I wasn’t doing this, I’d be playing cricket. Not professionally just because I love it that much.

ET: You guys surf a lot too? If you had to pick, surfing or cricket?

BILLY: If I had to pick, I’d be surfing. That’s the reason, I quit cricket. We have a cricket game we play once a year. The long ones are worth it.

Keep up with Hockey Dad on Instagram + Twitter. Stream their new album, Blend Inn, on Spotify here.

Erica Tello