Interviews

Threesomes, Wollongong and the life of rock with Hockey Dad

After playing a sweaty and rowdy set at BIGSOUND, Zach Stephenson and Billy Fleming from Hockey Dad pull in to the Enmore Theatre ready to do it all again. As we settle in the swanky green rooms we chat heading to CMJ, working other jobs and The Gong. We hit record while talking about the boys’ parents…

Hockey Dad interview

Photos by Liam Cameron

HAPPY: Do your parents come to your shows often?

BILLY: Not really…

ZACH: They’ve seen us enough so now they’re done with us.

HAPPY: Cool, well how about we kick things off with a game. I call it ‘Two or more’. I’ll give you a situation, and you guys tell me if that would be better with just two people or more.

BILLY: Oooooh, interesting.

HAPPY: First off, the pub?

BILLY: Two is fine. It depends what day it is, that’s a tough one. I’ll say two.

ZACH: But more is good. 

HAPPY: Backyard cricket?

BILLY: You need more than two.

ZACH: More than two for sure.

HAPPY: Frontyard cricket.

ZACH: Still more!

BILLY: You need a slip there!

HAPPY: Camping.

BILLY: Two is fine, especially if you’re going on a surf trip. You don’t want too many blokes.

ZACH: Yeah two is fine. More gets messy.

HAPPY: Going to a festival?

BILLY: I’d rather go by myself.

ZACH: Yeah same, you don’t want a big group.

HAPPY: Moving house?

ZACH: I’ve never done it (laughs)

BILLY: I’ve never done it, I’m still at home! (laughs) I’d say two.

ZACH: Fuck that, you’d definitely need more.

HAPPY: Okay, here’s the last one. Sex?

ZACH: Nah, two is enough.

BILLY: Unless you’re lucky, yeah two.

ZACH: I’m flat out with two. There’s too much to worry about with two already.

BILLY: Yeah two is much easier.

HAPPY: It’d be pretty awkward if you were the third person, I mean, what would you do?

ZACH: I’ve never been in a threesome (laughs).

BILLY: I’ve been the bloke in the closet…

HAPPY: Really?

BILLY: Nah not really!

ZACH: He’s been in the closet for a long time, but he’s finally out now guys! (laughs).

Hockey Dad

HAPPY: (laughs) Nice! Well speaking of festivals earlier, how was your BIGSOUND?

BILLY: BIGSOUND was great. We were staying in this hell dorm with the Skegss boys, it was heaps fun. Everyone had schedules of meeting to go to and stuff, and we just had ‘free beer’, ‘free food’, ‘free beer’. It was pretty good!

HAPPY: Was it your first time up there?

BILLY: For BIGSOUND it was.

ZACH: I went to BIGSOUND last year with Step-Panther.

HAPPY: Was the experience different at all?

ZACH: Yeah we only played once this time, last year we played three times. But it was nicer this time because we just got to relax and hang out.  

HAPPY: Everyone there is worrying about meeting up with other people, it’s good to know someone was just kicking back!

BILLY: I think the whole meeting up thing is odd, especially when almost everyone there is signed. It’s super weird doing that.

HAPPY: You guys catch anyone else you liked?

ZACH: High Tension were really good.

BILLY: Yeah High Tension were really good, Cosmic Psychos were just really funny.

ZACH: I don’t think I saw anyone else, I was just drinking all the time (laughs). I saw Skegss actually, they were shiiiiiit (laughs).

HAPPY: And now you guys are heading to CMJ!

BILLY: Yeah that’s crazy! That’s gonna be our first time as Hockey Dad, it’s gonna be insane. Especially New York, that’s crazy. It’ll be an experience I’m sure. We’ve got about 4 or 5 shows booked so far, but we want to play as many as we can really. The more we play the better off we are I guess. The ones we have will be good.

Hockey Dad Can't have them

HAPPY: Have you dudes done much in the States before?

BILLY: Nup, but Zach has went over with Step-Penrith…

ZACH: We were only on the West Coast though.

HAPPY: That’s pretty awesome though, you’ve been Hockey Dad for only a few years and now you’re going to CMJ off the back of your own work.

BILLY: Yeah it’s full on! I would not have expected that at all. It’s funny though, kids were graduating last year and a year out I’m going to New York! It’s pretty funny since I’m heaps dumb.

HAPPY:  Meanwhile the kid who got 99.8 ATAR is stuck at home.

ZACH: Give hime 5 years and he’ll be making more money than us (laughs).

HAPPY: (laughs) That’s true. Do you guys do any other work to balance out the music stuff?

BILLY: Zach got fired!

ZACH: I didn’t get fired, I got laid off.

BILLY: (laughs hysterically)

HAPPY: What were you doing?

ZACH: I wasn’t doing anything! I was just on tour, and I was always on tour so they couldn’t have me anymore.

BILLY: Yeah you’re alright, but you did get the sack. I do a bit of work at our manager’s bar like once a week.

ZACH: I think you got the sack from there mate.

BILLY: Nah I still do stuff! Other than that we just stay at home and try save whatever money we have.

HAPPY: Whenever you come back from tour do you ever worry about having to come home and now do something else?

ZACH: Nah. We’re in our 20’s so it doesn’t matter. We try not to think about that shit or we’ll get freaked the fuck out. “Oh I’m wasting my life right now!“, just gotta block that voice out!

BILLY: Hopefully we’ll get a house one day.

HAPPY: A Hockey Dad house?

ZACH: Yeah maybe.

BILLY: I don’t know if I could live with you for too long though. I could put up with you for a bit.

ZACH: Yeah I need two days off after seeing you for so long, I just need a break. I had two days after the last tour so now I feel refreshed. I’m good and I like you again (laughs). We are only 50 metres from each other anyway. We’ll probably buy different houses but live on the same street.

Hockey Dad Wollongong two piece

HAPPY: Speaking of home, the Wollongong scene is slowly getting bigger, especially compared to where it was 5 years ago.

BILLY: Yeah, it definitely is. When we were in our other band the scene was just music comps. There was nothing going for it. But now it’s actually starting to brew up. Especially with the boys doing that Yours and Owls festival and Farmer and the Owl festival it’s just good to have that in Wollongong. It’d be good if everyone just stopped going to clubs and stopped taking pingas and shit and started going to rock and roll. Just go to a gig and enjoy a couple of beers. You go to a club and get decked because everyone is munching out.

HAPPY: Of course you guys, Shining Bird, The Pinheads are really bringing a focus to the area. How would you like to see it get bigger?

ZACH: I don’t know if there is anymore potential. I don’t think there are enough people there.

BILLY: That’s the thing, the more people click on that there is something going on then it could happen.

ZACH: But no one knows, it’s reached capacity of people knowing about the scene.

BILLY: I think the Wollongong scene… it’s sick to see people from Sydney and Canberra come over. That’s sick. And the South Coast, heaps of kids sneak up from the South Coast to see a show which is awesome. It just opens up for all our audience as well. Instead of us having to slog it up to Sydney, everyone can come down and check it out.

HAPPY: You can do a Wollongong tour!

BILLY: Yep, just get to all the RSLs and finish up at Windang Pub (laughs), that’d be good.

ZACH: The first night would have 100 people and then every night after that it’d be empty because they just saw us yesterday.

BILLY: Nah it’s on the increase, it’ll just get better and better. The more it gets exposed the bigger it will get.

HAPPY: There’s definitely mad potential for the Gong. Well we’re getting to the end of our time boys so we’ll wrap up with the most important question. We always chat about stuff that makes us happy, so what makes you guys happy?

BILLY: Being healthy. I’m as crook as a dog right now and I hate it. Being healthy is happy. What’s yours?

ZACH: I love eating burgers and drinking beer, being healthy doesn’t make me happy! Possessions, that makes me happy. Material possessions make me happy.

BILLY: That’s the worst (laughs).

ZACH: I just want heaps of shit! (laughs).