Alison Lee meets the very modest Hockey before their debut Irish performance, and picks up some words of wisdom on record deals, college life and bee.
It’s tough to write tunes that make people dance. And coming up with intelligent, witty lyrics isn’t so easy either. Yet Hockey, a foursome hailing from Portland, Oregon, seem to have no trouble accomplishing both tasks.
Although yet to release an album, the band’s gig in Whelan’s earlier this month sold out. When asked why, Ben replies “I think the radio has done good things for us. And we heard we were in the Irish Times a while back.” Their song ‘Too Fake’ was named Tune of the Day in a recent article by Jim Carroll.
Hockey’s sound is described as a fusion of “new wave and soul”, and in the press they are often compared to LCD Soundsystem. Don’t these constant comparisons annoy them? On the contrary. “It’s so new to us that it’s not annoying yet. People need a reference point,” explains Jeremy. “It’s not like we’re doing something that’s way ahead of everyone else”.
“You can’t ever replace live music”
It’s this refreshing honesty and enthusiasm that make Hockey so likeable. Despite today’s economic turbulence and uncertainty, the band remain optimistic and maintain that their future lies in live shows. “You can’t ever replace live music. People can steal music online, they can burn, they can download, but if you want to see a band live you need to take it and go.” They’re in no way cynical about their experiences with the music industry so far, saying; “We’re feeling great, meeting a bunch of wonderful people and playing sold out shows halfway around the world; it’s a dream come true for all of us.”
This dream began to come true for the band members at university, where they formed various bands and played on-campus gigs and parties. They studied subjects like “philosophy, music, art, and poetry” despite their ambitions to someday be performers. According to them, college can be a “double-edged sword”. “If you’re in college you’re separated from the real world. It wasn’t until we got out and started working dead-end jobs and playing music all the time and gigging wherever we could that we started progressing as a band,” says Jeremy.
What advice can they impart to aspiring musicians in UCD? “Play some shows out of college so your ego doesn’t get too big!” urges Ben, while Brian helpfully throws in the tip, “Drink only two beers a day”. Thanks lads, two pints it is.
Hockey’s debut album Mind Chaos, will be released in June, and for now you can check them out on their Myspace, www.myspace.com/hockey