“Too Fake” By Hockey
They are based in Portland USA, they play “new wave soul” and they sound like Julian Casablancas wearing David Byrne’s big suit, getting on down and losing that frown at Studio 54 …to Sparks …or something …. “Hockey” originally started life as a two piece band, consisting of Jerm Reynolds and Ben Grubin, and they may well have a drop or two of Romany blood in their lineage as they have shifted location from Los Angeles, to Spokane to Portland whilst expanding to a four piece in the process with the addition of Anthony Stassi (Drums) and Brian White (guitar).
Don’t get the impression that Hockey are some sort of new overnight sensation as they have been producing their innovative brand of Indie/funk in one form or another on various underground scenes for a number of years… a situation best summed up by a line from their song “I Wanna Be Black” — “everyone’s making dance music now, true, but we started in 2002″. Their debut single “Too Fake” has been a long time coming and provides a clear indication of the bands intent as it engulfs your senses with its swirling beats, towering chorus and swathes of whirring synths. They skillfully combine contrasting elements and produce a juxtaposition of styles which is genuinely thrilling and original in its execution, or to put it another way “f***ing ace”. When Ben sings “I’ve got too much soul for the world/ And it’s breaking my heart in two” you believe him! There seems nothing fake about that sentiment as Hockey provides conclusive proof that, collectively, they contain larger souls than Big Foot and more heart than Papworth General. On the evidence of the single alone, we are filled with feverish anticipation at the prospect of getting our excitable mitts on their debut album “Mind Chaos” later in the year.
Discovering music that is literate and danceable, as opposed to a collection of beats with lyrics consisting of hip but ultimately empty, vacuous sound bites, is a rarity these days. So put your hands together and praise the Lord because Hockey is the band you’ve been waiting for, and they are ready to slice through the chains of your musical torpor enabling you to fully experience their breathtaking “Mind Chaos”
(Anthony) ‘We want to marry dance music with real songs that people can remember.’
(Jerm ) ‘They should be able to resonate beyond a small sweaty dance club.’
(Anthony) ‘And the lyrics should have a real message.’
(Brian ) ‘All that is what makes great pop music.’
(Jerm) ‘Almost like: this is a band but it might as well be a DJ.’
‘We didn’t want to just get up and do our thing,’ says Ben.
We tried to find out more about Hockey and with a bit of puck get through an interview with Ben with out making any Hockey related puns ..oh…erm..
VP: Initially you started out as a duo based in LA and were signed to another label. Then you doubled in size and switched location? What happened?
BEN : We realized we weren’t cutting it as a band and needed to disappear for a couple years. That’s always a good thing to do when you suspect you don’t like the band you’re in.
VP: What made you choose Portland as a base?
BEN: It was really close to Spokane Washington which was the original spot we picked for our hiding and we all like to bike.
VP: Why the name “Hockey” are you fans of the sport? ;)
BEN: We are indifferent to the sport. But we had a couple of friends back when we came up with the name, and their opinion meant the world to us, and they thought it was perfect and funny, so that was it.
VP: Your music’s been described as “literate songs you can dance to”. Was this your intention? Can you explain the bands ethos?
BEN: Yeah the words in the songs are mostly like thoughts and feelings welded together. Like an intellectual idea is also an emotional one to me and vice versa. And then there’s the upbeat tempo, and so yeah, literate dance, but I’m not going for literate, so much as what’s truly personal.
VP: Who would you say are your major influences?
BEN: None too directly but on a production level, yeah we like the DFA stuff. And like Ladyhawke, but really we fell short of all those production goals in the end.
VP: Your debut single “‘Too Fake’ was released on 16th March, followed by your album “Mind Chaos” was recording it enjoyable?
BEN: I wouldn’t say enjoyable. I almost went crazy recording it. The band was afraid for me. And it was cold in the basement. But we were happy with what we came up with and that’s what counts.
VP: What are your plans for the rest of the year?
BEN: Shows/Festivals/Write/Find out how sane I’ll be at the end.
VP: Any new bands you’d tip for greatness in 2009?
BEN: The Soft Pack
VP: What’s the weirdest description of your music that you’ve read/heard?
BEN: Someone told me that it makes them feel like they are in the middle of a baseball field and the stands are all empty but they hear the loudest cheering anyway… Thought that was something to remember.
VP: Five words to sum up your debut album ….?
BEN: Completely desperate while staying calm.
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