play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.
In this Love Letter To A Record series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.
Zach Stephenson, Hockey Dad – Sparkadia, ‘Postcards’ (2007)
Firstly, I must thank my parents for helping me discover you. I saw your creator play live when I was about 9 years old. My parents took me to a Ben Lee show at the Yallah Woolshed (RIP). My first gig. The opening band (Sparkadia) walked onstage. Dark and loud. Feedback and buzz. Definitely my first experience with a ‘cool’ band. It’s a shame to say it was my only time seeing them live.
Fast forward a few years, maybe to 08/09. I was learning guitar at the time. Maybe one or two years into the trade. But I wasn’t a guitarist yet. I played the homework that my teacher gave me. I practised technique and tapping my foot. I didn’t play every day. It was more like Thursday afternoon soccer practice. I wasn’t passionate yet.
One day my dad played ‘Morning Light’ in his car.
It gave me the spark to make something. To make a song, a sound, a lyric. You turned me into a musician. You made me want to play guitar in a band. My artistic mission statement? To make a record like you. Like seriously, how the fuck did you do ‘Morning Light’? How do you make that? It’s perfect.
There is so much to draw from. I will never be tired or finished with you. The way you slow yourself down in ‘Connected’ without making anyone car sick. The rhythm section on ‘Animals’ is fierce and sprinting. But never without delicacy and class. It’s how bass should be played.
In term of vocals, I’m pretty sure I’ve based my entire singing style around you. So thanks for that. Your lyrical phrasing keeps everything in its place and delivers the clearest message. Pop-punk shouting ends for me at this time. A loud and proud, but delicate voice comes into my head. I hear your most beautiful harmonies in my head. They have become my home base.
I just want to be like YOU.
Thank you for always being there to remind me what I want to do. I want to go write a song.
Hockey Dad’s third studio album ‘Brain Candy’ is out now. The band recently rescheduled their drive-in album launch shows at Bulli Showground in Wollongong until October this year.