Need To Know: Hockey


By Justin Ocean

Besides the obvious singles 'Too Fake' and 'Song Away,' what other songs on the album are close to your heart?
There's a song called 'Put the Game Down,' which is a very strange mash-up of a really dance-oriented, almost club-rave kind of verse, and a very straightforward Poison or Aerosmith [type of] rocking Rolling Stones chorus.

With such a range of styles, do the lyrics drive the music when you're writing or vice versa?
I'd say we're very lyrically oriented. It may not be immediately apparent on the first or second listen, but a lot of thought goes into the lyrics. Trying to make sure every song is worth something, as far as the content goes. Musically, we don't put a lot of restrictions on ourselves from one song to the other. They just sort of develop and take on a character of their own, as long as they're digestible and upbeat and exciting.

Why do you think Hockey has been resonating with a gay audience?'s danceable? I don't know. We hope that it appeals to people from all over the place. That's been our experience thus far. Often times we're surprised by the people who show up to our shows. It's not just indie kids from 18 to 25. I think that's part of playing music that's very pop oriented. You can cross lots of musical barriers.

In your band's bio, Ben says he tries to emulate William S. Burroughs's concept of 'total confrontation' in the lyrics and the way he handles the music. Could it have something to do with that?
Yeah, like whatever it is you're doing, be proud of who you are and don't be afraid to put that out there. The music we do is very honest and unapologetic and that's part of what works for us, and part of what people respond to about our music. It's not holding anything back. It just is what it is. We're confident about where we want to be as a band, and we're doing what makes us happy and playing the music that makes us happy. I think that's important.

What can people expect in terms of a live show?
On a good night there's a lot of energy being transferred from the audience to the band. We're participatory like that. It's not shoe-gazing, stand-there-in-your-own-world music. It's a collective experience that we're trying to bring forth.

Now that you've toured so much do you think you'll return to Portland?
Yeah, I really like Portland. It has a small-town big-city feel. It's just the kind of place you want to go when you've been on the road for months at a time. You just sink back into it and get on your bike. There are people I know and love there. The bars are great, and the scenery is beautiful. You can go river-swimming and cliff-jumping. It's really good, but I shouldn't say that too much'people are moving there by the thousands every day! [Laughs.] Word is getting out is that it's cooler than Brooklyn.

Mind Chaos (EMI) drops October 6. Visit for more info.

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