A lot has been said about time spent in the woods in solitude. From classic Thoreau literature, to music from the Big Pink, or Bon Iver, all examine shutting out the world, losing, and perhaps finding yourself. In the fall of 2010, Hockey left behind the flowering fields of Oregon for the tiny town of Hillsdale, New York. The band toured almost non-stop in support of their debut album "Mind Chaos" (2009) and the desolate forests of upstate New York seemed an appropriate place to get away and work on developing new material.
Hockey started as a duo (Ben Keys, Jerm Bass) at The Johnston College in Redlands, California in 2002. After stints in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Spokane, the band eventually landed in Portland, OR. In the summer of 2008 they embarked on a quixotic tour of the West in a converted van running on vegetable oil. Despite serious car trouble, the tour was a success. On the road, the band caught the attention of influential BBC radio host, Zane Lowe. After a few spins and a spot as "Reaction Record of the Week" for song 'Song Away', the band signed to Capitol/Virgin/EMI and things began to soar. Over the next two years, the group toured worldwide, focusing heavily on their large influence in the UK. After appearances on 'Later with Jools Holland', 'Live from Abbey Road Studios', and 'Late Night with Jimmy Fallon', Hockey booked gigs with Friendly Fires, Passion Pit and Phoenix, as well as headline tours in the US, UK, Europe and Japan. Festival spots for 2009 and 2010 included: Glastonbury, Reading, Leeds, Islie of White, Peace and Love, Hove, Eurocannes, Laneway, Bonaroo, Coachella and Lollapalooza. In Aug 2010, following the many tours and the subsequent breakup of their live band, Ben and Jerm decided to head east and start work on their next record.
Arriving upstate, the band set out on what was ostensibly a short time in the woods, to get away, write, and think. The result was twenty two months of creating and recording what eventually became the band's sophomore effort, "Wyeth IS". Using vintage keyboards and drum machines made famous by 80's hip hop, as well as a "half time" technique which resulted in a deeper, more lush sound, the band began to re-imagine themselves, to evolve, and mature. Under considerable pressure from Label and Management about "hits" (a la Song Away) the duo eventually parted ways with both, freeing them to follow a new path. During this time the band almost changed their name. But they ultimately stuck with Hockey, while Ben replaced his last name, Grubin, with his middle name Wyeth.
After months of breakthroughs and defeats, Ben and Jerm whittled the work down fromover fifty demos to a final eleven songs. From the broad, universal perspective of "Wild Style" to the self reflective triumph of "Thought I was Changing", Hockey created an album about change, resilience and authenticity. This is the record they found in the woods, after they took the time to look...