By Danni Bauer
CALGARY – There are some simple traits that a good person should practice throughout life. One is when you drop off someone at their home, you should wait until they are safe inside before you drive away. Two, if your friend is scared of flying, you better hold their goddamn sweaty hand during the bumps. Three, the most important of them, is to always greet dogs. It’s safe to assume that if you do one of them, you probably do them all.
When STRFKR’s brainchild Joshua Hodges greets three dogs in his passing during our phone interview, we’re fairly confident you’re in good company. This year will mark a decade since the then-26 year old started making music in his basement as a personal outlet, the vessel he named Starfucker, later toning it down to STRFKR.
STRFKR is a Portland-based band who walk the line between indie pop and dance music. They have a knack for bass lines, shiny synth, and hooky vocalisations by Hodges. This is well-evidenced in the band’s hit-making history, and most recently with single “In The End,” taken from their Polyvinyl release Being No One, Going Nowhere. But it wasn’t all sexy good times and free-wheeling for Hodges.
“The [way that the] whole project came about was out of frustration, naming it Starfucker was a ‘fuck you’ to the music industry that I had experienced,” Hodges remembers. To his surprise, he has been able make a career out of doing what he wants creatively and personally. “I didn’t think it would be something that lasted ten months, let alone ten years,” he says.
Hodges knew at a young age he was a creative type. His mother taught him a couple simple chords on the guitar, and he learned a little piano. “When this project started I was working really shitty jobs. All I ever wanted to do was music. I didn’t go to school after high school, I just moved to New York. I was in a couple bands and got hired to do, like, a hired guy to be in a band, be a guitarist and tour for a little bit. But it wasn’t really my own thing and it wasn’t really that great. This project was basically my giving up point, the ‘fuck this.’”
That’s not the end of his story. “I remember when I was able to quit working, and we could actually make money just touring.” Hodges was astounded that he could get by on his creative vehicle, even if wasn’t exactly a plush way to live.
The interesting thing is, we tend to forget how lucky we can be in our own heads when we miss the simplest part of life, like alone time, or waking up in your only bed, or being able to meet a good friend for a random beer at a drop of a dime.
“I still can take it for granted, you know, but [it’s] just like any job when it becomes normal. Touring is kind of fucking hard. I like alone time and there is not much of that on tour. I definitely have to remind myself to appreciate it, still. The brain is naturally narcissistic, the mind is not grateful, so I think you have to trick it to be that way.”
Hodges is fairly modest about the success and growth of STRFKR. “When we first started it was about what I wanted to do live, but after a while, playing the same songs over and over gets kind of repetitive. So it’s changed to be more interactive and fun, to have a good time with our audience.”
With astronaut costumes and band members crowdsurfing on an inflatable flamingo, it’s not a stretch to imagine yourself having a good time at a STRFKR show. Good thing you have the chance to find out for yourself.
STRFKR play the Pyramid Cabaret in Winnipeg on March 17th, Louis’ Pub in Sasktoon on March 18th, The Needle Vinyl Tavern in Edmonton on March 19th, Commonwealth in Calgary on March 20th and The Imperial in Vancouver on March 22nd. Psychic Twin join them for all dates.Calgary, Commonwealth, Edmonton, Louis' Pub, Psychic Twin, Pyramid Cabaret, Saskatoon, STRFKR, The Imperial, The Needle Vinyl Tavern, Vancouver, Winnipeg