Pensacola, Florida
Thursday December 14th 2017

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A Decade of STRFKR

By Shelby Nalepa

On the heels of releasing their fourth album “Being No One, Going Nowhere,” STRFKR is arguably someone, and they’re definitely going somewhere.

STRFKR, which includes founder Joshua Hodges along with drummer Keil Corcoran and bassist Shawn Glassford, formed in 2007 in Portland, Oregon. When Hodges initially started STRFKR, he said that it was designed to be success-proof. The name was both unfit for radio and a jab at fame-chasers. But the true STRFKR staple—dark or heavy lyrics set to happy music—couldn’t keep success away forever.

These days, the trio is on tour with a live setup that includes a custom-made LED wall, and a homemade light show that syncs with the rhythm of the songs (also the occasional crowd-surfing astronaut and band-in-drag).

Hodges created their newest record in the desert of Joshua Tree California, and Inweekly got to chat with him about his enlightening experience at a BDSM club and how that inspired the album.

STRFKR is also about to release Vol. 2 of its Vault Series, the second installment of rare, previously unreleased, recordings that up until now have never been heard by anyone except the band.

Rescued from Hodges’ dying computer, some of these songs were written for STRFKR albums, some were written as early as 2007 or in-between, but they all played a role and influenced what has been released under their name.

INWEEKLY: Where did the title for your album “Being No One, Going Nowhere” come from?
JOSHUA HODGES: The name has a double meaning. There’s a book called being “Being Nobody, Going Nowhere” by this Buddhist nun named Ayya Khema. It’s about how trying to become someone in life can sometimes cause a lot of suffering. For example, a school shooter that does it to become famous or how reality TV is kind of gross and embarrassing. I liked that idea in the sense that being alive is good enough without having to jump on a hamster wheel of trying to prove yourself. The other side to it is based on a personal experience I had at a BDSM club. I kind of ended up there and it was a really cool experience. There were all different body types, gay, straight, etc. and everyone had really healthy boundaries. I realized that the appeal is letting go of your mind and stress. You can be super present with the pain, and then the pain isn’t even pain. It’s a gateway to freedom. There was also no shame at all. There’s such shame around sex, and there shouldn’t be. It’s such a natural element that’s being taken away in our culture. So having that sexual experience was super inspiring, and half of the songs are about it.

INWEEKLY: This year marks STRFKR’s 10-year band anniversary. Does it feel like it’s been that long?
HODGES: I’ve spent more time with these guys than anyone, including my parents or anyone I’ve ever dated. We eat dinner together, and we all share everything. It’s cool now, and it works well. We all have respect for each other after doing this for so long. I do feel lucky. We have figured out how to work well with each other and not drive each other crazy.

INWEEKLY: Do you enjoy being on tour?
HODGES: It’s hard being away from friends and family. It was fun in the beginning. Most of those places I had never been. But it’s not a healthy life. You’re not in control of what you’re eating, and alcohol is always available. One thing that I started doing that makes it a little better is running. We were on this crappy tour lost in this weird town in France, and if I hadn’t had been running, the tour would have been a living nightmare.

INWEEKLY: Can you tell me a bit more about the Vault Series you’re releasing?
HODGES: It’s an ongoing series with three volumes. The second volume is coming out really soon. I write a lot, so I took all the demos I never used and put them together. I thought it would be really interesting to release some old songs that I was never going to do anything with. It’s about 80 songs. I thought it was worth putting them out. Hopefully, some people will appreciate them.

INWEEKLY: You dress up in drag at your shows and feature drag queens in a recent music video. How did you get interested in drag?
HODGES: I grew up around drag. My uncle is a Liza Minnelli impersonator. I spent my 21st birthday at a drag bar. At our shows we just want people to feel ok to be silly, to dance or not to dance even. I’ll usually dress up. We collaborate on the design and lighting at our live shows and have some weird costumes and dancers. It’s changing every night.

INWEEKLY: What’s in the future for STRFKR? Working on any personal projects?
HODGES: We’re working on a live album currently. Personally, I’m working on a bunch of other random stuff, including an R&B album, and I’ve finished an ambient record for my girlfriend. A few years ago when we first met, we wanted to take mushrooms and wanted to find music to listen to while we were taking them but couldn’t find what we wanted. The droney stuff can feel a bit dark, and I wanted it to feel good. If you want something done right, why not do it yourself? I made it as a gift for my girlfriend.

STRFKR
WHAT: STRFKR with Reptaliens
WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday, July 7
WHERE: Vinyl Music Hall, 2 S. Palafox
COST: $18—$21
DETAILS: vinylmusichall.com