Smile Politely

Talking about a decade-long dream with STRFKR

Despite the unconventional name unfit for radio and television broadcast, STRFKR’s anti-fame goal has landed them a spot pushing the limits on the indie rock music frontier. The electronically-infused four piece is bringing their catchy sounds for a passion fueled show to Foellinger this Thursday.

STRFKR’s success is owed to their non-stop production of unique pop melodies that redefine the guidelines set by stereotypical indie-rock bands. The band attracted international media attention after their breakthrough in the electrona-pop scene in 2007.

Originally created as a solo project, frontman Joshua Hodges said his inspiration for this unique genre stems from his own life.

“Sometimes I’m writing for a friend, or sometimes I write if I have an idea, or even a weird feeling that I want to express with sound,” Hodges said. “It’ll be something that I always do even if we stop touring or stop being a band. I’ll still write music, it’s just something that I do.”

From their hits “Rawnald Gregory Erickson the Second” to “When I’m Alive”, the band has secured their beats in commercials for Target, and on the film adaptation of The Fault in Our Stars original soundtrack.

Although Hodges solely created the sounds of the up and coming band, it has since developed into a powerhouse of upbeat pop melodies. Slowly, the group formed with four people passionate about making music and having fun.

“I feel lucky to be able to do music for a living, even if it doesn’t last very long,” Hodges said. “It’s pretty cool to be able to do this for any amount of time.”

The Portland native rounded out the rest of the band composed of guitarist Patrick Morris, bassist Shawn Glassford, and drummer Keil Corcoran to start producing music.

Photo by Cara Robbins

The eccentric moniker stems from Hodges’ experiences in the status-hungry music industry. Emerged in a scene with people who yearned for fame, including one who bragged about being a “starfucker,” he decided to take a comical approach on the situation.

“Well, the name started as joke a long time ago,” Hodges said. “At the time, the project was just very small, no one knew what it was. It was just me playing house shows basically, and it formed as my way of making fun of the music industry. But we did face some setbacks like having our posters ripped down and parents writing angry letters.”

The four piece from Oregon debuted their first self-titled LP in 2008, which featured their most popular song “Rawnald Gregory Erickson the Second,” as well as other melancholic tracks like “Isabella of Castille” and “German Love.”

Hodges said the 10-year anniversary of STRFKR’s debut album is completely unreal. The band has planned to pay tribute to fans that followed them since the beginning.

“It’s pretty crazy, isn’t it?” Hodges said. “We’re going to do a tour this year where we just play the whole album all the way through at small clubs where we played at during the very first tour.”

After their first release, STRFKR produced nine albums, three of which were in 2017 via their Vault series, all released by Polyvinyl. The band defies all rule of consistency with refreshing sounds of infectious rhythms that makes their music irresistible.

Their latest album, Vault Vol. 3 (following Vault Vol. 1 and 2), builds on this contradiction with unpolished tunes, bringing an innovative perception to the indie rock scene.

“The albums [Vault Vol. 1, 2 and 3] are just a collection of demos that I didn’t finish that basically were just going to never be heard,” Hodges said. “And I was like ‘Whoa, it’d be better to put them out,’ even if it was just a few people who appreciated it, it’s better than nobody. And I think most people understand that they’re unfinished.”

STRFKR lives up to their ubeat and atypical style by putting on high-energy shows that include astronaut back up dancers and raining balloons. However, Hodges said the band has a few limitations for the show in Foellinger Auditorium.

“Generally, we do that to cultivate a really fun vibe at the shows,” Hodges said. “With this show, we just have to fly-in so we’re really limited. We can only bring ourselves and our equipment so it’s going to be a stripped down show, but we’ll do what we can.”

Combined with folk, rock, disco and psychedelic influences, STRFKR’s exhilarating tracks and extraordinary performances are enough to attract any music fan. 

STRFKR performs on Thursday, April 5th at Foellinger Auditorium. Tickets are $12 for students and $16 for general public, and the show starts at 7:30 p.m.

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