For the last decade, STRFKR has been wowing audiences with their psychedelic tunes. While the name itself may be too raw for some to handle, their music is pure joyous energy bringing together a dedicated fan base that has been supporting the band for years. After their terrific set during Just Like Heaven Music Festival, spacemen founders Josh Hodges and Shawn Glassford landed back on earth to give Quip Magazine a moment of their time.
Vidal Granados: Great set guys! Burning under the bright sun but you pulled it off. Aside from the sun, how are you guys enjoying Just Like Heaven?
Josh Hodges: It’s great! Such a good lineup that “Just Like Heaven” is tailor-made for people of our generation.
Shawn Glassford: Super happy to be here!
VG: You are performing in Washington in the summer. Any other upcoming show dates you can share?
JH: Right now we’re actually finishing up an album so when that’s done then we’ll focus on the next tour. That’ll probably be more for next year 2024.
VG: How I got introduced to you was back in 2018 from my friend. He went to your 10-Year Anniversary show decked out in a full spacesuit and you guys brought him on stage to dance and signed his helmet. Shoutout to Spaceman Sam!
JH: [Laughs] That’s awesome!
SG: I remember him! We did 2 nights at Lincoln Hall in Chicago. They were great!
JH: With our anniversary tour, we did the whole first album then took an intermission before doing a whole other set. Overall a 2-hour show.
VG: I know the name STRFKR has been asked about a lot and I understand it was an inside joke originally. In doing so you took a stance with the name. You guys went by “Pyramids” for a brief moment, but quickly went back to “STRFKR” because you didn’t want to conform your vision.
JH: I had another band I was serious about before this. But then I became disillusioned with even trying to be successful in music. This band (STRFKR) was essentially born out of my giving up. Music became a fucking popularity contest that I didn’t want to be a part of. The way the name became an inside joke was I was on tour as a guitarist for another band and overheard obnoxious industry people bragging saying, “I’m a star fucker!” I thought it was a funny, dumb name that may not be good branding, but whatever.
The music I was making in my basement was for myself. I love to play drums and write songs. That’s how STRFKR came to be really and then it grew. From a few house shows to bigger gigs and working with whoever was down to play with me. I didn’t even know Shawn (Glassford) when he joined the band [Laughs]. I knew his girlfriend beforehand and she mentioned her boyfriend was a good drummer. And I eventually married them years later! Anyways, during that time it didn’t feel like we were in control, things moved so fast. Shawn was motivated and he booked all the shows and it wasn’t a chore, it was a fun experience.
SG: The “Pyramids” name came when we tried to get a manager that claimed certain labels wanted to sign us but didn’t like the name STRFKR. So we changed our name and did a show in England and it didn’t work out, it wasn’t our vision.
JH: I say all this to tell readers, “Listen to your fucking gut!” Every time we deviated from our view because we thought getting a manager or changing our name was a smart move it never felt right. That’s why we said, “Fuck it let’s do whatever we want,” and it usually worked out well.
VG: That’s some high praise Shawn for being the backbone. What was your journey like joining STRFKR?
SG: In the beginning it was self-indulgence. We played however we wanted even to the point where we’d try to annoy people to leave with noise before going into our smoother tunes to make them stay. We did every single show that was offered. Once it picked up though it kind of spiraled out of our control. Then once our fan base was created we felt obligated to do it for the fans and have more serious shows. It took on its own life once things got more real. But there’s a method to the chaos.
JH: It’s the best job I ever had! We’re not qualified to do anything. I was working as a parking lot attendant before this.
SG: [Laughs] I was making lattes, washing dishes, and bussing tables. I can bus a table like nobody’s business!
VG: I enjoyed your latest single “Running Around”. What’s your process for working on a song?
JH: During the pandemic, I got really lazy. I was depressed and uninspired. But then I made myself write a new song every day. “Running Around” came from that batch of songs I had written in that time. The way I write is I fucked around until I like something. I’m not really good at any instrument it’s all about your taste. That song actually I hated everything I was doing until I stumbled onto something that clicked. I was forcing key changes when I didn’t have to. There is another version of “Running Around” that we’ll be putting on the new album next year.
SG: I come in more near the end and give feedback on the track. Josh writes most of the stuff.
JH: Shawn is like the manager. From the very beginning he was booking all the shows and going through my catalog of songs and being helpful on what projects needed fine-tuning. His perspective was important in those early stages. He handles the orders of the album. Shawn and drummer Keil Corcoran will do the lights and stage design for live shows. We all have our different places that we contribute. It’s crazy how well our weird working relationship has continued so long for 12 years.
SG: It’s been 16 years. Since 2007 [laughs]
JH: It’s been 16 years? That’s fucking nuts! [laughs]
VG: As I start to wrap up, Josh you mentioned going through a phase during which you were not inspired to make music. What activities do you do in order to get those creative juices flowing again?
JH: Times when I’ve had writer’s block, I make myself do art I’m not good at. Nothing that has to do with my sense of self or money. I started doing watercolor paintings. There’s something rewarding about the process of being bad at something and doing it anyways. In doing so it’s like being an antenna to attracting good vibes.
SG: I play disc golf that’s my outlet to let off steam. It’s meditative.
VG: Lastly, any further details you guys can give on the future album?
JH: There are about 13ish songs. We’ve had 30 songs we’ve been whittling down from. They’re pretty far along. Hoping to finish up by July, which means we’ll tour and release it by next year.
SG: By January it’ll release hopefully. Figures crossed!
JH: I feel like I don’t really have perspective on it yet since I’ve been working on it so much. That’s why it’s helpful to have Shawn and Keil look at it for feedback. Also, we’re going to have someone else mix it which we don’t normally do. That’ll be good.
SG: Producer Chris Coady, he’s has worked on the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, TV On the Radio, Beach House, and countless other records. He’s awesome. It’s exciting to be working with him.
VG: I look forward to hearing it. Thank you so much for your time guys!
STRFKR by J. Bajsel for Just Like Heaven for Just Like Heaven Music Festival.