Indie electronica group Starfucker (often abbreviated “STRFKR” for those afraid of bad words) turned Speedway Meadow into one giant dance party last weekend with their upbeat, fun, and layered performance on the Twin Peaks stage at Outside Lands. Composed of Joshua Hodges, Shawn Glassford, and Keil Corcoran, Starfucker released their second album Reptilians earlier this year. The cheery and supremely addictive follow-up to their 2008 self-titled debut is one of those rare compilations that you can play forward, backward, shuffled, and never once skip to the next song (in fact, both of their albums have this magical quality).
Principal songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Joshua Hodges spent a few minutes with us discussing the band’s recent trip through San Francisco, life on the road, and what we can expect next.
Photo courtesy of STRFKR/Facebook
Outside Lands was the biggest crowd you’ve ever performed in front of. What was it like playing in front of 15,000 people?
I had no idea what to expect, but it was fun! I was so nervous and in total awe. It was so distracting looking out and seeing so many people. But overall, it was mostly super fun.
Did you get to see any other bands at the festival?
Not really, the three of us left for interviews right after we were done playing. We really wanted to see The Roots, but luckily we got to hang out with them backstage. After it all ended, we all went back to the Polyvinyl office, drank wine, and hung out.
On Twitter, Starfucker tweeted “Oh man, it’s always so hard to leave San Francisco.” Tell me what you love about SF.
San Francisco is just a really unique city. Part of it is the physical design – the architecture, the streets, it’s just a cool feeling. I get instantly nostalgic. We have lots of good friends here, Shawn’s brother lives here, our label is here, and we love all of these people.
Photo courtesy of Tyler Kohlhoff
It’s hard to say. From the beginning, even with the smaller venues, we’ve never had a bad experience here. Our first show was at this really old, awesome gay bar The Eagle (recently closed after 30 years in business), but it was significant because we met Avery there, who became our booking agent. And the Great American Music Hall is so beautiful, I was really blown away.
It really depends on the time of year. If it’s nice out, like now, definitely go down to the (Columbia) river. Portland is a really good brunch city. I love Helser’s. They’ve got these delicious German potato pancakes. Another must is Voodoo Doughnut, it’s famous outside of Portland. San Francisco beats Portland with its coffee, but there’s definitely a lot of good beers in Portland. Although, the beer that I drink most, Lagunitas, is from just outside of San Francisco in Petaluma. Portland is a lot cheaper than SF, and you can get really good food here.
Photo courtesy of STRFKR/Facebook
I saw a photo on your Tumblr page of a cool swimming hole off Highway 101, where was that?
No idea. We drove down through Humboldt County and the redwoods, which was amazing! We had borrowed a van with vinyl seats and it was SO hot. Shawn was driving and we kept seeing swimming holes but he refused to stop because we had no time. Then, we switched and I was driving, and I stopped at the next swimming hole we saw. It was some little spot near tiny Petrolia, CA.
Why did you get pulled over on the way home to Portland?
For speeding! Shawn was driving, thank god. I have so many speeding tickets from the past few months.
You’ve been touring a bunch in the past year; have any crazy travel stories from the road?
In Chicago, we played at this warehouse party. Michael Shannon (from Revolutionary Road and the TV series Boardwalk Empire) ended up being there, apparently he really liked us. I recognized him, and I couldn’t stop staring, I was completely star struck.
Then there was this show in Ithaca, NY where the fire department came and everyone got kicked out. It was a small venue and it was packed! We tried to talk with them and get them to take photos with us, but they weren’t being too cool about it. Overall, I guess our tour has been pretty tame thus far.
What’s been your favorite place you’ve played on tour?
Tokyo. We only got to play one show there. But it would be my favorite city to live in if I could. It would be hard to move to Japan because it’s expensive and I don’t know the language. But culturally, it’s such an interesting city and the people are so nice. It’s a city of 38 million people and you don’t have to worry about theft or safety, people don’t even lock their bikes up.
Photo courtesy of Josh Withers
Since you’ve been on the road so much, do you have any travel tips for the masses?
Get Earbuds, the Skullcandy kind. Then you can fall asleep anywhere without being distracted by people talking all the time. It’s the number one thing I have to have on tour. Some people suggest an eye mask, but a hoodie or hat works as well. Oh yeah, and try to eat healthy. It’s so hard to eat well in the middle of the country. I love to cook, and I definitely crave home-cooked meals. Sometimes I buy those meals you can just add water to and it’s ready to eat.
Sounds like you’ll be ready for a vacation after your touring wraps up! Tell me about your dream trip.
I’m actually going on a dream trip soon! I’m heading to India in October for three weeks. I want to tour around Delhi, up to Darjeeling, and I’m actually staying at a meditation retreat in a Tibetan monastery. I can’t wait! It’s going to be awesome.
What can we expect next from Starfucker – a new album? Another tour? Most importantly, when are you coming back to San Francisco??
I think we’re coming back to San Francisco in January. It’s not booked yet, but that’s the routing we’re working on. We’ll probably be heading to Europe in November and December, then touring through January, February, and into March. Then, I want to go into hiding and work on the new album.
Reptilians album cover courtesy of STRFKR