Portland-based synth-pop trio Starfucker is one of those bands you develop a relationship with just listening to over the years. They’re one of those rare bands on the indie scene that you could live off of if their music was converted into a food stuff. And everything they’ve made up this point has been absolutely delicious. Initially formed as frontman Josh Hodges’ solo project, their self-titled debut was released in 2008, with a follow-up Reptilians that was officially released in March of this year. Reptilians remains one of C+A+D’s favorite albums of the year so naturally we jumped at opportunity to interview them. See what Josh had to say:
C+A+D: I’ve noticed a lot of great indie comes from Portland. Is there something in the water or what?
Josh: It rains a lot. So there is a lot of time to spend indoors making music.
C+A+D: I know Ryan Dobrowski of Blind Pilot used to play with you in Sexton Blake. Do you know a lot of other Portland bands? How do you learn from each other?
Josh: Ya, it’s pretty incestuous here. I feel like everybody kind of knows everybody.
C+A+D: How did you guys meet? What music/bands do you usually listen to or get inspiration from?
Josh: We all met different ways. Some of us through what we were just talking about, seeing each other in our different bands and deciding to make music together. We listen to the southern hip hop station on pandora for that motivational vibe.
C+A+D:Your music has a very unique, dreamlike quality. How have you developed your sound over the years?
Josh: I have no idea. I just keep striving to make an album I’m totally happy with. I think I’m getting closer with each one…maybe.
C+A+D: You’ve changed your title several times over the past three years. Who came up with “Starfucker” and what made you settle on that as your official title?
Josh: We didn’t really change it. It’s always been starfucker. That other shit was a prank. I was on tour with another band and some weird LA music “biz” girl who was doing something or other on the tour, with much pride, called herself a starfucker for fucking some old ass famous dude, and it just really stuck with me. It’s impressive what people do to be associated with fame.
C+A+D: You generated a lot of buzz in the press for having an explicative in your title. What do your parents think about the name of your band?
Josh: My mom loves it, but she is a hippy.
C+A+D: You’ve been known to occasionally wear women’s clothing at shows. Is there a particular reason for this or are you simply trying to see how far you can push the envelope?
Josh: we all grew up around it. my uncle is a liza minnelli impersonator at Darcelle’s XV, the longest running female impersonator club in the universe.
C+A+D: What’s your reaction to comparisons made between you and bands like MGMT and Passion Pit?
Josh: I’d rather be compared to my little pony-boy, but what can you do…i like MGMT a lot.
C+A+D: Whose idea was it to include Alan Watts’ philosophical quotes throughout the album? Is there a particular philosophy that drives your music?
Josh: A few years ago I started having these weird reoccurring dreams where Alan Watts was like a guide or friend, trying to free me from the shackles of this strange existence. Every time I’d get close he’d be there encouraging me, saying all I needed to do was let go of everything and basically let my ego die. At the last second, I’d see an ex of mine who I was particularly sexually attached to. I couldn’t help my self, I’d just go there and end up staying in this form. Even though I’m not ready to let go I appreciate his effort.
C+A+D: You guys have been pretty busy touring recently. What’s the best part about being on tour? The worst? Is there a particular show that stands out in your mind as particularly awesome?
Josh: The best part for me is that it feels like recess, like I don’t have to think about the rest of my life. Just music- simple.
C+A+D: What happened at that show where Shawn broke his teeth on the cymbal? Hahah How did you go about taking care of that?
Josh: It was the last show of a really long tour and Shawn and Keil were kicking over all the drums during our last song and a cymbal basically just sliced through his teeth. He was able to find some cheap local place to fix it up for him. his new teeth are better than his old ones.
C+A+D: Do you guys have any big plans or desires for the future? Anywhere you want to be?
Josh: We have the same desire we had when we started out: to travel and play music. So, we hope to be getting over to Europe this fall and anywhere else that will have us. We’d really love to head to South America, Columbia, Brazil.
C+A+D: If you weren’t musicians what would be your career of choice?
Josh: Keil would be a high school teacher, Shawn would probably still be doing something in music, I’d probably be homeless.
C+A+D: If you could only play one of your songs for the rest of your career which would it be and why?
Josh: Haha, wow. Sounds like a torture scenario..like “no exit” or something. That would be really hard to answer. Maybe “Hard smart beta” cause I get to play drums on that one and it’s instrumental so would take longer to induce suicide.
Here’s a video we got of “Hard Smart Beta” from Outside Lands:
C+A+D: Finally: you’re stranded on an island with only one album and one bottle of alcohol. What would you guys choose?
Josh: I’d choose red wine, a big ass box of it if i only get 1, and this awesome mix cd a friend made for me. I know the mix is kind of cheating, but it’s honest.