A decade after launching indie rock project STRFKR, Joshua Hodges returns to Madison for the first time since releasing his fifth studio album Being No One, Going Nowhere. 

Hodges acknowledged his live performance has changed somewhat since the laser-dominated early days. The changes haven’t been the result of any singular vision of what the show should or shouldn’t look like, but a progression of ideas and technology brought on by band members over time.

Even the onstage dancing, such as the memorable dancing astronauts when the band visited in 2016, is just a matter of who they happen to be traveling with and what they want to do onstage.

“Depending on the group of people we have and if someone has an idea for something new that’s just kind of how it happens,” Hodges said. “Right now we have our own wall and our own lights and dancers.”

With his most recent album, Hodges said he’s had a creative vision from the very start. The newest album needed to mesh well with the dance-fueled energy of STRFKR performances.

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At his house in the Joshua Tree Desert, Hodges said he went about his creative process in his usual way — messing around on instruments until he finds something he likes. In the desert, he can do this easily without having to worry about potentially annoyed neighbors.

Hodges had such a particular vision for the final product that he started from scratch several times after making very significant progress on the album.

“It’s always just me dicking around with something and then building on it … like a beat or a baseline,” Hodges said. “I wanted something that would translate well to the live show but … a lot of the albums aren’t super dancy but that’s the reputation we have because of the live shows.”

In his free time, Hodges said he’s been listening to the drone band Bitchin’ Bajas. It might seem unusual but he doesn’t usually listen to music that sounds similar to his own work.

Podcasts are Hodges’ other preferred method of distraction, especially those on topics such as conspiracy theories and politics. But since the election he hasn’t been able to listen to political podcasts.

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Socially, Hodges said he doesn’t have any particular artists who inspire his work. He does, however, have a cadre of friends who he occasionally confers with, such as one of the members of RAC.

“I have a list of 15 podcasts that I cycle through like comedy ones and Savage Lovecast,” Hodges said.

As far as new material, Hodges said he’s finished recording the live album and is only waiting for the album artwork to wrap up. We can also expect more glimpses into his creative process down the line as he continues his ongoing vault series.

The vault series is a series of unfinished songs he’s written over the past decade that never made the final cut but he is now trying to preserve.

“I went through all these demos that I had … and I decided to release them as is,” Hodges said. “It’s like sharing the process.”