Keil Corcoran talks STRFKR and his musical coming of age in Vegas
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Portland-cum-Los Angeles band STRFKR has a lot of celebrate when its bus drives into Las Vegas this week. The band will have just completed its late-spring tour, which introduced new visual components, as well as this year’s Miracle Mile, on which vocalist/instrumentalist Josh Hodges invited his bandmates to join the writing process for the first time.
It also will serve as a homecoming for singer/drummer/keyboardist Keil Corcoran, who served time in several local bands before moving to the Pacific Northwest — including Flaspar, an indie act of great renown from the late 1990s to the mid 2000s. Though STRFKR played here last year, at The Royal’s Pastel Project, it returns for its first headlining show in almost exactly four years.
How does the LED wall add to the vibe? And does it affect the band’s performance in any way?
Keil Corcoran: Yeah, I think it makes it more immersive, and since [it’s been] incorporated, it makes the kids go a little more nuts. I like it. It increases the impact of the songs a little more. It definitely makes it more fun, too. We see the crowd energy, they get more pumped, and then we get more pumped.
Did the new collaborative process for Miracle Mile make you a different band at all?
Yeah. [Guitarist] Patrick [Morris] just joined a year ago, so definitely he feels more integrated. We all feel more integrated. It’s definitely a good feeling [with regard to] the creative process.
Why did you move to L.A., and did that affect the band dynamic?
We all live in L.A. now. We primarily moved for the weather. Once I got to L.A., I got way more productive, and I think we all did. It didn’t really affect [us]. We just fly to meet one another. Patrick was living in San Luis Obispo, Josh and [multi-instrumentalist] Shaun [Glassford] in Portland — for a lot of that, Josh was just traveling — and I was living in L.A. We just meet up pretty regularly.
I remember Beans, formerly of Afghan Raiders, telling me he was working on a new musical project, but he didn’t say it was with you. Can you tell us anything about your collaboration?
It’s kind on in the early stages; we’re sending files back and forth. It’s probably going to be dance music. We’ve got four or five songs. I’m hoping to get some of that done before we go back on tour.
Were you ever surprised by the response Flaspar got in a developing music scene like the one in Las Vegas?
I thought the band was pretty good, so I wasn’t super-surprised. I was always a fan of how Cody [Brant] wrote, and we started collaborating. It was good. I wish we could have done more with it, a shame it ended it when it did. We had a lot of fun while we were doing it.
Besides Flaspar, you were affiliated with Weirding Way and Vulcans, which were more aggressive than STRFKR. Do you ever go back to that kind of music in the creative process, and if so, what’s your outlet for it?
Mainly I just like to play fast drums, that’s why I played in punk and metal bands; it’s fun. I played some grindcore drums in a band in L.A. just for fun a couple weeks ago. When I write stuff, it’s mostly post-punk or kind of industrial stuff.
What compelled you to open your former gallery, The Louvre, and do you do anything with the visual arts today?
I still illustrate. I was a web developer for a long time so I’m all into computer programming. I started The Louvre because there wasn’t a place to throw shows. It was a front for a weird venue; there wasn’t a whole lot of artwork in there.
You also used to live in the Huntridge neighborhood. They’ve just started a crowd-funding operation to revive the place, to make it, among other things, an all-ages venue again. Did you have any personal connection to that place?
Oh, yeah, for sure. I used to go to shows there every week. I used to live on the west side, off Charleston and Buffalo, and I took the bus to The Huntridge pretty much every week. I saw a lot of really cool shows there. I saw when the roof collapsed, and The Circle Jerks [had to play] the parking lot. I hope they reopen it. It was pretty much the only all-ages venue that ever sustained in Vegas, and Vegas needs that, for sure.
What about your time in Las Vegas do you feel had the most impact or influence on your evolution as a musician?
I liked how there were no places to play, no all-ages shows, so as a kid growing up, we played house and desert shows and a string of record shops. … We did everything ourselves because there were no all-ages shows. I don’t think a lot of towns had that. It was a positive thing.
With Wampire and Feelings. Thursday, June 13, 9 p.m.; Beauty Bar, 519 Fremont St., www.thebeautybar.com, $15. DJ set: Friday, June 14, 10 p.m.; Velveteen Rabbit, 1218 Main St., 685-9645, free.