Foster the People

Foster The People got together in LA less than a year ago. The band’s songwriter and front man, Mark Foster, had been doing solo acoustic gigs, but the songs he was writing needed some full band power. Everything clicked when he found drummer Mark Pontius and bass man Cubbie Fink. The first song they put up on their website, “Pumped Up Kicks,” was a sinister pop ditty with a bright, bouncy beat. It went viral on the Internet and a few months after their debut gig at LA’s Viper Room, the band was signed by Startime, home of Peter Bjorn and John.

Can you give us a brief history of the band?
We’ll be together a year in October. I was a solo acoustic artist, but writing songs with parts that I needed a band to play—guitars, electronics, odd rhythms. It took three and a half years to find the right guys, but when we started jamming, things clicked. Three months later, “Pumped Up Kicks” took off.

“Kicks” made you an overnight sensation.
Yeah! I wrote and produced “Kicks” in three hours. It came out of nowhere. A week later it was on our website as a free download. The first week it was downloaded about 200 times a day. In a month, it was up to thousands a day. It was hard to keep up with the momentum. We stopped giving it away, after we put it out on vinyl. Labels started reaching out and we felt like Startime was the best fit. They understood what we wanted to do. We should have an album out in spring of 2011.

Have you always wanted to be a musician?
Growing up I played drums, guitar, keyboards, and sang in the Cleveland Children’s Choir. I was an only child and music was something I could do alone to let off steam. I was in a hardcore metal/punk band when I was a teen going through an angst phase, but I’d never considered making music my life. I graduated from high school not knowing what I’d do next. My dad said, “Why don’t you move to LA and pursue music? If it doesn’t work out, you’re still young and you can try something else.” A light bulb went off in my head, and I came to LA.

You were picked as one of the bands to watch in 2011 by Britain’s New Musical Express.
I don’t know how they even heard of us. It was our first interview and very flattering.

– J. Poet