Spotlight: Foster the People
Mark Foster is in Southern California driving to his next interview. It’s early May and his band Foster the People has not yet released their debut album Torches. I first heard the record’s single “Pumped Up Kicks” in February 2010 when a friend- former band touring member Zach “Reazon” Heiligman- emailed it to me with note saying it was something he worked up with his old summer camp pal from Minnesota.
Foster the People had played their first gig only a month earlier; they formed three months prior to that. Frontman Foster says he had been friends with drummer Mark Pontius and bassist Cubbie Fink for about two or three years a piece. “I had been jamming with [Pontius] and doing avant-garde electronic music,” says Foster, who was also writing hip-hop tracks with Heiligman around that time.
“We spent a lot of time experimenting with different sounds, some of which transcended into the Foster the People project,” Heiligman adds.
Before this, Foster worked as a composer for TV commercials in LA, which he says helped “sharpen my skills as a producer and taught me how to work quickly,” and perhaps informed the catchy lyrics, infectious synths and hook-laden melodies that would later find their way onto Torches.
With the exception of an article early on in BlackBook magazine (Feb. 2010) declaring this same tune to be 2010’s “song of next summer,” the band flew under the radar, virtually unnoticed, for most of last year.
“We were busy working out the details of the live show and balancing all of the attention we were attracting,” says Heiligman, who’s since moved into more of a behind-the-scenes and production role rather than touring in the live setting. “Now, I feel as though the band has grown and evolved into a group of guys that have perfected a way to translate great recordings into phenomenal performances.”
According to Foster, the trio went into the studio this past September and worked on their new record in small bursts for several weeks off and on during a four-to-five month span. Also, this past January, they put out a self-titled 3-song EP.
“I write almost all the songs in the studio and so early demos can sound pretty stagnant,” Foster says in reference to the band’s higher-energy shows. “The guys bring life to the music and grooves that I wouldn’t have thought of myself. We’re all multi-instrumentalists, so I’m moving from piano to guitar to drums, and triggering samples. It’s kind of a dance party.
In honor of Umphrey’s McGee’s return to Summer Camp this weekend, we present the group’s Brendan Bayliss and Jake Cinninger performing this version of “The Pequod” from UM’s Anchor Drops.
Dame shares a song from her new EP Preventions of Heartbreak.
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Cloud Cult share a song from their latest album live at Relix.
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The Milk Carton Kids share the first song from their new album, The Ash & Clay.
Here is the new video from Serbian guitar ace Ana Popovic. “Object Of Obsession” appears on her latest album Can You Stand The Heat.
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