Attending a concert for a band where your song exposure is limited to one is a risky night out. It can be a bit like opening a present. You don't know entirely what will be inside, you just know it's supposed to be something good. I opened that present Sunday evening, April the 10th 2011. This would be the break out year for Foster the People.
With press pass privilege, being inches from the band, it was a raw power overload. It all started with cliché low light. The buzz of a sustained synth cord was struck and five bouncing bodies began to draw energy from the crowd. This was going to be good.
Maybe it was the excitement of the band soon being bound for England; I think however it was the from the small tight stage and close proximity of their audience at Kung Fu Necktie, but Foster the People bounced their energetic beat right out into the audience and back this night of April 10th 2011. It was like turning on a light-bulb in an empty room. Everyone walked into it blindly without an idea of what they would experience when the light came on. The light did come exposing a great groove and band that will build a huge following.
Foster The People On Tour
BIO: Foster the People
We just want people to feel better about their lives.Â
Mark Fosters mission statement for Foster the People is awfully simplistic on first glance. Its striking how profound it is in its honesty and rarity. Too often, indie rock is every bit as exclusive and beholden to judgment as the jock culture to which it's supposed to serve as an alternative. So it's not surprising that the upbeat band of friends from Los Angeles still feel like outsiders for having such an all-inclusive philosophy they do not want to be the hippest band out there, just your favorite. Luckily, their effortlessly cool soundtrack for your eternal summer is likely to accomplish that task.
As a teen approaching high school graduation in his hometown of Cleveland, OH, Foster had no idea where he wanted life to take him. It would be easy to say that he reached a crossroads, but that would imply a clearly dictated path one way or the other. Despite experimenting in a number of bands, none of these attempts pushed Foster to pursuing music seriously. It was a staggeringly honest piece of advice from Fosters father that set everything into motion. Having witnessed his six-year old son at his happiest after buying him a Beach Boys cassette as a gift, he realized all along where Marks true passion lied. Go out to Los Angeles, he said. Try it for a year or so, and if it doesn't work out, you're still young and have options.Â
With only a few contacts and a high school diploma, the 18-year olds complete freedom inevitably led to total chaos. He would stay at Hollywood flophouses where Armenian gangsters and a pimp named Pockets were frequent visitors. Mark worked a slew of odd jobs so repetitive and thankless that his fondest memories are from delivering pizza. He'd subsist on a single 7-11 hot dog per day. Foster never lost sight of his original goal. A year later, to help transition from fan to songwriter, he relearned the piano after 15 years of dormancy and purchased rudimentary tools for self-production a simple PC, Cubase software and a MIDI controller. For inspiration, he looked to New Order, Joy Division and David Bowie, legends of synth-pop and post-punk for inspiration.
Four and a half years later, he found himself much like he did in back in Cleveland “ rudderless, burned out, and stuck in a situation where anything could happen, but nothing ever did. Though fiercely independent his whole life, he was also wise enough to realize his limitations, and sought collaborations to flesh out his vision: to bring clarity to songs that pulled from pop music in all its iterations. In a city as expansive as Los Angeles, where the musical community is incestuous and everyone is committed to more than one band, Foster was lucky enough to link up with bassist Cubbie Fink and drummer Mark Pontius. It was right about this time that Foster says the vibe just felt right. This is probably because each member contributes a complimentary aspect clear to the outsider: Foster as the artistic engine, Fink the emotional glue, and Pontius as the logical and calculated steadying hand.
The addition of Fink and Pontius was crucial to the bands direction. Without them, Fosters artistic compass was spinning wildly, a bemused combination of all of his prior interests. Shortly after joining forces in October of 2009, the trio played their first show at the Dakota Lounge in Santa Monica for a crowd of about 30 friends. A humble beginning, but one that made each band member realize they had something real, something to focus on.
As magical as their first show was, it paled in comparison to the buzz garnered around their first single, Pumped Up Kicks, which at first, was only offered on their website. Then, a friend working at NYLON Magazine asked to use the single in an internet campaign for fashion mogul Anna Sui. A mere month after it became available to the public, the February 10 issue of BlackBook made a bold statement, saying Foster The People had created the song of next summer. Regardless of the season, the point was clear: Foster The People had a hit on their hands.
The band had the world's attention and they made the most of it. Word of their super catchyÂ (KCRW) music spread in a manner that was shockingly quick even in the age of endless internet churn. This wasn't a case of a couple of blogs hollering in an echo chamber: The Guardian called Pumped Up KicksÂ an alternative anthem while being equally wowed with the diversity of their other tracks. Likewise the mighty NME named them their Radar Band Of The Week in June, and the reception back at home in the U.S. was every bit as rapturous, from Radar to MTV, everyone agreed on one thing: this was a band on the cusp of an undeniable breakthrough.
Plenty of artists have buckled under the weight of such hype, but what keeps the band focused is the music itself, which Foster describes as if Brian Wilson and Aphex Twin had a man baby.Â Hes only sort of kidding, as its precise to say that the complexity of the electronic trickery never overshadows the classicist and ecstatic pop songwriting.
The bands brazen pop sensibilities shine on the trios debut self-tilted EP. Pumped Up Kicks,Â leading the pack with its true infectious nature, is a sing-along set to a steady beat and bouncing bass line, followed by Helena Beat a track that showcases the bands edgier, synth-indulgent side. Rounding out the EP is a track named Houdini,Â a piano laced, euphonic jam that begs to be played on repeat with its buoyant melodies and bouncy beats.
Foster the People isn't just a pun on its singers last name. It's a manifesto from a band that values the communal happiness of the listener over anything else.
Kung Fu Neck Tie: 1248 North Front Street Philadelphia PA (215) 291-4919