Interview: Foster The People

I had the privilege of sitting down with Foster The People and three other music bloggers/writers on the Saturday of NxNE. While their show during the Festival was not officially part of NxNE, the guys were enjoying Toronto and the festival atmosphere. The band also stayed in the city to present an award at the Much Music Video Awards the next night.

If you’re not familiar with them already, Foster The People quickly garnered attention with their debut EP followed by a full-length perfect for the summer. The Internet really helped these guys grab attention worldwide and one of their frequently used mediums is Twitter. Earlier in the week, the band asked their fans on Twitter:

R E T W E E T We are starting a charity with a focus on youth, music, and building up communities. We need your help to name it! Ideas?

Frontman Mark Foster spoke about what inspired the charity. “It was actually something that we talked about when we first became a band. We were kind of discussing our vision and what we wanted to do. I think a lot of musicians and a lot of bands they just go out and they play music, and enjoy all the benefits of being in a band but don’t do much to give back or help other people. That was something we wanted to do in the beginning. We played for a bunch of charities early on and I think that helped define our vision for us.”

As far as what the charity is about, Foster says, “The plan now is for this fall tour we’re trying to find sponsors to get a bus to follow our bus around to every city and it’s called “The Do Good” bus.”

It turns out drummer Mark Pontius’ sister is actually heading it up. Foster indicates, “She’s going to be basically organizing anyone in the community who wants to volunteer for the day. There’s going to be a project, whether it’s building a house, donating clothes to kids or instruments to a music program… just kind of whatever that city’s needs are. That’s kind of the start of it, but I think that’s going to expand over time.”

It’s an ambitious project, but the band is clearly be passionate about giving back. Known to often interact with their fans on their Twitter, the band sometimes gives out guestlist spots to fans for their sold out shows.

Foster commented on the importance and usefulness of Twitter. “Well, I think it’s really important because it’s the fastest and most direct was to communicate with your fans and there’s no middle man. People can ask questions, there’s interaction and we can get immediate feedback. For instance, when we started the charity thing we asked people for name suggestions…”

Pontius interrupts, “Yeah, it’s so cool how quickly that response is. Twitter is such a great tool.”

“We got, like, 400 name ideas in a day,” Foster adds. While the name hasn’t been officially announced yet, be sure to pay attention to when the band makes their next appearance in your city and get involved!

Shots of choice:
Mark Foster: Cobra Blood (“It’s really popular in Thailand.”)
Mark Pontius has a new favourite – tequila with clamato juice.
Cubbie Fink created a shot, made of tequila and espresso, but it has yet to be named. I suggested he put it on Twitter and that perhaps a fan will name it.

Foster The People, having sold out a show at Lee’s Palace and a show at the Mod Club, is making the jump to a bigger venue the next time they play in Toronto. Catch them on October 1st at the Sound Academy.


Categories: Interviews, NXNE 2011


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