Foster The People Is Back & They Will Draw You A ‘Weird Elephant’ Tattoo If You Ask Nicely

There isn't a person on this planet who doesn't know the words to Foster the People's 'Pumped Up Kicks,' and the band's new album will have you bopping just as hard. Here, they share some wild fan stories from this tour!

Foster The People Interview
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Image Credit: Gabriella Ginsberg

Remember when Taylor Swift and Zac Efron denied dating rumors by performing a parody of Foster the People‘s hit “Pumped Up Kicks” on The Ellen DeGeneres Show? Well, the band’s new album Sacred Hearts Club is full of bangers that are ready to become just as much a part of the zeitgeist. I caught up with Mark Foster, Sean Cimino, Isom Innis and Mark Pontius at The Meadows Festival in NYC.

How is the tour going so far?
Mark Foster: Best tour we’ve ever had.
Isom: We started this run in Seattle. I’m a huge Twin Peaks fan, and we went to the Salish Lodge. That was a good start.

This is selfish, but outside of this festival, you haven’t headlined NYC yet. Can we expect more dates?
Mark F: For sure. We haven’t played New York or the West Coast too much. There are a couple major places we still need to hit.

What’s your favorite song to play live right now?
Mark F: “Loyal Like Sid & Nancy.”
Sean: “Sid & Nancy” for me, too.
Isom: I’ve been loving “Sit Next To Me,” it’s been feeling so good.

That’s my personal favorite from this record. Has there been a fan favorite lately that you didn’t see coming?
Mark F: When we started this tour, after every show we’d say “hi” to fans outside the bus, and they were all asking for “Ruby,” which is a song we never really put out. It really only came out as a 7-inch, so it’s kind of a weird but amazing thing that people are asking for it. We started playing it a couple shows ago. We brought that one back.

Do you guys have a backstage ritual?
Isom: We congregate in the dressing room and make a playlist together. We listen to Joy Divison; New Order. Kick back some drinks.
Mark P: This tour, before the show starts, we’ve been playing the North By Northwest soundtrack by Bernard Herrmann. He’s been an influence on this record.

What’s the weirdest or most unique venue you’ve played?
Mark F: We played in an old bunker in Hamburg. They’ve reappropriated it to be a music venue, which is amazing. But you’re in this place with 8-foot thick concrete walls! You don’t wanna get locked in there. Playing a show there was heavy, but it’s beautiful that they didn’t just knock the building down.

You guys change it up sometimes when you play live. Have you ever wished you could have recorded a song differently?
Mark F: All of them. [All laugh] After putting out a record, like a year later and we’ve been getting into the DNA of those songs and letting parts breathe and cut things down, I always wish we could just go back and record that record at the end of a tour. It doesn’t work like that!

So would you ever release alternate versions of songs?
Mark F: Yeah, and we have done stuff like that. It comes up every once in a while.
Isom: We did all of Torches acoustically for the Live at Bridge School Benefit Concert in 2012. We made it as orchestral as we could.

That sounds awesome. Have you had a memorable gesture from a fan recently?
Mark F: A fan came up to me a few days ago, and she asked me to sign her arm so she could get a tattoo of it. I drew a picture of the only thing I’ve sworn I’ll do for a tattoo — it’s the elephant angel of darkness, which is a weird elephant that’s been around in the band for a while. I saw yesterday on Twitter that she got it tatted the next day.

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Amazing. Has there been a celebrity fan of your band?
Mark F: Batman, who walks on Hollywood Boulevard. West Coast Batman. Maybe it was Christian Bale, preparing for the role of Batman?

Finally, what’s your advice to humanity?
Mark P: Gotta love each other better.
Isom: Take care of each other.
Sean: Be selfless.
Mark F: My friend is a painter and he’s been doing this skeleton series. He said this morning that a skeleton is one of the most unifying things in humanity. It made me really think, because when you look at a skeleton, you don’t see skin color or whether it’s male or female or what religion. At the end of the day, you can line up skeletons from different times and they’re all humans that walk this planet and live their lives. You can’t make a judgment on it. It was like, damn. Damn, Colin Blades.

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