Pumped-Up Hits

A chat with indie popsters Foster the People about reaching No. 1 and why returning to Vegas is sweeter this time around

Since leaving their mark in March with four energetic nights at Cosmopolitan’s Book & Stage, the Los Angeles-based Foster the People have rocketed to stardom. They released their debut album, Torches, in May, and it quickly reached No. 8 on the Billboard 200 with “Pumped Up Kicks” No. 1 on the Rock Songs chart. They played in front of their largest crowd—25,000 screaming fans at Lollapalooza. They recorded a session at Abbey Road Studios and sold out nearly every show while touring the United States and Australia. “Pumped Up Kicks” propelled their rise to fame, but you may also recognize their song “Color on the Walls (Don’t Stop)” from the new Nissan commercial. As fall sets in, prepare for a dance party under the neon glow of the Strip as Foster the People return for a headlining show at the Boulevard Pool. We caught up with drummer Mark Pontius on the road to preview the upcoming show and find out just how fast the band has been running since we saw them last.

What have the last several months been like?

I’d have to write a novel. We haven’t really had that many days off, but it’s been great to be that busy. It’s been awesome that people want us in all these places. It’s been really awesome.

The ever-popular “Pumped Up Kicks” is how many know you. Is there a point where you say, “Enough, we are more than just one song?”

For us, “Pumped Up Kicks” is something we released to the Internet a long time ago, at the beginning of 2010, so we still love that song to death, but there is a lot more to the record we want to share with people. And the videos we did for those other songs are actually really great. We are super excited to have those come out.

What is it like to suddenly perform at all the “it” festivals?

The cool thing about festivals is that you’re always going to have people coming to the show who don’t necessarily know who you are. We love that. We love being the underdog; we love trying to prove ourselves to people who don’t know about us. Lollapalooza was our biggest audience ever, and I don’t think I’ll ever lose that image in my head, walking out and seeing that many people—it’s amazing. It was so fun and definitely a monumental moment for us.

You played four nights at Book & Stage in March. How was that?

It was super rad. It was our first residency that we had done outside L.A. We walked out and didn’t know what to expect. The fact that it had a little like catwalk over the bar was so cool. I think Mark Foster was intrigued by that, be able to ham that up and be a lead singer over the bar.

At the time you only had a three-song EP out, and yet the crowds were great. What built this following?

The Internet has been a huge catalyst in our success. In general, we’ve had such a great fan base on the Internet that they dig in deep and want to find more.

What can fans expect at the show?

I think our main goal when we are playing live is to have a dance party. There is a lot of energy onstage. We are very percussive, so we try to bring a lot of energy and bring the house down. Expect some good dance music and a good time.

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