The past 12 months have been pretty amazing for the three dudes of L.A.'s Foster the People. Fueled by the success of their breakout single, "Pumped Up Kicks," the band has performed on every late night talk show imaginable, played major festivals on several continents and have seen their debut album, Torches, go gold and platinum around the world. Needless to say, we were grateful to score a few minutes of drummer Mark Pontius' time, who, despite his hectic schedule, seemed more than happy to chat about the band's debut -- and their amazing year. But before Foster the People begin making a new album, the band will make one more stop in Seattle, at the WaMu Theater on June 26th. Here's what Pontius told us:
Your Tumblr reads like this incredible tour diary, with postcards from cities all around the world. Where have you been and what were some favorite spots? We've been everywhere. We've been to Australia a number of times, Asia, South America, around the States three of four times. I think my favorites so far are Dublin or Melbourne. Those are the highlights as far as cities to be in and to play in. The big points for us as a band were things like Glastonbury Festival in Europe. It's such a high-profile festival and we never thought we'd be playing this first year on Torches. And then playing "Saturday Night Live" with Kenny G, that was a huge moment at well. That was probably one of the most nerve-wracking shows that we had to play. When you're on live TV it's a completely different ballgame than when you're playing in front of 5,000 people in a venue. It's a big blur of a year but those are probably the highlights for sure.
Is there anything left on your rock band bucket list? We didn't play on the moon. That would be rad. I think we're all really excited to get in and record our next record and get that under way.
Are you nervous about the sophomore slump? A little bit. But we're in such a good place now. We toured this record for so long and there was much more life in it than we expected and I think that puts us in a place that we're eager to be creative again. A lot of times people get off the road and just want to not do anything, which could put it into a slump, but for us it's been the opposite.
Do you have a favorite song on the album? I think probably "Call It What You Want" is my favorite, both to play live and the recorded version. We recorded that in the U.K. with Paul Epworth and that was kind of our first trip together as a band overseas. There's some kind of magic in that. And we were really excited to be in Europe doing the record. It's got that element to it.
Can you tell me about the cover illustration and who drew it and how it came to life? It was a friend of [singer] Mark Foster's, a guy named Japayork, who's from New York and London and Foster's known him for five or six years and I think always in the back of his mind had the idea of wanting him to illustrate a record at some point. We argued about that artwork forever. I think I was the only one who didn't like it. I love his artwork but I had a different image in my mind for the record cover. But I ended up being happy that I lost the fight because it ended up that the characters on the front became this whole world that we ended up including in our live show and on our merch and our website.
What's the coolest pop culture moment you've experienced for one of your songs? Like maybe an instance you heard a song and weren't expecting to. We were in the U.K. somewhere, and we were at a football game, a soccer game. We had gone as a band, which we try to do, some kind of cultural event and a lot of us our football fans. But we were there and during a time out this video came up on the screen and "Pumped Up Kicks" just blasted the whole arena and none of us expected it to be there. That was a cool moment, to be immersed in someone else's cultural event and have that pop up.
Are you able to stay connected to the things and people you love while spending so much time on the road? I'm not really good at staying up to date with emails and staying in touch that way. It's kind of a bummer. I come back to L.A., where I have a ton of friends, after being gone for five or six months, and you want it to be the same but unfortunately sometimes friendships kind of fall to the wayside. It was a big learning experience in the beginning -- even just trying to stay in touch with my family and things. It's a different game out there trying to keep those relationships going.
And after talking to journalists and fans all day I'm sure the last thing you feel like doing once the show is over is talking more. Exactly, but it's hard to explain that to friends. They're always like, "Dude, you're home! Let's go party." And I'm like, "All I want to do is sit at home in my room by myself and watch a movie and clear my head."