10 minutes with Foster the People

October 09, 2016

American indie pop band Foster the People, known for their wide sonic palette that encompasses a variety of influences performance at Superbalist is Rocking the Daisies was their first show in South Africa. We chatted to members Mark Foster and Mark Pontius and touring members Sean Cimono and Isom Innis about their influences, playing with sound, their next album and found at what they last googled. Read on to find out what they had to say.

You music features a lot of different sounds, can you tell us a bit about what influences your music?
Mark Foster: I think a lot of it comes from just experimenting in the studio. We’re constantly putting things together that don’t normally work and just seeing what happens. Just trying to find some new ground that we’ve never really stood on before.

So you enjoy playing around with sounds you aren’t familiar with?
MF: Yeah, I mean this guy, that’s his whole world. Sean, our guitar player. How many pedals do you have Sean?
Sean Cimono: I have 51, but they don’t all make it to the pedal board. I like to use them because it’s a great palette to work with. You can make some weird sounding shit with them.
MF: The more we can sound like 2001: A Space Odyssey, the better.

There was a 3 year wait between your first and second album, does that mean your third is dropping next year?
MF: We’re on a three year plan right now. We like to keep things in threes. You know the law of threes. It’s a universal thing. It seems to work for us! So that’s the goal. We’re close. That’s what we’ve been working on this year. Hopefully early next year.

What are you guys listening to at the moment?
Mark Pontius: I’ve been on a little bit of an afrobeat trip for probably the last two years, which I feel like our last record kinda got me into it. Mark was down here recording a bit. So yeah, it’s just all across the board with afrobeat, like Tony Allen, I discovered that drummer and it blew my mind. So I’ve been on that path for a bit.
Isom Innis: Paul Simon - Graceland, I grew up on that record so it’s just embed in my musical dna.
MF: I’ve been listening to Courtney Barnett, an Australian songwriter that’s just put out a record this last year that’s really good. Then also Father John Misty, I’m actually repping his shirt right now. I should be an honorable part of his street team.
SC: I’ve stepped from listening to music. I haven’t been itching or longing to listen to music for some reason, I’ve been more loving playing and making sounds.

What was the last thing you googled?
MP: I was supposed to go surf this morning with a buddy and he told me about this break that was really special and I should check it out, so I googled it, looked at the images, saw one wave with a great barrel in it and then the next five pictures were of great white shark attacks that were the most brutal things. So I told my buddy I had a shoulder injury and I couldn’t go surf!
II: “How to beat jet-lag 8 remedies”
SC: The Tumi luggage website! Tumi luggage is my favourite piece of luggage in the world. The make really great suitcases and mine has held up longer than any of these guys’ and I’m not gonna say which one’s they use.
MF: That’s a contested thing actually within the group. Sean decided to go off to break from the crowd of us going with a different company and now he’s basically an honorable rep for Tumi! This is an ad actually, we’re plugging Tumi right now. Reach out to Sean Cimono he’d love to get in touch with you!
II: I just took a fresh portrait of Sean and his wife underneath the Tumi store by the Waterfront!
MF: My last google was “Omo Valley Ethiopia”. I was planning on [heading there] after this trip. Trying to figure it out right now. The situation’s changed a little bit in the last week so we’ll see.​