When was the last time you heard Foster The People's Pumped Up Kicks? Well such as been the band's year, the chance are whether you realise it or not it's probably playing somewhere in the world right now. To find out how 2011 was for them, plus get the low down on their new, "action packed" video for Don't Stop (below), we caught up with main man Mark Foster.
Hi Mark, How the devil are you? "I'm doing good, how are you doing?"
Not bad thanks, where in the world are you currently? "We've just pulled into Stockholm, we're still touring hard. It's our first proper European tour and it's been great. They're probably some of the most fun shows we've played all year. We played the US three times, Australia a couple of times, but this is the first time in Europe and it's invigorating to playing in cities you've never been to before, in front of fans who've never seen you play before. It's a whole new thing, all over again."
It's strange to think people are seeing you for the first time, you seem to have at least part owned 2011... "It's been a great year for us. We started out not having released any music, not able to sell the smallest venues in LA and things are drastically different now. It's been a steep hill. The first four or five months were a really steep climb, a lot was expected of us and it was one those moments where we all looked at each other and went, This is our chance, we can put our heads down and work really hard or we can let the wave pass us by. There were a lot of nervewracking first experiences, incredible first experiences and a lot of times we were doing the same thing!"
So how does where you are now, compared with where you dared to dream you would be? "It's hard to say. I didn't have a clear picture of what this year would look like. I feel like we've exceeded what I thought we would do, but at the same time this is just the beginning and I look at it that way too. It's just the first record, so for me I'm not getting caught up in the moment but looking forward to see what we're going to do next. There's a lot of bands that blow up quickly, but then they die quickly. Longevity is the healthy thing, that's the pursuit."
You songs seemed to take on a life of their own this year, the number of times we've heard Pumped Up Kicks randomly is probably into the hundreds. As the person who wrote those songs, how does that make you feel? "[cagily] It's validating... [laughs]"
Well look at it this way, there was a phase at the start of the football season this year where you couldn't watch a match without Pumped Up Kicks being used in a montage... "Oh yeah? I didn't know that. That's awesome! It's hard to keep up with a lot of European football, but I'm a fan. I grew up playing it and it's growing over there [in the US]."
Who's your team? "Tottenham. I've always liked the way they play football and they've always been the underdogs. They're a team that raises from the ground up and they play a really smooth style of football, a lot of finesse not just brute strength. I got to go to a game first time I was in London. We were recording with [producer] Paul Epworth for the record and we went to a Hotspurs game. He's a fan too."
You've just released a new video for Don't Stop, it's pretty action packed... "It was really fun to shoot. It was in 3D and we shot it with Gabourey Sidibe who was the lead actress in [2009 film] Precious. We're all in disguises and there are lots of high speed car chases between cops and robbers through this town. It's full of stunts and high action."
Did 3D make a difference? "It made it different in terms how long it took to set up each shot. There's a lot of math involved. So bit of were tedious but it was fun, man, we got to do a lot of our own stunts. I leaned out of the window of a car backwards going at 40 with a crane 40 feet above me. It looks like my head is six inches away from the ground. We got to have a lot of fun."
Just what you dream about when you're stuck in a dingy rehearsal room... "Exactly! [laughs]"
Have you had a chance to think about next year yet? "Yeah definitely. I've been writing as much as I can to get a head start on the next record on tour. It's difficult, but we're all talking about how we can approach it differently. The focus is going to be the second album, and touring next year will be fun. We're playing places like Hawaii and South America, I'm looking forward to that. It's going to a blast."
And looking ahead to the summer, having done the small slots this year you must be eyeing some decent spots at the festivals? "Yeah! Hopefully we can get some later slots with the sun setting."
Finally , what are you doing for New Year's Eve? "Er man, I'm going to be in Thailand, I think. I'm going to chill out!" Paul Stokes @Stokesie
Head to Fosterthepeople.com for more on the band.