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Interview

Interview: Keeping In "Torch" With Foster The People

By  January 19, 2012

I have come to the conclusion that Mark Foster, Cubbie Fink and Mark Pontius, a.k.a the guys of Foster the People are riding on hurricanes, or tornadoes. Either way, being catapulted to fame on the back of hit single Pumped Up Kicks has gotten them on a whirlwind tour around the world, and Asia has been glad to bask in their charming presence and psychedelic sound.

On their second last Asian stop here in Singapore, we sat down with bassist and backing vocalist Cubbie Fink to have a talk about the Internet, spicy fried rice and the second album.

For me, it was certainly a delightful experience, being able to actually have a 13 minute conversation with a member of a band I actually really liked. So it was surprising that my nerves dispelled once we sat down and started chatting. It felt more of a laid-back Saturday afternoon high-tea meeting, sans the high-tea scones and Earl Grey. Fink was amiable, but you could tell that he was pretty tired, as he had just flown in from Kuala Lumpur two hours before the interview. Still, he had nothing but kind words for the Lion City, commenting on how beautiful the city looked and how "everyone we've met so far has been nothing but friendly".

Getting down to business, we kicked off the session with a question of comparison. All you Asian fans out there had better be proud, because when asked how different you guys were to the fans back home, he pointed out one significant difference. "It was a pretty well experience I mean to be literally on the other side of the world, having a room full of people singing our songs and the one big difference with the fans here as opposed to home, is they sing really well. They all sing on key, whereas it's more just kind of mumbled grunting (back home) but here they were singing on pitch, it was pretty awesome."

 

With such energetic performances on stage, one wonders what they get up to get themselves in the zone before a show. Fink shares that a lot of times the band have YouTube parties, where they go through a couple of funny, random YouTube videos. If you were thinking something like this, you are far from it. He cited an example, which you can watch over here. He said they found it hilarious, so… go figure!

Photo c/o Chugg Entertainment: Photographer: Aloysius Lim

 

On his thoughts on how Pumped Up Kicks went viral, Fink still expresses disbelief and amazement at how it has all come to this. "For us it worked out really well. We had no idea that the song was gonna viral the way that it did, and it really took us by surprise, but you know it was kind of those perfect scenarios where everything kind of just happened and it literally had a life of its own and it was out of our control."

The last year has also meant quite a lot for FTP, and Fink agrees. "Personally, we've experienced so much I feel like every week felt like a month and month felt like a year." He further added that the past year "was really cool to just be able to gel as musicians on stage and friends off stage. And it's cool to see a year later after spending almost the entire year together that we're closer now and better friends now than we were at the beginning. We were already great friends at the beginning but it's kind of like we've become a family."

Really does make you go awwwwwww, doesn't it?

As for details on the second album, which I admit I was very much interested in, Fink shied away from any concrete details, but mentioned he was hopeful. "Hopefully, can't make any promises… We're going to have a lot more time this year to be able to focus on that. This year's going to be split up between touring and writing so we'll see. It just depends on how creative we can get with the time that we have." 

And if you are expecting something similar to Pumped Up Kicks, you might just be heading in the wrong direction. "I don't think we're gonna try and recreate PUK. I think it's a good song, and it stands on its own but I think we're just more focussed on just creating good music in general and moving forward as a band and progressing as a band. I mean the horror stories of the second album are daunting you know, it's a tough thing to follow up, because you have your whole life to write the first album, and we've got a few months to write the second album, yeah so it's daunting but at the same time we're all excited to see what we're gonna come up with."

Other interesting tidbits that surfaced during the interview included the mention that he had spicy fried rice from the hotel for lunch and it was good, and his favourite song on Torches is I Would Do Anything For You, because Fink had good memories with the first time he heard it from Foster, and also the "good memories in the studio of just collaborating and being creative", reworking the song and "seeing a good song become even better".

As the interview drew to a close, we quizzed him on the band's two Grammy nominations for Best Alternative Album and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. Being the down-to-earth guys that they are, Fink answered, "I don't think any of us expected those nominations…and I don't think any of us are getting too worked up over it. If it happens, it happens, yeah, we'll see."

Boy, have I got my fingers crossed for these talented lads!


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