These days, Mark Foster is bordering on a household name. His aptly-named band Foster The People have leapt to stratospheric levels of radio play off the back of debut single Pumped Up Kicks, an unlikely high school massacre meets infectious dance combo, and ‘Torches’, the album that followed. Most superstars take the slow road to fame, but Foster’s story is harsher than most.
Having left his small-town-Ohio home on the advice of his father to pursue a musical career in Los Angeles, Foster’s early musical attempts were fractious, spent taking his guitar to Hollywood parties to ‘network’ and fostering a drug habit that he confesses made visiting friends cry.
Foster was a skinny wannabe rock star without a band and, quite literally, begging for change to buy food on the streets of LA. Several years later, in a ‘guard down’ moment and shocked at his own achievements, Foster tells NPR that recording a second record took a while to come to terms with. “Shouldn’t I be learning some other art form now that I can spend the rest of my life trying to figure it out,” he asks?
In that context, it’s no surprise that the frontman, still coming to terms with his own success, tells us that the three years that have passed since the release of ‘Torches’ have seen the band undergo some dramatic changes. ‘Supermodel’ reflects Foster’s voyage, not only through the newfound pressure, but the literal act of escaping it all in which Foster sought refuge.
“The thing that nobody ever tells you when you’re writing a second record is that you know that people are going to listen to these songs,” Foster tells GoldenPlec. “There was a certain freedom in writing the first record and not expecting anyone to hear anything I was working on. I really have to try to push the thought of people listening out of the room to be able to write from a free place.
“I think sometimes self-awareness just ruins the creative process, the process of creating something from your heart. It’s like being on a dancefloor and knowing everyone’s watching you dancing. You’re probably going to start dancing poorly. We don’t want to be the awkward guys who sulk in the corner.
“We had to try and take out that self-awareness, as the record’s very introspective, it’s very us. We needed to express ourselves without worrying about what the fans would think and what the critics would think; to block out everyone’s opinion and just make what we wanted to make.”