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June 1, 2024 19 mins
Booker and Stryker catch up with Mark Foster from Foster the People. He talks about the band's long hiatus and what he was doing during that period. He chats about the New single "Lost in Space" and if it's a preview of what's to come with the new album "Empire State of Mind". He also let us know where the most random place he has heard one of his older songs. We appreciate Mark taking the time to hangout with us and wish him the best on the new project!
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Transcript

Episode Transcript

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(00:00):
All right, it's Booker and Strikerwith Mark Foster of Foster the People.

(00:03):
What's happening, buddy, Good tosee you guys. Okay, this is
your first time chatty with dumbbells likeus posts in many years. Yeah,
I'm just curious what you're feeling rightnow. Oh man, Well we were
catching up before. I mean,when was the last time we talked?
Was it like you did something withthe Knocks and during pandemic? Yeah,

(00:25):
its a pandemic one and it wasone of those screen to screen kind of
things, if that counts. Yeah, So this is like our first time
seeing each other in person. Yeahin a long time. Yeah, yes,
yeah, maybe even our last recordmaybe twenty seventeen or something. Wow,
which is so weird to think aboutbecause it's like, you know,
we've got new music coming out now, and the first record was twenty eleven,

(00:47):
so it's like we started in twentyten. So twenty ten to twenty
seventeen was seven years and it's beenseven years since our last LP and so
I've just been like, that's beenIt's been kind of a trip for me
to wrap my head around. It'sjust like a lot of life has happened.
Yeah, yeah, you've been tobe back. Kind of like the
Howard Hughes of music. This guy'sbeen hiding for a hundred my fingernails last

(01:08):
year, I got a manicure justfor you guys. Is you know,
is there a reason why it's beenso long? Is it a creative juices
thing or just is what it is? Well, I mean, you know,
I mean there was a little thingthat happened in twenty twenty that you
know, we were all indoors fora couple of year call but yeah,

(01:30):
I don't know. I think likeI'm always writing songs, I'm always making
music, and it was just kindof like, uh yeah, it was
good to take a beat. Wetoured so much for so many years that
after our last our last tour wasin twenty eighteen, went out with Paramore,
and then you know, twenty twentywe were going to go back out

(01:53):
again, and and then you know, it's home for a while. A
lot of life happened, and andthen over the pandemic kind of with this
new record, that's like when Istarted to really focus in basically twenty twenty
two. We put an EP outin twenty twenty that we still haven't toured

(02:14):
really. We did some will turnshows for the tenth anniversary of Torches,
and that's those are the only showsthat we've really played. Yeah. The
song that we are playing an allninety eight to seven Lost in Space rules,
Oh thank you. Booker and Iheard this a couple weeks ago and
we were like, wait a minute, we got to play this one more

(02:34):
time. Then we were like,we got to go to the disco.
Yeah, and we got our discoof Austar a little bit. So is
the full album? Is that arepresentation of all the songs that are happening
on the full album? Thank you? I mean I would say that the
Yeah, the album started as kindof a case study on almost like a
micro generation of like the mid seventiesto the early eighties. I was us,

(03:00):
I've always liked that music, butkind of when I was home and
you know, didn't have a lotto do, I started I did like
a case study. I was like, I want to figure out what's going
on here? Kind of the prepost drum machine dance music, and that
was really analog and had like likelive players and live instruments, but like

(03:23):
felt that way, so like chicGeorgio Moroder, Yah, George, you
know, like and you know someof the gap bands stuff, like just
a lot of this like it allkind of had swing to it and and
I don't know why I was drawnto it, but I started to make
music kind of after like studying thatand and just focusing on it. And

(03:44):
then over time it just turned intoa Foster the People record. But yeah,
and it was really interesting because Istarted went over to London. It
was a first time traveling after afew years of being home. Called up
my old friend Polypworth, who didour second record and some of our first
record, and I hadn't seen himin a long time, and it was

(04:05):
just like, I'm in town,what are you doing. He's like,
come by the studio and he broughtin Jack Pinnante, who had been a
fan of for a long time butI'd never met. I was like,
let's just make some music for fun. And that was kind of when the
you know, things really started.And ended up camping out there for a
couple months in studio B writing abunch of music. Coming back to LA

(04:30):
and then kind of talking about thatlate seventies kind of era before we went
into East West to like finish therecord. I was lucky enough to hang
out with Nile Rodgers who came overto the house, and you know,
I played him some of the roughstuff that I've been working on, including
Lost in Space before it was finished, which I was a little nervous to

(04:53):
play Lost in Space because I meanI was nervous to play him anything,
but like, but that song inparticular, I mean the guitar that I
was playing on that in the rhythmwas just completely came from him, you
know. So I'm just like,how's he Is he going to be like
honored or is he going to belike you just ripped us off? Yeah?
But what he dick? What dohe say? It was? Wait?

(05:15):
Wait does he start with you?When you you know, you guys
are having conversations, He's checking itout, Like what's his vibe? His
ViBe's amazing, Like he's he's likea really special person. And I learned
a lot just in three hours talkingto him about music. I learned more
about songwriting than I had in yearsjust from that conversation. But he was
talking to me about early kh andwhen Sheik started and how he was like,

(05:40):
you know, the seventies, hadgone through this basically the worst recession
since the Great Depression, post Vietnamkind of you know, a lot of
political turmoil. And so Nile,being a fan of history, was studying
and listening to music from the GreatDepression era, and a lot of those
lyrics from that early like kind ofpost Great Depression music. He was putting

(06:01):
on on Chicic songs, which waslike very positive, you know, the
whole thing. If you listen tochic it's just like there's just joy,
there's joy, and this does gofunk, but and it's funny because it
makes you feel really good. Butthen musically, and this is kind of
what popped out to me when Iwas kind of doing my deep dive listening
to it. It was just like, musically it's actually incredibly deep. There's

(06:25):
a lot of jazz gospel, there'slike Motown kind of inspired vocals. There's
you know, kind of that likethe funk kind of influenced big band.
All of these styles of music thatare kind of almost in this postmodern way
come together around in that kind ofera to create what was you know,

(06:47):
disco and funk and everything that cameafter that early dance music, early house
music, and so when he wastelling me all that, it kind of
was like a light bulb moment.I was like, that's why I was
a track, That's why I didthis study and wanted to make something that
felt like this, because now fiftyyears like set you know, in the

(07:08):
seventies, like basically fifty years afterthe Great Depression, right, and here
we are fifty years from then goingthrough similar economic and political turmoil. Sure,
and the world has felt very dark, and I know for me,
music's always been really healing. Andas I sat with what I wanted our

(07:28):
next record to feel like and soundlike, there's a lot of thought that
went into It's just like, howdo I respond to culture and make music
that doesn't feel super dark and depressingbut still acknowledges honestly what's happening, but
has hope in it? Because Iwas like, what do I need right
what do I need? Like?What do I want to hear right now?

(07:49):
It's like, fuck, I needhope, you know, And that's
kind of what this song and whata lot of this record came from that
place of wanting to make something thatwasn't vapid, that wasn't escapist, but
had hope. Mark Foster is withus. If you're listening on the radio,

(08:09):
if you're watching, of course youknow what's happening here. How long
did it take you to make allof these songs? Because just lost in
Space, it feels like this isnot something that happens in five minutes.
These are sometimes we talked to theartists how we got it done in ten
minutes. So starting the album tofinishing, how long was that process?
And what's the name of the album? The album is It's called Paradise State

(08:33):
of Mind. And I would say, oh god, that's hard to answer.
I usually before I track and likefinish your record, I like to
have between seventy and one hundred sketcheswow, and then out of those all
basically pick kind of fifteen ish andthen fifteen to twenty and then end up

(09:00):
usually between ten and twelve will makethe record, but we'll record. I
think we recorded maybe like thirteen orfourteen for this one, and then eleven
ended up on it. So youstarted this record basically whatever year this is
and whatever year you were born,just dead. It's like when you were
ten you started this record. Becauseit sounds like a culmination of your whole

(09:22):
everything, Like it sounds like piecesof a lot of different things from a
long time, different thoughts, differentideas. I would say that, I
would say that this record, likeI was, you know, Lost in
Space, I probably started the sketchingof the sketches of that and maybe twenty
twenty twenty one, but we probablyofficially started really working on the record in
twenty two and then finished it intwenty three. Got it? Now,

(09:45):
what about bringing these songs to life? Have you played these live? Like
if you're doing a concert yet,haven't played anything live? Holy? Yeah?
Your thoughts on that? And whatis the practice going to be?
Yeah? Figuring that out right now? Actually, I mean it's I would
say it's the most rhythmic record we'veever made. It's probably the most musical
record, Like it was ninety fivepercent analog this record, even on Lost

(10:11):
in Space, like the strings thatyou hear, it's a double quartet,
so eight players that we recorded inthe big room at East West, the
Sinatra Room there, which is agreat string room. There's you know,
the flute on the record, there'slive horns on the record, there's all
sorts of things. I mean,we camped out so after that hang with

(10:31):
Nile, which kind of illuminated thingsand pointed things in a certain direction.
We went to the pet Sounds Roomat East West, room three, the
smallest room there, which is likewhere the Wrecking Crew camped out and did
a bunch of records, you know, Mama was and Papa, etc.
Kind of an iconic room, andit was so cool to be in there
because you can see you can seethe scratches on the floor. Wow,

(10:52):
you know in that room where I'mjust like you can just picture Hal Blaine
and like, you know, CaroleKay just setting up and just you can
feel the energy still it hasn't reallychanged. And so we camped out there
for basically two months and finished therecord pretty much. How do you think
this is going to look live?Though? Are you gonna have to bring

(11:13):
a lot of people in? Isthis going to be a you know,
you're gonna go on Tora imagine andyour fan base has done nothing. Weirdly,
it's gotten bigger and you haven't doneanything for so long, So I
mean, you you have the opportunityto still play really big rooms and use
a lot of musicians. So whatdo you think you'll opt to do?

(11:35):
I have no idea. Yeah,sorry, I think I just bummed him
out with the idea there's so muchmusic. Well, here's the thing,
like live, I feel like we'vealways done something live than what's different on
the record, Like and I tolike, I love going to a live
show where it has the essence ofwhat the recording music sounds like, but

(11:56):
but there's something new or there's somethingfresh about it. So with this,
it's like, you know, andit's always been a tricky thing with Foster
the People because there's so many harmoniesand vocals that, like, I wouldn't
really be able to pull all thatoff without having probably ten or fifteen singers,
So I have to figure that out. But I think for certain shows

(12:18):
we'll probably bring up some friends,We'll bring up some horns, we'll bring
up maybe a quartet, we'll dosome live strings, you know, for
other things. Some of those melodiesmight translate well to a synth or a
guitar. Yeah, well, we'llhave to figure it out, but it's
gonna be a lot of fun tokind of unpack this and figure out how
to do this live. Foster thePeople is a great live band. I've

(12:39):
seen you play so many times.I have a question about some of your
previous songs that I hear in themost random places in twenty twenty three,
and of course probably no waters expectswe're gonna write this song fifteen years later
beyond in Ralph supermarket. When youhear your song somewhere randomly these days,

(13:00):
what's your reaction? You're like,holy crap, that's me up there.
I I don't know, it's it'sit's it is a little meta. You
know, where's the most random placeyou've heard yourself? Oh? Man,
I've heard I've heard, uh Christianiathat you know, that hippie commune in

(13:20):
Denmark and Copenhagen. It's like areally straight it's like kind of in the
center of Copenhagen. It's been thislike protested protected place where these people like
Dylan went there and like did ashow to keep it open back in the
day. John Lennon went there.Like there's all these artists that have like
fought for this, like Hippie Commune. I remember walking through there and hearing

(13:41):
hearing our stuff on like a littleboombox, you know, next to like
uh yeah, yeah, I meanit's a pretty wild place because the police
would always try to raid it,and then all these like they're kind of
like, I don't know, thesewild mad max Yeah, hippies that would
put up like tie like they wouldset these big tie your mountains on fire

(14:01):
and like stand on top with likepipules and have like and they would face
down with the police. And thenI think like last year, the year
in the last couple of years theyfinally got the rights to because it's like
prime real estate there, so thecity, you know, and they just
squat and the city finals like youcan stay. I'm thinking he's gonna say
the car wash we got somewhere somewhere, some commune harrod Ice State of Mind.

(14:31):
Is that also the name of asong on your album? It is?
Actually, yeah, that was andthat was day one, the song
that when I relinked with Paul andJack on the first day in the city,
we wrote that song. So it'skind of kind of marked the beginning.
Yeah, yeah, how waity isthis on you? The fact that

(14:52):
you haven't done this for so long? Is the excitement level like, oh,
I don't know, or is itlike I just can't wait to get
the music out, I can't waitto tour where's your head in all of
this? Do you know? Yet? You know? It's it's funny,
like I was talking about before,of just the seven years between the beginning
of the band and our last LPand that same amount of time to now,

(15:13):
it's like a lot's changed. I'vechanged, you know. I feel
like the world we've all gone througha lot together, and we've all and
we've all experienced a lot of thingsindividually within that collective chaos and music to
me, has always been and it'seasy to take for granted when you've been

(15:35):
around it and you've been doing itfor so long, how healing music is
and how powerful music is to unitepeople. Yes, and that was the
thing that kind of going into this, it just felt like the right time
for us to come back out inthe culture. I know, for me,
it's like I felt just so disconnected. I felt when dark online,

(15:58):
I kind of pulled back from everything, and I think like internally on the
outside, it's so funny. Welive in an age now where if your
life isn't on display, then peopleeither forget about you or they don't know
where you stand on things, andthey kind of assume that you're It's weird.
People make up all sorts of storieskind of in their own heads if

(16:19):
they can't see what you're doing inyour day to day. And you know,
for me, it's like, externallyeverything looked very quiet, and internally
was just this raging garden and likemountain ranges forming and really being I feel
like melted in a crucible in alot of ways, like over the pandemic,
doing a lot of deep diving andprocessing, and this record was kind

(16:47):
of, I guess, the purgingof all of those thoughts, and it
was a mountain. This was probablythe hardest record I've ever made in certain
ways, but also on the flipside of that, maybe the most cathartic.
I have another question. You've talkedabout some of the spots you've recorded,
and it feels like you're a historianof music and appreciate the past and

(17:08):
some of that actually inspires you.Is that how you've ticked mentally from day
one when it comes to your career. M I mean, I I always
I love I love people, andI love culture and watching culture, like
observing kind of where things are atand the mood. And I think that's

(17:29):
all like really interesting. It's alwaysbeen a muse, you know, to
react to culture. I love artiststhat have always personified an idea of culture,
even if they've become a villain inthat story. I feel like that's
like a really effective way to tella story like which on this record was

(17:51):
extra tricky because of the kind ofthe time that we're in right now,
which feels like what what can artistssay? A lot of things, A
lot of art has been misunderstood orpeople are like you can't you can't do
that, you can't say that,and I'm just like, what do you
mean? Like, look at anyfilm from the seventy, Like there's moments
in time where it's so provocative andso explosive, and I feel like that's

(18:15):
so important. Yes, But walkinginto it with this, you know,
I just kept coming back to,like, hope, make something that brings
people together. You don't need tobe need to provoke anything. Everything is
beyond beyond provoked. The bear hasbeen poked, The bear keeps gets poked,
like every daily, like some something'spoking the bear right now. So

(18:37):
it's just like, let's just forme. I just needed to kind of
calm down, get to a placewith like I can't control any of these
things. I'm just a songwriter,and but I can make music because that's
what's going to make me feel better. Yeah, the world ebbs and flows
and you go with it. Andyou know, if the world's crazy up
here, it sounds like you wantto be down here dancing, you know

(18:59):
what I mean. And that's whatthis what we've heard so far, that's
what it sounds like. You know. It's just like, let's bring in
that, let's get the vibe back, Let's get all this together going,
you know, and connect und weconnect in person. We have connected in
person again, and musically I knowwe've connected with the songs and everyone else
is. And thanks so much forhanging out with this, Mark Foster,
thanks so much for having me back. It's so nice to talk to you

(19:22):
guys in person. And yeah,you too many Paradise state of Mind.
Let's go Foster the people there,you go. Mark Foster with Booker and
Striker. It is all ninety eightseven
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