Foster The People: An Outsider Anthem, A Viral Hit Inspired by The Beach Boys, Mark Foster's band Foster the People has gone from blog darling to headliner at a slew of sold-out shows and increasingly high-profile spots at music festivals. The group's debut album, Torches, came out this week.

Foster The People: An Outsider Anthem, A Viral Hit

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript


Foster the People is best known for the breezy-sounding single "Pumped Up Kicks," which fans are calling the anthem of the summer.


FOSTER THE PEOPLE: (Singing) All the other kids with the pumped up kicks. You'd better run, better run, outrun my gun. All the other kids with the pumped up kicks, you'd better run, better run, faster than my bullet. All the...

MONTAGNE: That was 21 years ago when he was six years old, and his father gave him a gift that would change his life.

MARK FOSTER: He gave me this plastic bag, and I opened it up, and it was a tape of "I Get Around," and maybe like "Fun, Fun, Fun" or something was on the other side. And I put it in the cassette player, and I remember just doing somersaults around the living room, like, screaming out whatever lyrics I knew.


THE BEACH BOYS: (Singing) Round, round, get around, I get around. Yeah. Get around, round, round, I get around.

MONTAGNE: Mark Foster proceeded to spend his childhood banging on drums in his parents' basement. Then, after high school, his father gave him some unusual fatherly advice.

THE PEOPLE: I didn't know what I wanted to do and never really thought that pursuing music was a reality as a career. And I remember having a conversation with my dad, and he was like, you know, why don't you move out to L.A. or New York and pursue music? And I think my eyes just got as big as saucers, like, what? Like, you can do that?


MONTAGNE: It's the perfect summer party song, until you actually pay attention to the lyrics.

THE PEOPLE: The song's about, you know, it's kind of like an outcast youth, doesn't wear the right clothes, doesn't say the right things. And he just doesn't fit in. And it's really about the mental process of him going crazy. And so it's a dark song with a really breezy melody.

MONTAGNE: Foster the People's first album, "Torches," comes out this week.


THE PEOPLE: (Singing) Raise up to your ability. You never knew what I could find. What could come when we realize, don't no one want to compromise. Raise up to your ability...

MONTAGNE: And this is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.


And I'm Mary Louise Kelly.

Copyright © 2011 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.