Pop Quiz: Foster the People

Aidin Vaziri | As the deceptively sweet single “Pumped Up Kicks” becomes inescapable, Foster the People is crisscrossing the country making high-profile appearances at places such as South by Southwest and the Coachella music festival. The Los Angeles band’s first full-length CD, “Torches,” arrives in May. Fans can get a preview Wednesday at the Independent. We spoke to founding member and Bay Area native Mark Foster.

Mark Foster of Foster the People
Q: “Pumped Up Kicks” sounds like a laidback pop song. How many people do you think realize it’s about a homicidal school kid?
A: I think there’s an irony in it, undercutting something that is so breezy on first listen with something that is so serious. If I wrote those lyrics over a dark ballad it would just be depressing.
Q: It only took me about 15 listens to actually hear the words.
A: I love it when that happens. It’s happened to me so many songs. I remember when I heard Jeff Buckley’s “Grace,” on first listen I just thought it was such a great song. But then lyrics started popping out at me as I listened to it over and over and I realized he’s talking about dying and drowning. And he actually drowned. I started crying in my car: “He predicted his own death!” It was amazing.
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