Foster the People’s ‘Pumped Up Kicks’ Almost Didn’t Get Released


Story by Anne Erickson

“Pumped Up Kicks” was a grassroots hit

Los Angeles-based alternative band Foster the People are possibly the biggest indie music success story of 2011. Frontman Mark Foster and his players scored a No. 1 crossover hit in “Pumped Up Kicks” last year that just wouldn’t go away.

As it turns out, the uber-catchy “Pumped Up Kicks” almost didn’t get a chance to be heard. Bass player Cubbie Fink says that, at first, the song didn’t even enjoy a proper release.

‘”It [Pumped Up Kicks] was never officially released,” Fink told “We were a brand-new band and that was the only song we had completed, and so we put it up on our website to download, and from that it had a life on its own. It was tossed around on the internet, and people would blog about and it ended up on [music blog aggregator] Hype Machine, and radio just naturally picked it up. First independent radio stations started playing it, and then mainstream radio stations started playing it, and it was just gradually growing.”

In just a few weeks, Foster went from a struggling, pretty much unknown independent artist to “the guy who had hundreds emails in his inbox,” Fink said. “I think the first time we started seeing blogs [about us], that was a huge moment for us…And then we had 20,000 people to show up to watch us play, and that was a big moment. I don’t think reality has really sunk in, because we haven’t been home in so long.”

Foster the People, who have a lengthy North American jaunt set for this year, thrive on bringing their psychedelic, dance-flavored alternative rock to show after show. “There’s something really liberating standing in front of an audience and playing live,” Fink said of the alternative band’s concert experience. “It’s a very communal experience, because we’re giving a lot from the stage but the crowd is giving a lot back to us and it ends up feeling like family by the end of the show.”


Anne Erickson
Posted by Anne Erickson | Alternative, Music, Rock News

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