Foster the People was originally called "Foster and the People" after frontman Mark Foster. People consistently misheard the name as "Foster the People." The misinterpreted band name began to grow on Foster and his bandmates until they adopted it as their official name.
Part of Foster the People's rise to popularity can be credited to the extensive licensing of their music for ads and use in television shows and movies. The music of Foster the People can be heard on Payless shoes ads, Grey's Anatomy, Nissan commercials, SyFy's series Warehouse 13 and a 2010 FIFA soccer video game.
Foster the People have worked extensively with Paul Epworth, a noted producer who has also worked with the likes of Adele, Bloc Party and Cee-Lo Green.
Some unlikely influences that Mark Foster has cited as main sources of inspiration include the digital music project Aphex Twin, healthy doses of the Motown greats, and Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys.
In a 2010 interview, Mark Foster cited Kanye West as the producer he'd most like to work with in the future.
Mark Pontius and Cubbie Fink, the drummer and bassist of Foster the People, met Mark Foster after moving to Los Angeles. Pontius and Fink did not actually move to Los Angeles to pursue their musical career, however; both had moved there to attend film school.
When asked about the future of Foster the People in 2011, Mark Foster has alluded to the fact that they may not always stay together as a musical outfit, but all will continue on with their music. "It is really just a blessing to be creative," Foster has said, "and not have to deliver pizzas anymore."
For their 2011 tour, Foster the People conceived of the idea of a "Do Good Bus." This project consists of a bus full of volunteers that follow the band to every city on their 2011 tour. In each city the group of volunteers work with local charities on a project- everything from teaching music in schools to helping build homes with Habitat for Humanity.
When it comes to composing songs, Mark Foster says he composes the music first, and then often freestyles the words after creating atmosphere through harmonies and beats. In his lyrics, Foster often speaks from a fictional character's perspective, a good example of this is "Pumped Up Kicks," written from the viewpoint of a loner kid contemplating murder.
Mark Foster plays guitar, bass, drums and "pretty much any sort of stringed instrument" yet he says the piano is the only one that has changed his life.