First formed in Los Angeles, California in 2009, indie rock trio Foster the People were a bunch of guys in their mid-twenties who used Foster and the People as their initial moniker. But since people often misheard the name and called it Foster the People instead, members Mark Foster, Cubbie Fink and Mark Pontius opted the name. Another reason is because the new one has an underlying meaning.
Foster, Fink and Pontius were friends first before bandmates. After hanging out with them separately in Los Angeles, Foster brought them together to pursue their passion in music. "I've been playing music and writing songs on my own for a while. I was happy being a solo artist for a long time, but eventually it reached a point where I was like: 'Man, I'm ready to put a band together again!' And so I did," Foster explained in an interview.
They began by performing at charity shows like Toms Shoes 'Day Without Shoes' as they figure out the band's direction. Their first published creation "Pumped Up the Kicks" then received significant airplay on KRQQ back in 2010. Thanks to the single, the band quickly gained attention online. The song also reached number one on Billboard's Alternative Songs chart and 13 on Billboard Hot 100.
From there, it was all downhill. The group got into Coachella Music Festival in 2011 and their first album was on the way. Speaking of their first effort which is called "Torches" and was released on May 23, 2011, Foster gushed, "It's super versatile. I think that the one quality that distinguishes it as a body of work is just joy. It's a joyous record. I think there's an underlying joy in all of the songs, even if the lyrics are dark. I'm excited. You haven't heard anything like it yet from us."
"Torches" debuted at number 8 on the Billboard 200 chart and sold 33,000 copies in the first week.