I play guitar, bass, drums, piano, and pretty much any sort of stringed instrument - besides violin or cello.
When I put Foster The People together, I just wanted to play music with friends.
My aunts and uncles were like, 'You've got such a great voice - why don't you try out for 'American Idol?'' I'd say, 'Because I'm a songwriter, not a puppet.' Even if I won and became really successful off a show like that, I'd be miserable.
One thing about Foster the People is that it's taking pieces of a lot of different genres of music and kind of melding them together.
In Cleveland, music was always a big part of my life. That's really where I cut my teeth.
Arcade Fire has kept their indie cred. They will sell out stadiums yet still have underdog status. But when you're a band like Coldplay, people are waiting to knock you down.
I've written hundreds of songs, and I tend to think that my instincts are pretty good when it comes to what people are going to like and what people aren't going to like.
People worship anyone in the entertainment industry. You can be a used-car salesman and have a television commercial on the local station, and that makes you a celebrity.
Art brings to life things that can seemingly be dead, and can put a fresh perspective on things that are living. It's so important we keep creating.
Going out and volunteering sounds simple, but many people don't volunteer because they don't know where to start.
I look at bands like the Beach Boys, Hall & Oates and Blur, and those are the bands I want to be in company with because their songwriting is intelligent, and yet you don't need to be a musical genius to pick it up.
I wrote 'Torches' before experiencing touring as a band. I really had no idea what they would sound like live, and that was something we had to figure out along the way.
I was afraid of the sophomore slump even before our first record came out. It was a very real fear because I'd watched so many bands I'd loved in the past not deliver. I knew it was a very real thing. I didn't know why it happens, but I'd been thinking about it a lot.
'I Get Around' came on one day. I'd never heard the Beach Boys before. The sound was so fresh to me. That was the first time when I truly was gripped by the power of music. It opened my eyes to the heights that music can achieve.
When I was 21, I was in a pretty serious band, and we almost got signed - went to New York, showcased, all that - but didn't end up getting signed, and we broke up. I went back to the drawing board; I really took a hit from that whole experience.
That's how life is: there are peaks and valleys in life, and that's how I like to write songs.
I started out with piano when I was little. That, for songwriting, is my favorite instrument.
In Morocco, a Muslim country, I got to hear the call to prayer five times a day. At first it felt kind of scary, kind of dangerous, because of the propaganda towards anything Muslim in the U.S. subconsciously coming out in me. By the end of the trip, it was so beautiful, and then not hearing it when I got back to L.A. really threw me off.
During 'Torches,' I was more concerned with communicating the spirit of the song than the actual lyrics.
There are a few songwriters in bands I really relate to that write a certain type of joy, because a lot of artists don't really write joy. It's a thing only a few people do.
I realized probably when I was, like, 20 years old that the hardest thing to do is to write a pop song - not, like, a candy-pop, throwaway pop song.
I think artists throughout the history of time have always been controversial and have been a voice to speak to public culture in a way that a politician can't because they'll lose their constituency.
I write songs based on things I see in the culture around me.
Culturally, it's really funny to me that people respect the weird guy as an artist. There can be a curmudgeon in the corner with spiders building nests in his hair, and he hasn't bathed for three weeks, but for whatever reason, he's more creative than the guy sitting next to him that's showered and is talking to everybody.
I remember, in middle school, I went to four different schools. That was a rough patch. But it's also what shaped me as a person.
I don't consider myself an entertainer. I consider myself an artist, and I think with that comes responsibility.
I feel like kids are getting more and more used to communicating through a glass screen than they are face-to-face, and that worries me a little.
I experienced bullying a lot. I was an only child, and I was kind of a small kid with a big mouth, and so I always got myself in trouble.
I worked odd jobs delivering pizza, folding chairs, telemarketing, selling kitchen cutlery door to door.
One of the things with the second record, a word I held close to my chest was 'brave.' To take chances to go outside the box and explore. To continue to toss off any expectation that our fans or anyone else might have of us, to just tap into who I am as a writer and artist and really just operate within that freedom of creation.
Fear just crushes creativity, and if I let fear into the studio and into the songwriting, I was going to let it kill the artist inside of me.
I'm a really extreme person, and balance is probably the hardest thing for me to maintain.
There are career waiters in Los Angeles, and they're making over $100,000 a year.
I've played so many gigs in front of around seven people. It's difficult to keep motivated, but it's all about growth. The love of music kept me going.
If I was 13 years old and Kurt Cobain tweeted me some advice or even just said hi, my whole world would be affected by that.
'Torches' opened a lot of doors. Ultimately, it turned into an experience to be reckoned with.
Writing for other people is easier than writing for myself - it's not as personal.
I remember, when I heard Jeff Buckley's 'Grace,' on first listen I just thought it was such a great song.
I'm really into the recycling of art. That one piece of art inspires another piece of art, which inspires another piece of art. I really like that idea.
I don't care if it's Dr. Dre or Dr. Luke or Brian Eno. When you're in a studio and making music together, it becomes pretty apparent if you see eye to eye.
We're not the corporation of Foster the People. We're a band.
'Supermodel' was a hard record for me; it was an emotional record to write. I was purging a lot of stuff with that album, and I think the one thing I didn't really consider, that I'd be supporting it for two years and living in that state of mind every night.