An interview with Mark Pontius of Foster the People
Mark Pontius, drummer for the band Foster the People, is a pretty rad dude. Not only does he drum for one of the most popular, radio-played bands of the past five years (you definitely know their song 'Pumped up Kicks'), he is a super handsome vegan who proudly supports animal rights. He's also just a really nice guy, and he agreed to take time out of this busy schedule - Foster the People spent much of 2015 touring - to answer a few burning questions we had for him!
Mark was a musician long before he joined up with bandmates Mark + Cubbie to form Foster the People. He has played the drums for years, but really became a household name when Foster the People's song 'Pumped Up Kicks' was picked up by Nylon magazine in 2011. They sort of just exploded from there, and could be heard all over the radio, TV shows + commercials. The song was eventually nominated for a grammy.
These days Mark still plays with the band, but has moved from LA to music-capital of the world Nashville, TN. He lives on a ranch he's named 'Fat Horse', where he plans to adopt farm animals who can live their lives out freely and happily, and for his 30th birthday this past year, he raised several thousand dollars for Mercy for Animals! His 31st birthday is TOMORROW (Happy Birthday Mark!), so we thought it was the perfect time to share our interview. We asked him 10 questions ranging from his favorite snack while on tour to who his favorite instagram account to follow is. If you don't already love Mark, you will after this post. He's just a really, genuinely great guy and we're so glad he's on the vegan team!
1: What’s your favorite vegan restaurant & dish to get there?
There is a new place that just opened here in Nashville called AVO. They have a raw pad thai that is incredible.
2: Any cooking tool you can’t live without in the kitchen?
My Sonos. Music is almost always playing in my house.
3: Since you’ve gone vegan, what are some of the benefits or changes you’ve noticed in your health?
I just feel happier in general. At least three times a day I feel like I am participating in something that is much bigger than I am and I feel like I am actively making a difference in another beings life. Along with that I don’t feel heavy or sluggish after I eat anymore.
4: If you could “vegan-ize” any non-vegan food what would it be?
My mother's buttermilk biscuits.
5: Favorite go-to vegan snack on tour?
Hummus and pita.
6: It’s Saturday morning. What can we find you doing?
When I’m home, most mornings are pretty routine. First things first, coffee. Then I’ll take a walk with my two dogs Maica and Pappy. I feed them when I get back, they are happily vegan as well! Then I’ll make myself some breakfast and go about the day.
7: How will you be spending Thanksgiving? Any delicious vegan meals you’ll be whipping up?
We had an all vegan thanksgiving this year. My mom came to visit and my girlfriend and I experimented with some new recipes we found online. It turned out great! My favorite was the vegan apple pie!
8: What made you decide to go vegan?
I think I first saw a video on change.org showing some animal cruelty at a cow farm. It was an investigation done by Mercy For Animals. I had seen some of these intense videos in the past but tried to ignore them and always turned them off after a couple seconds because I couldn’t take it. For whatever reason I watched this one in its entirety. That immediately sparked my curiosity and caused me to start researching more about what animal cruelty was going on that I wasn’t aware of. Within a couple of days I was vegetarian. I read every article and book I could get my hands on for a couple months. But what really put me over the edge was the movie Earthlings. I remember watching it alone in my hotel room in San Francisco after a show we played in town. I was balling the entire movie and stayed up most of the night feeling like I had just been told some secret that no one else new or something. My eyes were open to this whole new world. I was so fueled by that movie and so driven to do whatever I could to help make a difference from that point on. Probably the easiest decision I ever made was to become vegan at that moment. It was so obvious. "Think occasionally of the suffering which you spare yourself the sight” - Albert Schweitzer.
9: Do you have a favorite vegan blog or instagram to follow?
I follow this instagram called Tefiano. He posts a lot of animal cruelty images and videos. Things that are happening day to day still. Its pretty heavy but it is something that keeps me in check. When I’m scrolling through instagram looking at a bunch of pointless selfies or something, a post from Tefiano will pop up and remind me of something more important in the world.
10: Okay, a non-vegan question now. What’s your favorite thing to do or place to go on a day off?
I love being anywhere there is surf, especially now that I am in Nashville and don’t get it as often. If we are traveling near the ocean and there is a day off I’ll most definitely be in the water with a board.
Thanks SO MUCH to Mark for taking the time to answer our questions and for being such an amazing crusader for the animals - we need more wonderful humans like this. Also, Happy Birthday Mark! We can't wait to see what FTP comes out with next.
If you're interested in donating to Mercy for Animals and the incredible work they do, please visit MercyForAnimals.org.
Jacky Wasserman & BEETxBEET Clothing Co.
The first time I saw Jacky Wasserman's designs, I feel in love. This girl has a talent for creating something awesome, something that has the potential to take on enormous social & eco-based causes....and sometimes she turns that talent into awesomely soft tees that wear well AND spread awareness.
Jacky launched BEETxBEET in September of this year after deciding to make shirts that SHE would buy and wear. Since then, she's sent her tees to the likes of Alicia Silvertone, Dr.Oz, and Moby- because not only are they vegan but they are huge advocates and supporters of causes she is trying to spread awareness about such as GMO, Monsanto, factory farming, and conscious eating. Jacky believes it's so important that we all start paying attention to what is happening in the food industry and the environmental impact influenced through our choices in food. BEETxBEET's tagline is 'Saving the planet one vegan at a time.'
As a blogger, I see a lot of apparel aimed at vegans, but Jacky's are by far closest to something you'd already find in my closet. Comfortable, trendy styles in cuts and colors that work for both sexes. Her designs appeal to a larger audience because her messages advocate a bigger, better earth; with tees like 'Hail to the Kale', 'Monsanto Kills', and 'Hell No To GMO', these shirts aren't just for vegans, but for anyone with an interest in the foods we eat and the brands we support.
Jacky, a native Altantian, works full-time as a graphic designer for eco-friendly, LA based apparel company Alternative Apparel. This means she knows the best fabrics, cuts, and colors for t-shirt design- and actively uses this knowledge to make her tees the best around. I was AMAZED when I first met Jacky at just how soft those shirts really were- and they don't shrink in the dryer, though I recommend line drying to keep the decal looking nice long term. Plus, they come in muscle tee, short-sleeve, and 3/4 length sleeves, so you can rock 'em all year round.
We asked Jacky a few questions so you could get to know her as well as we have. Did we mention she effing rocks? Here are her answers:
What is your inspiration for new t-shirt designs?
I generally look at what's trending in the fashion scene/ different popular phrases /popular in the vegan scene or most prominent environmental/agriculture issue and try to combine a few of those together to make a design. Then I brainstorm and start sketching out ideas to see what works best and what I think people will gravitate towards most. I usually ask some friends to give me their opinion on favorites. Sometimes a design will just come up in conversation when discussing my brand in general and BOOM! There's the idea and I'll quickly jot it down. I also think about stuff that I would want to see or wear as well and throw that in the mix.
We LOVE the name. How'd you come up with it?
The meaning behind the company name is that we can all help make the world a better place one healthy choice at a time. Being a DJ as a hobby, music and food are such a huge part of my life, I came up with a name that had sort of a play on words to relate to both passions in my life.
What's your favorite veg restaurant? And what do you like to order there?
This is such a tough one! Fortunately we are blessed to live in a city (LA) where there are so many amazing vegan restaurants in town. I really love Shojin Downtown and their 'Pirates of The Crunchy Roll' and also Mohawk Bend's 'Buffalo Cauliflower', I could never get tired of that! It's soooo good! How do they do it? When out at a vegan restaurant I tend to have eyes bigger than my stomach because it's so exciting to be able to order ANYTHING off the menu so I generally want to try everything! Haha.
What do you see in the future for BEETxBEET?
For the future, I am hoping to become a part of Farmers Markets in town, be involved in more events and community festivals, partner with organizations and causes that I support, and see where this takes me and the company. Hopefully BXB will continue to gain more exposure and get the word out there about our cause so that we can save the world one vegan at a time. :)
We first hung out at Vegan Oktoberfest and have been buds ever since. Jacky is an amazing person with a great company- we're so happy to support this small, local business! As you can see from the photos from my Instagram stream below, I wear her tees all over town! And I get compliments on them CONSTANTLY. Her designs are cute & support a variety of great causes. What more could you ask for?!
Thank you SO MUCH to Jacky for (existing, and) letting us do this interview with her. We are so insanely proud of her- she's killing' it! Check out BEETxBEET on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and of course in their online store. And don't forget that Saturday, November 29th (the day AFTER Black Friday) is Shop Small Business Saturday- so make sure you include one of these awesome tees in your shopping day. You deserve it!
Interview with Travis Barker,