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.