When Foster the People’s anti-gun violence anthem, “Pumped Up Kicks,” was released in 2010, it quickly went viral. But not everyone immediately noticed the cautionary tale about gun violence that lead singer Mark Foster relates in the lyrics:

“All the other kids with the pumped up kicks/ You’d better run, better run, outrun my gun.”

Although its tone is jubilant & upbeat – prompting some fans khổng lồ blast it during celebratory times – “Pumped Up Kicks” is about a boy named Robert, who fantasizes about shooting up his school.

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“That song was written from a place of wanting us khổng lồ bởi vì something about gun violence, wanting legislation khổng lồ be passed that can limit our resources because it feels like these mass shootings are becoming comtháng now,” Foster told stamboom-boden.com’s #GetPolitical. “I wrote that song seven years ago, predicting that it was going lớn get worse before it got better.”

The deadliest shooting in modern American history took place on October 1 when a gunman opened fire at the Route 91 Harvest music festival in Las Vegas, leaving 58 dead & more than 540 injured.

RELATED: Mark Foster reflects on “weaponizing joy”

After the massacre, many Democratic and Republican lawmakers agreed khổng lồ ban the sale of bump-fire stocks, but a month later, Congress does not appear to be taking steps to outlaw them.

With emotions raw after Vegas, Foster said that he và his bandmates decided not lớn perform “Pumped Up Kicks” at the Austin City Limits festival in Texas or at the “All Things Go” music festival in Washington because some people misinterpret its meaning.


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“It just felt irreverent to play that song … from my perspective sầu, I’m really empathizing & thinking of the families that lost somebody,” Foster said, adding that “Pumped Up Kicks” was written khổng lồ try to get inside the head of a psychotic individual.

“You can also think about it like Dostoyevsky when he wrote ‘Crime và Punishment’ or Truman Capote’s ‘In Cold Blood’ or Vince Gilligan writing ‘Breaking Bad,’ the character Walternative text … it’s like your protagonist also happens to lớn be the enemy in a way. It’s illuminating a situation but from an interesting point of view,” Foster added.

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The Grammy-nominated musician reflected on whether artists have a responsibility to lớn speak out during trying times ahead of the band’s headlining performance at the “All Things Go” music festival last month.

stamboom-boden.com: There’s been no shortage of bad news in the world. While writing songs for your lachạy thử album, “Sacred Hearts Club,” has the political climate influenced your music or have you been able khổng lồ compartmentalize?


FOSTER: I would wake up, I’d read the news in the morning and I would get a knot in my stomach because it felt lượt thích there would be a tragedy that happened somewhere in the world, there would be a shooting somewhere, there would be a bombing somewhere … just watching the political situation in our own country rip families apart, rip friends apart và really just divide us … Walking into the studio making “Scared Hearts Club” I felt like it was important for us as artists khổng lồ write a joyful record, but using joy as a weapon because joy is the best weapon against oppression, it’s the best weapon against depression.

stamboom-boden.com: Do you think it’s an artist’s duty khổng lồ speak to lớn the times or is it your job first khổng lồ entertain?

FOSTER: I think that there’s a difference between being an entertainer & being an artist. I think artists throughout the history of time have sầu always been controversial & have been a voice khổng lồ speak lớn public culture in a way a politician can’t because they’ll chiến bại their constituency. But artists, I think historically, have shined a magnifying glass on culture and have sầu talked to lớn it … I don’t consider myself an entertainer. I consider myself an artist, and I think with that comes responsibility.

stamboom-boden.com: You have fans that come from diverse backgrounds who feel differently about issues like gun control. What’s your message after something tragic lượt thích this happens?

FOSTER: It’s so easy to politicize these things. When the shooting happened in Vegas, you’ve sầu got people on the far left and people on the far right politicizing it and using it as some kind of political equity to lớn be able lớn sway people to lớn their way of thinking … We need to lớn bởi a better job of loving each other beyond race, beyond belief, beyond our difference … I truly believe that love sầu is greater than politics.

stamboom-boden.com: Your guitarist, Sean Cimino, had family members at the Route 91 festival and you had friends performing at the Bataclan in Paris when the terror attack took place in 2015. How have sầu the recent terror attacks impacted you?

FOSTER: When you have sầu a musical setting, which is such a joyful, beautiful expression of people coming together … experiencing something spiritual at the same time, that when those events are starting to lớn get threatened by violence, it’s pretty heavy. And I just think it’s more important than ever that we st& in solidarity with each other và we continue lớn play music.

For more on music, culture và politics, kiểm tra out stamboom-boden.com’s #GetPolitical series.

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