There is already a lot to appreciate about Foster the People. From their nice-guy clothes to the deceptively happy sounding music they create, Mark Foster, Mark Pontius and Cubbie Fink are an especially palatable trio. But fans of and strangers to their music alike can take pride in the fact that the band has partnered with the Do Good Bus, which is traveling with them on their North American tour until October 20.
The bus picks up the band's fans and takes them to various locations to take part in community service. So far, they've worked with groups like WHEAT, a Scottsdale, Arizona-based non-profit dedicated to helping people find work and providing them with professional clothing, and the Nature Consortium, a Seattle non-profit that works to restore forests and provides eco-themed arts classes for kids.
The Huffington Post caught up with Mark Foster when the band came to New York, where they headlined two nights at Terminal 5, and asked him about the band's collaboration with the bus.
"To be honest, the biggest way we've been involved is to tell people about the work and get it out there," he admitted. "It has been hard to get on the bus and get our hands dirty, but we try to get people in the particular community as involved as possible."
In Dallas, the Do Good Bus prepared upwards of 8,500 meals at a food bank. At the Austin City Limits Festival, meanwhile, local Do-Gooders helped raise $12,981 to go towards the purchasing of equipment for firefighters battling the overwhelming wildfires in Texas. Due to a matching contribution, more than $25,000 went towards that cause.
At each show, Foster pauses the music to talk about the bus's local activities and to invite listeners to stop by the local organization they visited. In the case of fundraising for firefighters, volunteers canvassed the crowd both at the festival and at a show in Houston holding firefighter boots that fans could drop money into. In Houston, the band raised approximately $750 in 15 minutes.
The band has been touring for more than nine months now, and Foster said that their several separate tours have blended together into one massive roadtrip. "It has been somewhat of a learning curve, but we're getting used to it now. We're a completely different band than we were a year ago," he said. "A year ago we were playing at venues that held 300 people, and now we've played much bigger venues."
From Glastonbury to Coachella, the band has hit some of the biggest festivals on the planet. Fueled by the pop buzz of their breakout single "Pumped Up Kicks" -- a song which Foster has insisted is not about a school shooting -- they decided to find a way to give back without losing the momentum of their current tour.
"When we first started the band our main focus, besides music, was to do something that would help people. We didn't have any specific cause in mind, but we knew we wanted to get involved in charity work," Foster said in a statement. "The Do Good Bus is perfect because we'll do something different every day that will match the needs of the city we're in. It's a great way to show people how to volunteer and will hopefully inspire them to continue volunteering where they live."
Given that he's on the path to fulfilling that mission, HuffPost asked Foster to talk about their other goals, namely some contemporaries he'd like to tour with. "I'd just love to do a tour with Little Dragon. We've done some festivals with them and we did a club show that was fun," he said. 'They're a band that really inspires Foster the People, and it's one of the best live shows I've ever seen."
He paused for a beat before adding one more name to the list: "I think I could learn a lot by seeing David Bowie perform live."