Passion Pit

Taking on the World

Jul 09, 2009 Winter 2009 - Anticipated Albums of 2009
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“There’s a way to write a love song differently… there’re so many different kinds of love songs. And I think specifically with this album, this album is a lot about love and a lot about… finding the antidote to misery,” says Passion Pit’s Michael Angelakos. He then adds with a chuckle, “There’s no reason why you shouldn’t embrace love as an antidote to your problems when you are a depressed, miserable person.”

Angelakos is tackling a heavy subject here, but why shouldn’t he? After all, his debut EP, Chunk of Change, has recently been the subject of a great deal of love from both the press and music fans alike. His project, Passion Pit, which began as a late Valentine’s Day gift to his girlfriend, showcases a synth-heavy blend of rock, dance, and electronic music taking hints from Randy Newman, Hot Chip, and MGMT. It’s allowed him to blossom into one of the most exciting new voices to be heard over the din of the American popular music landscape in some time.

Speaking from New York City, where he’s completing principal recording on his first full-length, a currently (as of press time) unnamed album that is being produced by Chris Zane (Les Savy Fav, Ambulance LTD, Tokyo Police Club), the Boston-based Angelakos remains remarkably humble about all the hubbub. “Really, [the EP] wasn’t supposed to be released…the next thing you know, we’re here. We did not think it would go anywhere close to this…I was just really excited that anyone listened to it. I think it’s awesome.”

Apparently, a lot of people think it’s awesome. Aside from an amiable relationship with Zane, mega-producer Rick Rubin (Beastie Boys, Johnny Cash, Red Hot Chili Peppers) has been a source of support and inspiration throughout this process, as well as expressing an interest in overseeing the mixing of the album. “Rick’s a great guy…he’s played a big role in figuring out who we’re gonna work with, whether it is Columbia or another label,” says Angelakos. “He’s more of like a spiritual guide than anything else. I know that sounds corny, but that’s kind of like his role.”

And guidance is just what Angelakos needs as his band, fleshed out to a five-piece by Ian Hultquist (synths), Ayad Al Adhamy (synths, samplers), Jeff Apruzzese (bass, synths), and Nate Donmoyer (drums) helps him polish his vision. “The band is there for live interpretation. I go into the studio and I write when I’m in the studio…but everyone comes in for post-production and shapes the sound of it.” This is especially important as the band prepares for a gauntlet of high-profile shows that includes trips to Europe, Australia, and Japan, as well as performances at Lollapalooza, Sasquatch, Coachella, and South by Southwest, where they’re already committed to 15 shows and DJ sets. “We’re just doing it nonstop after this record,” he concludes. “It’s just gonna be stupid, I mean, crazy stupid…you know, we’re excited for it.”

So are we, Michael, so are we. (www.passionpitmusic.com)



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