"We didn’t ask or seek this kind of lifestyle. This lifestyle came out of pure demand." - Michael Angelakos, on Passion Pit's quick rise to fame.
"People smell when you’re really trying to emulate or work off someone else’s sound, and people smell when you’re being genuine." - Michael Angelakos, on Passion Pit's distinct sound.
"We’ll continue touring until our bodies stop working – until our lives are being threatened. We have an obligation to see this album through because there are a lot of really good songs on it that deserve to be heard on the radio." - Passion Pit, on their plan for 2010.
Jan 29, 2010. By Jordana Borensztajn.
Digital downloads and MySpace have changed the way we consume music. While the the pros and cons are infinitely growing, when it comes to a band like Passion Pit, the power of the web can’t be disputed. If the right music lovers stumble across a band’s tunes, momentum stirs, demand develops, crowds increase, and like all good music fairytales, record deals are sealed.
This is pretty much how it happened for the Massachusetts quartet. Passion Pit formed in 2007, and after just a handful of gigs, the band was signed to Frenchkiss Records in New York. Their debut EP Manners was unleashed in June and they’ve since peaked on commercial charts across Australia, the U.S. and the U.K.
In Melbourne for the Big Day Out, frontman and founder of the electro outfit Michael Angelakos says while their whirlwind journey has had plenty of perks, it’s also comes with a heap of pressure and responsibility.
“The internet has done two things. It’s made it a much more fan-dictated way of succeeding in the industry but it’s also expedited things to the point where it’s hard to catch up to the hype that’s been stirred, or the expectations that have been made, before you even really accept what it is you do and what it is you represent,” Angelakos says, choosing his words carefully.
“Like, we didn’t even have much time to rehearse. We were a studio band, so touring was a way of rehearsing. To say that it happened almost too quickly is not saying that I’m not grateful for all the opportunities that have come my way but if it had been a bit slower, we would have endured a lot less hardships.”
The quartet’s not used to being on the road, or the massive amount of press and promo they’ve been doing. “We didn’t ask or seek this kind of lifestyle. This lifestyle came out of pure demand. It’s not like we were sending out press kits to labels trying to get signed and get famous and be well-known. It just came about. And so for a band like us and a person like me – who never thought this would ever happen – we’re kind of, just facing it.
“We’re having to rise to the occasion in some way, shape or form, and that’s a very difficult thing to do. So this year’s been a maturation process of putting things into perspective… It’s like we were thrown into it and we’re playing catch up.”
Based on the overwhelming crowd responses to all of Passion Pit’s Big Day Out performances so far, they’ve caught up pretty quickly.
What makes their progress even more impressive is the leap they’ve take since they began. Believe it or not, Angelakos first prepared a bunch of tracks as a Valentine’s Day gift for his then-girlfriend. He burnt copies of the songs, sold them at college and then met Ian Hultquist, whose collaboration sparked the idea of forming a group. And Passion Pit began.
In a music world that’s currently electro-pop heavy, Passion Pit has managed to create a sound that’s distinctively their own. “People smell when you’re really trying to emulate or work off someone else’s sounds, and people smell when you’re being genuine. Electro pop is a faddy kind of sound for some but it’s not that faddy. There are genres of music that flourish at certain times and fall to the waist side at other times. The only reason why is because every single person in the world right now can do a remix. Everyone can sit down at their computer… It’s almost easier than sitting down with a guitar.”
As the band’s Big Day Out tour gets close to wrapping up, Angelakos reflects on his experience so far, admitting there couldn’t have been a better time to come Down Under. “It’s actually the perfect time to come to Australia because we can actually play the music live and we know what we’re doing, and we actually look like a band that deserves to come all the way to Australia. It wasn’t about living up to the hype. It was about being able to handle the hype and perform well enough with all the hype and buzz surrounding us,” he says.
With a plan for a very tour-heavy 2010, another Aussie trip might be just around the corner. “We’ll continue touring until our bodies stop working – until our lives are being threatened. We have an obligation to see this album through because there are a lot of really good songs on it that deserve to be heard on the radio, and a live show that deserves to have more money put into it and more time and energy in terms of rehearsals and different arrangements and new production to make our live shows worth going to see time and time again.”