Monday, April 20, 2009

Band Interview: Passion Pit

Michael Angelakos, Lead Singer of Passion Pit
Photo Courtesy of Elizabeth Weinberg

Passion Pit busted onto the scene in '08
with their infectious EP, Chunk of Change. Now in 2009, they've got a full-length album coming in May and a whole bunch of attention. Here's what keyboardist Ian Hultquist had to say about the new album, Wilco, and the Top 40.

How'd you come to be a member of Passion Pit? What's your role in the band?

Ian: I had known and played in several bands with Michael for a couple of years before he started writing as Passion Pit. He did a show that was just him singing along to tracks on his laptop. To be honest, I wasn't very impressed with the performance, but I had already grown really fond of the music. I confronted him and asked if he would want to take these songs to a live band setting. We eventually got some friends together and started from there.

I am the guardian angel/ parent of the band. Haha! Just kidding...well, half. On stage I play keyboards and guitar, but off stage the rest of the band calls me "mom" or "dad" because of my absurd inclination to responsibility.

f/k: In an earlier time, pre-internet, Passion Pit may never have gotten as big as you guys have become. On the other hand, it seems like relentless attention from the masses could really drive someone nuts. What's it like to be the center of so much hype?

Ian: It's amazing to see our names mentioned in such important and influential places like Pitchfork or BBC, but we are all extremely aware of how short-lived and fragile something like this is. I think that we all do a good job of appreciating it, but not reading too much into any of it. I've seen too many movies where the fame just goes to someone's head, and then everything goes to shit. I don't want to be in that movie.

f/k: Your new album, entitled Manners is due out May 19th. What can you tell us about it? And how does it feel to be waiting for the album to come out?

Ian: When Michael started writing the songs for Manners, I felt like his songwriting had matured at least five years. I was very impressed by it. I think the record will show that we are capable of more than electro-pop. That's actually a big reason I'm really anticipating it being released. As much as I love MGMT & Hot Chip, I think that the comparison we get to a lot of those bands will fall by the wayside.

f/k: The band has plans to tour pretty extensively in support of Manners. What's a Passion Pit show like?

Ian: Well, they vary. In the UK a Passion Pit show consisted of somehow finding a way to squeeze all of our gear on to a small stage as fast as possible (except for KoKo, that place was enormous), only to have the power go out on stage. Some of the US shows have been known to be pretty similar, some go smoother than others. To be honest though, some of the ones that are rushed like that end up being the best shows.

f/k: As a band, you guys are very, very young. How have you grown as a band during your existence? Any growing pains?

Ian: I'd like to think that we've grown as a band. I think the biggest thing is that we've grown as people, and have become extremely close with one another.

The growing pains have come in the form of decisions we've had to make. This current line up of Passion Pit is not the original, and that was not an easy thing to achieve.

f/k: Passion Pit has deep roots in the pop music genre. What are some personal influences? Have any favorites that are playing on the Top 40 stations?

Ian: I think Wilco will always remain as my favorite band. Between Jeff Tweedy's songwriting and Nels Cline's guitar playing, they've had a huge influence on me as a musician.

As far as top 40 goes: Beyonce

f/k: What's something no one knows about Passion Pit?

Ian: Ayad, Michael & I are all actually guitar players. We didn't really start learning how to play keyboards until we joined the band.

Passion Pit on MySpace


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