Freeload: Passion Pit, “Sleepyhead” + Interview

September 05, 2008

We've been cranking Passion Pit's "Sleepyhead" for a good long minute, but it wasn't until last week that we had good reason to put it up for download. One of our favorite music blogs, Good Weather for Airstrikes, gave up the grind of talking about music for the grind of putting it out on their new label Neon Gold Records, and "Sleepyhead" is their first 7-inch release. And, as a lesson to all crusty label heads out there, they've put the mp3 up on their own site for download. Pwn3d. Coincidentally, our friend Michaella Solar-March, from Australian radio station FBi 94.5, recently interviewed Michael Angelakos from the band, so grab the song, then read what he had to say about love, life and french kisses. Passion Pit's Chunk of Change EP is out on Frenchkiss Records on September 16th.

Download: Passion Pit, "Sleepyhead"

I’ve heard stories about a Valentine's Day EP for your girlfriend... Did Passion Pit begin as a passion project?

Kind of, but more like a guilt project. I'm so bad about being timely with anything, including presents and such. My girlfriend and I have kind of marked Valentine's Day as our anniversary, but last year I, in character, did not have anything to give. I had been playing around with writing music again as I hadn't written anything in awhile. I was just making little beats with pretty, simple melodies that would make my roommates dance. They liked it and I soon realized she liked it, so I just continued to base the entire project off of how much of my nonsense she has to put up with. Believe it was effective. But, to sum it up, Passion Pit was never meant to be anything but just that… a little present.

So, are you still dating?


How did you team up with Frenchkiss Records?

To be completely honest, I'm not exactly sure of how they heard of us. I believe it had something to do with a show we played with Girl Talk, someone having kind words to say, and then the guys at FKR liking the mp3s. We met up soon after but I was pretty much certain that they were who I wanted to work with, judging from their approach within the industry, their roster, and just their personalities in general. I really have nothing but good things to say about everyone I've been working with. The ink hasn't even dried so to speak so, you know, we're all still really excited.

Was making music something you always saw yourself doing?

Yes. I used to sing "This Old Man" at the top of my lungs on these carpeted, boxy constructs at this shoe store in central New Jersey. I was like on loop. I was about 5-years-old when I recorded that tape used at the beginning of "Better Things." I had tons of fake bands throughout elementary school and what not as I was really the only person who learned how to play anything beyond saxophone or trumpet. Not really sure why that was. I come from a musical family, so I grew up listening to good music, personally drew many ideas from the Beach Boys and the Beatles. Even more recently I tried to convince myself that music was the last thing I should do, and that I'd be better off pursuing other endeavors, but I've never really felt quite as comfortable or confident in myself as I have when writing music. I suppose that's as much a curse as it is a blessing.

How did Ian, Thom and Ayad come onboard for the live shows?

Ian and our drummer at the time approached me after the first show (which I performed solo with a laptop) and said, "If you'd like, we should flesh it out sometime." I took them up on it, though it took awhile to arrange the music from being these square-ish, quantized, mechanical pieces of pop to songs for a five person, all-by-feel band. Things worked, things didn't work, and, essentially, we're still learning. It's certainly been an experience and it's way more engaging and exciting than laptop pop right now—not that we don't like laptop pop. We just like stressing ourselves out on stage and playing as many of the parts as we can.

How do you write and record the song then?
Most songs fall in place quite easily. Parts of songs become mantras, loops, bits and ideas that are scattered in my brain. But then I'll sit down and it will miraculously come together really quickly. The Chunk of Change EP was very sporadic, very quickly thrown together, and that was the idea—it was never meant to be anything but that, really. But songs like "Sleepyhead" and "Better Things" were even moreso written on the spot, or as I went along the recording process. They were very manic, hyper, and energetic (as I was at the time of their creation), but that is what I guess yields lyrics that are pretty honest and sincere. It's like blurting things out, or lying half-conscious describing your dreams. The point is that the process is pretty much entirely in my head, I have sounds and visuals and can feel and hear how they are all supposed to work with each other. I don't expect myself (or many people that create similarly) to actually pull off more than half of what they imagine, but that at least leaves you with a lot of leg-room. But it usually all begins with an overwhelming feeling or something someone says that tips me off. I know it when I feel it or hear it.

What can we expect from your debut album in 2009?

It's going to be really beautiful, I'm really happy with it so far. I think it's a step in the right direction. It's hard to explain since it's not completed, but I can say with confidence that I think people will really get a lot out of it. It's a rich, highly textured pop album. It's being produced with my friends Grant and Matt of the group Landau at their studio in Brooklyn. There will be 10 tracks total. We'll start playing those songs live in the coming weeks.

Posted: September 05, 2008
Freeload: Passion Pit, “Sleepyhead” + Interview