actorartathleteauthorbizcrimecrosspostcustomerservicedirectoredufoodgaminghealthjournalistmedicalmilmodpostmunimusicnewsworthynonprofitotherphilpolretailscispecialisedspecializedtechtourismtravelunique

MusicI am Michael Angelakos, otherwise known as Passion Pit. Ask me anything!

Mar 7th 2017 by mangelakos • 39 Questions • 103 Points

My short bio: I play in Passion Pit. I do a lot of weird/cool stuff.

My Proof: http://www.twitter.com/passionpit + http://www.twitter.com/mangelakos

Q:

What inspired Sleepyhead? It's the best song ever.

A:

Honestly, the samples usually tell the story. Was really into Mary O'hara, listening to lots of Irish folk music. But I had been making a lot Passion Pit material. I hadn't sampled anything that heavily before. But I realized I had a song that was kind of doing what that song was doing already (melodically).

In the end, I finished it in less than 2 hours... And the sound in the beginning was an accident -- had some plugin turned on accidentally that reversed the whole song and this one drum loop.

It's always the stuff that isn't perfect.


Q:

Hey M!!! I really appreciate that you are connecting with your fans a lot recently. You are an inspiration to me, not just because of your music but what you have gone through in life generally. I look up to you so much for being an open book.

So, anyway my question would have to be: how did you know that it was time to come out? Right now, I'm still confused which probably explains why I'm often too depressed.

A:

It is... very hard. I am bisexual, and to confront my homosexuality was just... a matter of time. There is not right time, which means there's always the right time, so follow your gut but understand that you need to make yourself feel happy. You need to control your narrative for you. Don't let other people hijack it. I know how hard it is, I know it's painful, and it doesn't make sense really -- but at the end of the day, you will be coming out the rest of your life. This stuff is really dumb, we should be able to be whatever we want. But you're probably a really creative person -- make it work for you. I m rooting for you.


Q:

Hey dude. What would be on your version of the best burrito ever?

A:

I go carnitas. And I go pretty simple.


Q:

Hey! Thanks for everything- your music and all you've done for mental health awareness. I'm looking forward to hearing more about The Wishart Group. Any updates you can share at this point?

A:

I am terribly anxious to update but the wait will be worth it. Actually, i think we'll be able to announce stuff pretty soon...it's a loaded thing, it's a big effort. And it's not easy because it is new.


Q:

What is to kingdom come about?

A:

That's a loaded one. I'll try to get back to this. I also don't know who to really... talk through songs, they're really emotional time capsules. Sometimes I can, sometimes I can't. I've got you though, I'll try to get back to you. xo


Q:

How was the production of Merry Christmas Mr. Fields? It looked gorgeous! Great performances too by the actors.

A:

MCMF was the single most important project of my life. And it's only just begun. It is a long-term project. It has my heart. Completely.


Q:

Is Passion Pit a band or a solo project?

A:

it's a solo project. live it is a band.


Q:

Hi Michael! First of all, shout out to you for introducing me to one of my favorite electronic DJs/artists, Madeon! Pay No Mind is one of my favorite songs ever. How did you meet Madeon? How was it like working with him? Also, have you seen him perform on his own tour or during the Shelter tour?

A:

he reached out to me. he's so damn good. he's super nice. he's very smart. he's super driven. he's probably just going to keep on crushing it. he's a good friend, i'm proud of him.


Q:

Hello Michael! Thanks for doing the AMA. I have only recently discovered your music through a friend of mine and i have been enjoying it a lot. I really love your fast paced songs like "I'm Perfect" and was wondering if we would see more of that on TSOL?

Also, come to DALLAS. There are a lot of Passion Pit fans here wanting to meet you.

A:

yeah was thinking i'd push some faster stuff, actually. but it's amazing to see that like, at the end of the day, these songs can be arranged in so many ways, tempo, pace, all of that stuff i just packaging. but yeah, i hear you, i actually thought similarly.


Q:

How would you feel if Trump's secretly a big fan of your works? LOLLL

A:

oh, god... well, maybe i could make him feel something, but i highly doubt it. let's be real. so, really, nothing.


Q:

Is a hotdog a sandwich?

A:

Basically. We're really into classifying stuff, aren't we?


Q:

Advice to aspiring producers?

A:

Make a ton of music, that's your business card. Share fearlessly. Flip other songs. Don't just go with what's working now, you're supposed to be developing what's next.


Q:

Is TSOL being released to streaming services at some point? I fucking adore pretty much all of it so I'm hoping it isn't just a Youtube experiment

A:

Well, let's just consider that usually, yes, a service like that will have it. But if something isn't an experiment, I get kind of bored. Also, at the end of the day, I have very specific plans for it, and I don't think it's what you're thinking. But i think you'll be pleasantly surprised.


Q:

Hi Michael!

I love your music so, so much. Kindred was my most played album last year. I realized I was in love/gay while my friend and I were listening to Constant Conversations, and whenever I play that song, or Where The Sky Hangs (his favourite), I can't help but smile. We're about 6000 miles apart and I don't feel that way but listening to your music reminds me of him, and makes me think of love.

Questions:

  • Do you think you'll be playing in Korea in the future?

  • How does Dancing On The Graves make you feel?

  • Will TSOL see a tour release?

  • Are you single? If not, wanna go on a date in Seoul?

(PS, /r/popheads LOVES you. You're basically the only non-top 40 artist that gets played)

A:

Hopefully Korea, yes! DOTG makes me feel, well, it's a really important song, i think it was when i stopped feeling like I NEED TO PUT DANCE BEATS IN EVERY SONG TO IDENTIFY AS PASSION PIT. It's just pop music, really. It's all melody, that's my focal point.


Q:

Hey Michael,

Are there still plans to repress old records like gossamer and manners?

Thanks for the sweet jams, Noah

A:

Yes! This is a grueling process, i promise you that vinyl is very important to me and I think the price points on this stuff is just criminal. I am working really hard with some people to do this right.


A:

i think that's... wait that's actually an early demo of i'll be alright. believe it or not.


Q:

You responded to my retweet about you not getting paid for a concert you held in Manila a while back. I just lazily typed "awkward" and you responded "¯_(ツ)_/¯ tell me about it." I just had to let you know, that had me feeling pretty cool.

Besides not getting paid to play in Manila (which is terrible and inexcusable), what did you like about the Philippines? Did you get to travel around at all? The magic lies outside the city for sure! Hope you got paid man, your music is the common ground between mine and my girlfriend's taste in music, so thanks for being the glue that keeps us together on road trips!

A:

everyone was very nice. the crowd was amazing. sometimes stuff happens. my point was, the people who haven't paid me could have just been kind about it. but then, all of this happened, and this was ABSOLUTELY INSANE TO WATCH. but people lie, and most people immediately assume an artist lies, but what's really frightening is when an artist is spot-on and telling the truth. it scares the hell out of people. as to why, that is the main point of all of that. i'm probably not going to get paid. but in a way, i don't even have to. money is a stupid energy. i am just a guy. underestimation is a weapon.


Q:

Hey Michael. You're my favorite band. I love your music. My question is: How are you doing? Since Gossamer (one of my favorite albums by the way) you've seemed to be doing much better.

A:

somedays great, somedays not so great. just like anyone else. the harder i work the happier i am.


Q:

Hi Michael, long time fan of your music. I listen to it when I write poetry (and dance in my room by myself), so thank you for all that you do. What is your creative process like? You've cultivated quite a distinct style, and I was wondering what your approach is to creating a song from beginning to end, including the lyric writing too.

A:

i'm basically a tornado, and when i kind of am in a controlled environment, sometimes i finish stuff and it works. no one has any idea what the hell i'm talking about or getting at until it's done. and that's why i love the hell out of anyone that helps me, because it's not easy, but it can be really fun. for the most part, there's no set way of starting anything. it just... it's a chaos, and i'd prefer to keep it that way, because in the end it's just... a thing. it renders something. it's funny.


Q:

Hey Michael,

What is this mystery song and where/when is it from? I've had it on my computer for over 5 years and I'm not sure where I got it. But it was listed under 'Chunk of Change'. I listen to it constantly.

Thanks for being here and your music has changed my life, luv ya bud.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Il_dkweaGy0

A:

Oh, that was a theme song for my friends who had this comedy troupe called Zebro. That was pre-Ableton!


Q:

I'm sure you hear this from a lot of people, but I just want to start by saying how much your music means to me. I've been struggling with anxiety and depression for years now, and your music really spoke to me more than any other artists. What you do is very inspiring, the way you can portray how you--and so many other people--feel through music, and the way you can push on and remain positive, it's just inspiring. People like you keep people like me going, so thank you for that.

Apologies for the long intro, on to my question: How do you take all your feelings/thoughts and use them to create coherent lyrics and music? I've always tried writing songs but I always have so many thoughts and feelings popping into my head at once that it's impossible to create anything meaningful or understandable. Additionally, what is your writing process?You seem to do a great job of creating vibrant instrumentals which contrast somewhat darker lyrics, is that always the intent or does it just seem to happen?

Thank you so much for doing this ama! It really means a lot to me and everyone else, I'm excited to read your responses!

A:

How do you take all your feelings/thoughts and use them to create coherent lyrics and music? I have no idea, I think it's from working a lot. It takes practice. It takes a long time to make sense of what you're doing. And in the process, you sometimes don't know what you're doing. Actually, most of the time. And that's because you're in it. And that's kind of what it's all about.

My writing process is insane. No one understands it until they're around me for awhile. It's a very weird thing, it evolves, and it's just... it's like your personality -- you accept it, and you take constructive criticism because people who believe in what you're doing they're just trying to help. But in the end you just do whatever you have to do.

The dichotomy you're talking about is literally the point of passion pit. Feelings are complex, they are not happy or sad, etc. They don't sound or look like what they are. It's basically, to me, ideology.


Q:

Hey, Micheal.. wanna ask what's your favorite song to perform live??

A:

man, we did cuddle fuddle, all live, in nyc... that was really fun. and we never do it. ever. i think that's essentially the model. deprive yourself of joy. hahahaha. ridiculous, we should really play it more.


Q:

Going off of this, do you tend to prefer slower paced songs or the more upbeat, fast ones (both when making them and when playing live)?

A:

no preference.


Q:

How do you go from a 4 bar loop to a full song ? How do you develop ideas for your songs ?

A:

I have no idea ! it's pretty easy to me, everything just unfolds. I mean everything kind of starts with a little loop, you know? and you just... quit allowing it to be a loop and start unraveling it.


Q:

I never really listened to much music until a friend sent me a link to some of your music and I fell in love with it.

Just one question, dogs or cats?

A:

Cats. Dogs are cool. Cats are just...emotionally way more tapped in then ANYONE gives them credit for.


Q:

When can we expect to see your new music on Google Play?

A:

that will happen, i'm sure. just enjoy it, you know? and rip the music, whatever. it's not like i'm not going to write and release many more songs! in the meantime, this is a moment, and look what it's doing? this isn't a one-shot -- it's a volley! thanks for supporting me


Q:

What's the hardest song that you have to play live? Hard in the sense that it means a lot to you and it makes you feel all kinds of stuff that you may actually tear up while playing that song.

P.s. Manila misses you a lot!!!! Come back, alright?

A:

They're actually all pretty hard. I mean, it's way more athletic of a show than I ever want to admit, and I realize it about, I don't know, 3 minutes in. But then it gets fun again.


Q:

I actually just started messing around with a free demo of Ableton recently since I saw a tweet you posted about using it! (I have no musical experience and cannot sing but it's quite fun since there's no pressure!)

A:

also, i am making the songs the night before i release them. so if that tells you anything...


Q:

How did you come up with the name Passion Pit?

A:

was in a fashion class, studying the 50's, was the name used, in slang, referring to drive-in movie theaters. i passed a note to my friend, and was like, "band name?" and she wrote back "no."

hahaha


Q:

Michael! Youre amazing. Boston loves you! My dad just discovered Manners and is completely obsessed. He tells me what he loves about every song on the album.

Do you have a specific album(s) (of any time any genre any band) that you put on repeat and never get sick of?

A:

Nat King Cole's collection The Nat King Cole Story in Stereo has been hitting me hard.


Q:

Michael,

Have you ever considered to try and make a different genre of music?

A:

have you heard merry christmas mr fields? the album i released in december?


Q:

Hey, In 2015, the Big Guava Music Festival had a little thing on Instagram where if someone commented why they wanted to go to the fest, they would pick one person's comment to get free tix to the show/fest. At the time (more then/still a bit now) i was going through a rough patch and at the time your music had a pretty profound and helpful impact on me, so i wrote a pretty long thing about this and they gave me the tickets, so thanks for giving me that opportunity to see my favorite show to this day. I don't really have a great question on mind but here's one to fill in the space.

  • As a sound guy/designer in musical theatre, what is the oddest interaction you've had with a sound guy/girl at one of your shows? (if you've had any)

Thanks for making them funky ass tunes!

A:

ha i feel like MY LIFE has been, actually, learning to admire and love sound guys/girls. really, there is the band, then there's the crew. the crew is the band too. really, love your crew. take care of your crew. sometimes i didn't, sometimes i did. there was never a real personal reason if i didn't, but i can tell you right now, a pp show is super hard, and we are nothing without hardworking, super-talented crew members.


Q:

I got to see you at Bottlerock in 2015 and recorded nearly the whole show on my phone for my lil sis who couldn't make it. Ever consider coming to Portland so we can experience your music together this time? :)

A:

portland always fun. yes


Q:

Hey Michael,

Huge fan of your music! I listened to it a ton in high school and rediscovered it college. It's really meaningful to me as someone who's slowly working through lifelong anxiety and depression. Can't wait for the new album!

How does it feel doing the falsetto? And how do you decide to incorporate it into a song?

A:

it's actually not REALLY my falsetto, it's kind of called supervoice? like if i sang in falsetto all of the time, which is breathier, i'd lose my voice everyday. but actually i strengthened my voice at a time when it would've continued to change and deepen, as i was singing really really high for years at a time. and something happened. and now i have...a higher voice than i did in high school. nature is weird.


Q:

Was carried away based on your life?

A:

all of my songs in some way are, yes. or interactions with people in it.


Q:

What was it like working with Benny Blanco?

A:

fun dude.


Q:

Huge fan, currently in my last semester of college and have been listening since freshman year of highschool! Music is one of (if not the) most important thing in my life. Who are the bands/artists you listened to that made you realize your passion for music? Thank you for everything you've done and given us

A:

damon albarn from blur is a hero, that's for sure.


Q:

I didn't buy the Christmas album because I was hoping a CD/DVD release would happen. I should have just bought it and then done the videos after idk I kinda wanted the first experience to be with the video. Anyway, my question is will there be a physical CD/DVD release of Merry Christmas Mr. Fields?

A:

watch the video album on youtube!


Q:

Hey Michael! "My Brother Taught Me How to Swim" means the absolute world to me because my brother has gotten me through a lot with depression, aspergers, bipolar, etc. So I just wanted to know more about how he's helped you, and what he's done to inspire you to write the song. Also how do you/did you repay him? I often question this because my brother is my world, and I wouldn't be alive today without him and with that being said, I feel like he needs something in return.

A:

my brother is a message. he is an enormously important person. like many people, he doesn't feel important. and so i wrote a song about him. it doesn't really mean much, but it does to me, and maybe it did to him. he's a wonderful guy, i love him very much.