PASSION PIT are on the brink of releasing their much anticipated sophomore album, Gossamer, which I can reveal is really great (had an advance copy for a wee while now, just on the down-low). Michael Angelakos was on doctor-ordered vocal rest so didn’t wanna chat on the phone, so Cheese on Toast sent him a few Q’s for his A’s – and together they made this Q&A…
What did you do today / last night?
I shot a music video for Constant Conversations and had a few key scenes with Peter Bogdanovich. We talked for quite awhile. He’s absolutely lovely and the video is going to be insane.
Why have you chosen to call the new album Gossamer?
It was actually a working title that I just decided on one day at random. And then we couldn’t shake it. I worked to change it but it ended up fitting well. I like it.
Where did you record the new album?
Lots of strange locations, but ultimately at Gigantic Studios in New York City. That was where Manners was recorded also.
Last year, I read that you intended to release ‘several editions’ of the album – what did you mean by that and is it still happening?
This is a dream but this can only happen if we sell lots of records. If we do, we have amazing ideas in the pipeline and there will be tons of extra material, visuals, and so on to play with. Lots of fun handmade things. Unfortunately, even since I made that statement, the music industry has changed so much. I’m afraid we might not see anything special version for awhile. So, patience is required for the various editions. Sorry.
You recently said that the new album ‘moves like an opera’ – can you expand on that for us, what do you mean?
Sure. When I was rather young my father introduced me to opera. I think it was Puccini’s La Boheme. So, we can get comparative. On Gossamer, there is an overture, which is “Take a Walk” for me as it speaks about the men who came before me, men in my family, who possess a central issue with finances and transparency— or lack thereof. Anyway, this sets the overall tone for the record as I push to negate this terrible issue. There’s the typical choral scene that blasts open and sets the actual stage and introduces the characters, that’s “I’ll Be Alright.” This energy then dwindles into an exciting but more slimmed down ensemble-like piece: “Carried Away,” into “Constant Conversations” which feels like my aria, a confessional. There are a few emotional aria’s that take on different tones, almost like different characters, like on “On My Way.” Anyway, “Two Veils to Hide My Face” works almost like a traditional Greek Chorus, delving into and explaining a loftier notion of higher power, which would never be discussed through my character depicted on Gossamer.
Basically, the sequencing ebbs and flows much like florid operatics. From beginning to end it just feels so theatrical to me, and it includes an ensemble cast in the lyrics. So, I loosely set it up that way. I like reading into it as such, it’s pretty fun to match it up. But it actually kind of works on a literal level, though I was mostly referring to the record moving along like an opera.
How do you find being signed to Columbia as opposed to an ‘indie’ label affects your creative output?
I’ve actually been signed to Columbia since 2009. It was on the CD and internationally it’s always been Sony. I like Columbia and we have a really great relationship. I’ve always had creative control, so that’s not an issue. Most “indie’ labels are owned by majors, so I find that more false than just signing to the damn major label. But, in the end, it’s actually allowed me tons of creative freedom and I’ve gotten lots of really interesting experiences because of Columbia. I’m actually quite grateful to them.
I understand that you’re on ‘vocal rest’ at the moment – how careful do you need to be with your voice – are you quite precious of it?
As careful as any singer. I was super dehydrated and stressed out. I over sang to compensate. I’m taking it easy. You actually are more likely to lose your voice talking than singing.
What’s next for Passion Pit – touring / festivals etc?
Seems like it’s going to be never ending but we are quite excited and nervous. We’re excited to just release the damn album already and get a move on. But yes, this is going to be solid work for a few years.
Do you have a preference in playing festivals or our own shows? Which and why?
I like playing our own shows because we’re in control. It’s our stage. Everything’s setup. All my anxiety evaporates. It’s lovely. Definitely club shows.
Plans for another New Zealand visit?
Don’t know— hopefully!
Gossamer is out next week – July 24th