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Page last updated at 11:25 GMT, Wednesday, 25 March 2009
Passion Pit always seeking change

By Greg Cochrane
Newsbeat music reporter

Newsbeat went in to ask about how the Boston band fed their children's choir and came out discussing artistic control. How very grown up.

Passion Pit
Passion Pit return to tour the UK this May.

"We kind of got ripped out of the studio and now we're on tour," says Michael Angelakos a little sulkily. "You do what you've got to do."

Reclining today on a brown sofa 12 hours after their first ever UK gig in Brighton, the Boston band - three of the five, Michael, Jeff and Ian - already look shattered.

With moonlight tans, baggy eyelids and tired voices, bedraggled, it seems, is just their style.

Hotly tipped

But first, for those not acquainted, art-popsters PP [essentially Angelakos joined by friends Ian Hultquist, Ayad Al Adhamy, Jeff Apruzzese and Nate Donmoyer to perform live] became the blogosphere's most fiercely tipped outfit last summer.

Comparisons to Animal Collective and MGMT were immediately drawn.

They were promptly signed, thrust into the studio and then out on tour - we sense they're still dizzy.

"Everything just happened so fast where everyone is like, 'Do this! Do this! Do this!' and we're like, 'OK, urrrrgh'," begins kingpin Angelakos.

The resultant flurry has meant the group's artistic chieftain has had to relinquish some control.

Passion Pit
Michael Angelakos recorded debut LP Manners in New York

"It's a struggle between you and the label," explains their curly 21-year-old leader. "It doesn't matter how great the label is, it's still business. You're still trying to figure things out by doing things the way you want to do it."

A healthy control freak by nature, you get the impression Angelakos isn't entirely comfortable with relinquishing his long term vision for Passion Pit.

"If we had our way we'd look a completely different way probably but that's just the way it is right now," he adds.

"In a year's time, I guarantee you'll see probably what we'll want to look like - if we're still around.

"We're always working and it's always going to change."

He admits the pace of their ascent has brought with it extra burdens.

"If we want this to be our job we have to deal with the negative parts about it," he says. "But even the negative parts are just annoyances."

However, this isn't the tail of woe it may appear. Passion Pit are a stunning prospect, but also a comment on the industry's hunger to fast track embryonic bands to the big time.

"Before this I went to a school for music business and that's kind of why I wanted to get into the industry," says bassist Jeff. "I kind of got very lucky that I got steered away from that."

Good manners

Despite their reservations Angelakos has crafted their debut album Manners - the follow up their Chunk Of Change EP and released on 11 May - recorded over two months in New York last autumn.

"I went in pretty much unprepared and we came out with 11 songs," he recalls.

The product is something very special indeed, a collaborative, cohesive slice of "skewed pop" [their words] madness. Horns, strings and vibes are augmented, mostly strikingly, by a full children's choir on new single The Reeling.

In a year's time, I guarantee you'll see probably what we'll want to look like - if we're still around
Michael Angelakos, Passion Pit

"The producer [Chris Zane] had found them just on a YouTube video then emailed the director of the [school] choir," he explains.

"So we got them a bus, we got them over; we got them the day off and got them a ton of pizzas. We sent them the demos and the kids already had the parts worked out.

"It was like a dream come true."

Indeed, the children's choir's delivery matches Angelakos's own high-pitched, distinctive vocal delivery.

"I was able to integrate that [the choir] into the record so seamlessly it makes it different to Peter, Bjorn and John if they throw it on a song.

"They use it as an instrument as opposed to an integral part of the vocal sound that we have already been developing."

Passion Pit might still only be in their own early stages of development, but their constant musical evolution is key. "It's absolutely integral," smiles Angelakos.

Given time and space, PP could be 2009's most inventive new band.

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