by Haley Cullingham
Passion Pit is on the phone with us from Texas, and they’re riding dirty: “I could probably be on the phone holding a shot gun while driving and they’d be all right with it,” says Jeff Apruzzese , of his drive through the original home of the outlaws.
Apruzzese knows a thing or two about rebellion himself. How does a kid growing up in the garden state stick it to the man? Try and hate The Boss . But when your uncle used to jam with him in your Grandma’s garage, you’re going to succumb eventually. For Apruzzese, a hand-me-down vinyl of Born To Run secured Springsteen’s place in his ultimate fantasy supergroup, along with Lou Reed on guitar and Pino Palladino (who could take a hiatus from touring with The Who ) on bass.
While Passion Pit won’t be teaming up with this trifecta of legends anytime soon, they did share a spot on the
Bonnaroo lineup with Bruce this year, before playing a sold-out show at Lee’s Palace in Toronto. A big jump from playing local clubs after winning a Best Music Poll in Boston-Passion Pit is like a delicate and melodic electronica juggernaut that came out of nowhere and took over your playlist.
“Our sound is like an elf hiding out in the woods, playing African beats,” says Apruzzese. Critics have compared them to everyone from MGMT to Of Montreal , but to them, one stands out: “We’re big fans of Ben Gibbard , so the Postal Service comparison is the most flattering.”
Other bands they’re into lately are The Joy Formidable and Grizzly Bear . “They sing 4-part harmonies effortlessly, and it really pisses me off!” Apruzzese enthuses. For a member of one of the most buzzed-about bands of the summer, he has a lot of musician envy: “I wish I could be a great Motown player, but unfortunately I’m a skinny white guy, not a big fat black guy.”
The band grew up with an eclectic mix of sounds, from Motown to Sonic Youth , and that diaspora comes across in the sonic sound odyssey that is their music. Of the new album, Manners , Apruzzese says there are two songs that really amaze him: Little Secrets, and Let Your Love Grow Tall. “When I started to hear those songs come together,” he says, “I was like ‘wow.’”
The process of creation is slow moving for the band- Michael Angelakos writes the skeletons of the songs, and brings them to the rest of the band, who flesh them out. While they’re still works-in-progress, the songs get titles like “Fucking Shit,” and “Untitled Fucking Shit.” These names can stick-so much so that in interviews, the band has to check themselves to avoid slipping up the names of their own tracks.
With success and ubiquity looming, Passion Pit seem to be living relatively slip-up free these days. Well, almost. At the end of our conversation, Apruzzese is waxing so enthusiastically about his imaginary supertrio that he runs a Texan red light. Sorry, Texas police force, but that’s life for a band of outlaws on the edge of success-move fast and don’t look back.