Passion Pit: “EDM has made festivals much more difficult for bands”

The rise of EDM has changed the festival landscape for bands, says Passion Pit’s Michael Angelakos, who’s been on a seemingly never-ending road trip since the release of last year’s euphoric pop ride Gossamer. Speaking to FL via email, Angelakos says bands have had to adapt to a crowd conditioned to high-energy dance sets. “Festivals require a lot more energy,” he says, “so developing a set that both flows well and maintains a higher energy level is key.”

He said festivals have become “increasingly more confusing”, especially for a band like Passion Pit, who straddle both rock and dance worlds. “EDM has made festivals much more difficult for bands,” he explains, “because you’ll have a ton of DJs with laptops putting on crazy light shows and high energy dance parties in contrast to rock shows that ebb and flow with tempos and energy … So, knowing the context of the festival is crucial. You have to really engage.”

Passion Pit were last in Australia for Parklife 2012, and have done an “insane” amount of touring since. “I’ve also been working on a number of outside projects,” says Angelakos, “but it’s mostly been Passion Pit and promoting the record as it’s still growing and growing.”

The band are currently in Canada en route to Splendour In The Grass in Byron Bay in July, as well as sideshows in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. So what keeps bringing them back? “The people are almost shockingly friendly, there are great oysters, the crowds are always fun. I always rack up a ton of miles in turn for traveling over 40 hours to and from it … We love Australia, and that’s that.”

Passion Pit’s Splendour tour will include an under-18s show at Melbourne’s Hi-Fi at the end of the month. “I wish all of our shows could be under 18,” Angelakos says. “I am so blown away when I see younger kids dedicating so much time to my music at such a crucial point in their emotional maturation. It’s a crazy thing to think about – I idolised and worshipped bands and singer-songwriters when I was younger, even in college … I remember being gutted when I had my [fake] ID taken from me and I couldn’t go to shows for awhile. It sucks. It’s certainly a form of discrimination that artists can’t really do that much about.”

The band’s most recent video, ‘Carried Away’, centres on a volatile relationship between Angelakos and US actor Sophia Bush from One Tree Hill. The clip was directed by Ben and Alex Brewer, who have worked with the likes of Alt J, Purity Ring and Skylar Grey. “She [Sophia] was an enormous pleasure to work with – really fun, really understood Passion Pit and the specific vision for that video. I’m really proud of that video and am such a fan of Brewer, the directors. The videos for this album have just gotten better and better. For the most part, I don’t really love music videos, but these videos changed my perspective quite a bit.”

Passion Pit’s tour kicks off on July 27 at The Enmore Theatre. More dates below.

Passion Pit tour

Saturday, July 27 – The Enmore, Sydney

Sunday, July 28 – Spelndour In The Grass, Byron Bay

Tuesday, July 30 – The Palace, Melbourne

Wednesday, July 31 – The HiFi, Melbourne (under 18’s show)

Friday, August 2 – Spin Off Festival, Adelaide

Sunday, August 4 – Villa, Perth