Few bands have experienced the vast and nearly-instantaneous hype that Passion Pit received upon their emergence; fewer still have been able to push themselves through the initial wave of success to establish themselves as unique and relevant artists. Passion Pit has cemented their longevity by spending the last year touring relentlessly in support of their debut full-length Manners. In doing so, they've managed an impressive feat: maintaining their creative core against the rigors of relentless expectations and the endless road. In the run up to their latest performance in Montreal, LOOKOUT got to sit down with guitarist Ian Hultquist to discuss the band's origins and future plans.
What was it like going to school at Berklee School of Music, a key creative center in Boston, and what drove you to move on to New York?
I moved to Brooklyn because I felt like I was ready to. Basically, I felt like I had done all that I could while living in Boston. I only lived there for around five or six years but I felt that I had done enough where I could take the next step and move to Brooklyn. Also, it sort of made sense in a couple different ways. Being on the road so much, it almost doesn’t matter where you live. Brooklyn is where I was spending most of my time, anyways, so that was the main draw.
I first met Mike [Angelakos] when he played a solo show at some party in Emerson. It was in a basement and he was doing a sort of weird video installation piece. He taped a flashlight onto a video camera and streaming the footage onto a screen behind him. He had some one go around the party with the camera set up shooting peoples’ faces. It all came out pretty weird.
The band has been touring pretty extensively over last year in support of your last record, Manners. How is the band dealing with the road?
Yeah, we’ve been touring a lot the past year. It’s more manageable now because we worked a new tour schedule. Now we go out over frequent 2-week stretches rather than staying on the road for months at a time. We don’t write music while we’re on the road, but I think the last stretch of the tour is ending soon. We’ll start working on the next album when that’s all done.
Before Manners, you released the Chunk of Change EP. Between the two, there was obviously a serious upgrade in the recording technology available to you. How did it change the sound and experience of recording after being set loose in the new studio?
It definitely changed a lot. Mike recorded the songs on Chunk of Change by himself on his computer, singing the lyrics into the built-in mic. He did it all on stock programs too. When we were able to go into a real studio and fool around, it was kind of like being a kid in a candy store. We just had so many new tools available to us. We were able to experiment more and be a bit more expressive.
Passion Pit played in Montreal last summer, what did you think of the show and the city?
It’s great; the people there, the music, the life. We were there for Pop Montreal, which was awesome. We had a really, really good time. The band had never been there before and it was one of the best dates we had. We're looking forward to getting back there.