The road's been less than straight and narrow for the boys of Passion Pit on their latest tour. Shows have been cancelled and rescheduled, and lead singer and creative force Michael Angelakos has been in and out of treatment concerning his mental health. Nevertheless, fans still seem to be incredibly eager to catch their live set. Their gig at the Royal Oak Music Theatre this Saturday is the hot ticket thanks to throngs of fans eager to swallow up their indie electro pop sound.
So what is it exactly about the tunes pumped out by this fairly new musical incarnation of Massachusetts boys? Their sound's been coined as revolutionary, but according to the band's drummer, Nate Donmoyer, their music is anything but.
"I don't think what we're going is groundbreaking at all," he says. "I think a lot of bands and musicians were doing the same sort of thing we're doing long before we started. Basically, it's been done before, but maybe not exactly the same way."
Regardless of whether a precedent was set before them or not, their music is at the tippy top of electro pop lovers' favorite lists. Their second full length record, Gossamer, was released in July and reached number four on the Billboard 200, 45 spots higher than their debut LP, Manners. While a devoted fan base as well as critical acclaim has followed them to their latest release, that level of success often breeds more pressure to stay on top.
"We definitely want people to keep coming back," says Donmoyer. "We want to keep people interested so we're constantly trying to improve musically. We're always trying to step up our stage production and now we can really afford to put together a better experience."
You won't find yourself bored at the current incarnation of a Passion Pit show, however. In fact, as much as they are innovative with their sound they are equally so with their live shows, Donmoyer says the group's been talking a lot lately about taking their sets to the next level. Referencing performances by Bloc Party and Animal Collective, he says their concerts tend to be a visceral, high octane free-fall where the crowd's vigor feeds off the band and vice versa.
"It's pretty high-energy. Everyone's dancing and sweating and having a really good time. It makes it so much more exciting with everyone jammed in there together going crazy," says the drummer.
The band might currently stand as the master of the universe in their chosen genre, but mightier groups have tumbled into dysfunction and out of the public's good graces. Donmoyer seems conscious that making music, and doing so successfully, has as much to do with fans sticking around as it does with the band sticking together.
"I'll feel lucky if we're still playing together in five years," says Donomoyer, who also currently mixes EDM tracks under the DJ moniker Shuttle.
"Hopeully we'll just keep playing bigger and bigger venues and putting together a more complete show and growing musically," he says.
Though they're currently riding the high of Gossamer's success, the group's already moving forward with creating new music. And with a new record will come a new incorporation of sound as well. Perhaps working off the current burgeoning genre known as PBR&B, Donomoyer says there will definitely be more R&B elements weaving their way into their new music. And considering their current sound is fairly easily summed up as feminine and melodic, it will be interesting to see how these boys transcend genre and sound in the years to come.
"You can groove so hard to a lot of darker stuff," he says. "I think we're really going to be looking get darker and darker." | RDW
Passion Pit • 11/2, 8 p.m. • Royal Oak Music Theatre • 318 W. Fourth Street, Royal Oak • 248.399.2980 • royaloakmusictheatre.com • Sold Out