Michael Angelakos

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Michael Angelakos
Flickr - moses namkung - Passion Pit 1.jpg
Michael Angelakos fronting Passion Pit at the Treasure Island Music Festival in 2009
Background information

(1987-05-19) May 19, 1987 (age 27),

New Brunswick, New Jersey, U.S.
Origin Buffalo, New York, U.S.
Genres Indie rock, synthpop, indie pop, alternative dance, indietronica, new wave, psychedelic rock
Instruments Vocals, bass, synth, piano
Years active 2007–present
Labels Frenchkiss, Columbia
Associated acts Passion Pit, Matt and Kim, Aislyn, Shuttle, Skrillex

Michael Angelakos (born May 19, 1987) is an American singer-songwriter, composer, record producer and musician. He is best known as the frontman of the indietronica band Passion Pit.[1] Angelakos famously started Passion Pit unknowingly after making an EP for his then-girlfriend as a belated Valentine's Day gift. Two tracks, "Sleepyhead" and "Better Things", were added for the commercial release of the EP.[2] The same year of their debut EP's release, the band was chosen as "Best New Local Act in 2008" in the WFNX/Boston Phoenix best music poll.[3] Angelakos then developed Passion Pit further by releasing their debut LP Manners. ClashMusic.com commented that the album "has every chance to rank as one of the year's best" and that "it reveals additional nuances with each visit: a sure-fire sign of an album with true longevity".[4] Later, in an August 2010 interview with the NME, Angelakos stated that work had already begun on the follow-up to Manners entitled "Gossamer", and that the band intended to release the album in the spring of 2011.[5] Gossamer released on July 24 of 2012, which received positive reviews from most music critics. The Guardian's Caroline Sullivan commented that Angelakos' "ability to create sunlight and sparkle with an arsenal of sequencers and computers remains consistent, and is the album's real point of interest."[6]


Passion Pit (2008-present)[edit]

The first Passion Pit songs, which would later become the Chunk of Change EP, were written by Angelakos at Emerson College as a belated Valentine's Day gift to his then-girlfriend. At first, he wrote and performed all his material alone using a laptop. After one of his solo shows in the Boston area, Ian Hultquist, who was attending Berklee at the time, approached Angelakos and expressed interest in creating and playing music collaboratively.[7] They formed a group that consisted of Angelakos, Hultquist, Ayad Al Adhamy, Thom Plasse (bass), and Adam Lavinsky (drums). The band spent a considerable amount of time trying to flesh out a collaborative format and structure that would work best for them. Jeff Apruzzese and Nate Donmoyer joined the band shortly after they signed to Frenchkiss in 2008, replacing Plasse and Lavinsky, respectively.[8][9] In 2012, Adhamy was replaced by Xander Singh.

2007–09: Chunk of Change[edit]

The band's debut EP, Chunk of Change, was released on September 16, 2008.[3] The first four tracks were those that Angelakos had written as a gift for his girlfriend, which had already become popular throughout the Emerson College campus, where Angelakos was attending classes at the time, and had been passing out his own, self-produced copies.

The first and only single to be released from the EP, "Sleepyhead", received a good deal of exposure through its use in numerous media campaigns and advertisements, while the video for the song, directed by The Wilderness, was included on Pitchfork's Top 40 Music Videos of 2008 list.[10] The song contains samples of "Óró Mo Bháidín" by Irish singer and harpist Mary O'Hara.[11]

Other songs from the EP received some exposure as well. "Cuddle Fuddle" was featured in E4's second series of The Inbetweeners and "I've Got Your Number" was used in an advertisement for the cash card from O2, Money in the UK.

2009–11: Manners[edit]

The band's first full-length studio album, Manners, was released on May 18, 2009 in the UK and May 19, 2009 in the United States and Canada.[12] In celebration, the band played their record release party on the 18th in New York City on a Rocks Off boat cruise.[13]

In order to obtain a specific background vocal accompaniment the band was looking for on Manners, Passion Pit enlisted the help of the PS22 chorus, who recorded vocals in-studio for three of the album's songs: "The Reeling", "Little Secrets", and "Let Your Love Grow Tall."[14] "The Reeling" was the first single to be released from the album and found success on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart in the fall of 2009, where it peaked at number 34 in October[15] and "Little Secrets" was the third single to be released and had success on the chart as well, topping out at number 39. "Let Your Love Grow Tall" was never released as a single but had some exposure being used in the sixteenth episode of the fourth season of the TV series Ugly Betty.

The album's second single, "To Kingdom Come", was used in the Rhapsody commercial for its iPhone application.

"Sleepyhead" was the only track from Chunk of Change to be included on the album and was made available from iTunes for free as a discovery download in 2009. The song continued to receive additional exposure through its appearances in advertisements. It was used in a season 3 episode of the teen-drama, Skins and most recently in the debut trailer for LittleBigPlanet 2,[16] which led to the band's increased popularity amongst fans and players of the game, who eventually created an in-game instrumental version of the song to listen to in the first game. When the sequel was released, it came with the song's actual instrumental version used in the trailer.

The song "Moth's Wings" was used in the fourth episode of the third season of the CW teen drama Gossip Girl and in the closing credits of episode 36 of HBO's Big Love. It appeared in the FIFA 10 video game and was featured in the film Life as We Know It, starring Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel. Additionally, the track has been used as a background theme for Sky Sports' coverage of the UEFA Champions League and as the music for a dance routine in Episode 5, Season 8, of the US television show So You Think You Can Dance, which received a standing ovation from the show's judges.It was also featured in MTV's show Awkward.[17]

In June 2009, the band performed at the Glastonbury Festival 2009 in Pilton, Somerset, England, where they dedicated the final song of their set to festival headliner Jarvis Cocker, who was to perform on the same stage later that same day.[18] Afterwards, NME, while favorably reviewing Passion Pit's performance, incorrectly reported the band as having dedicated their entire set to Cocker.[19]

On April 13, 2010, the band reissued Manners in a deluxe edition format which contained new artwork and three additional tracks: stripped-down versions of "Sleepyhead" and "Moth's Wings" and a cover of The Cranberries' song "Dreams". The deluxe release coincided with the extension of their North American headlining tour.[20]

The band released another cover in June 2010, this time offering up their take on The Smashing Pumpkins hit song "Tonight, Tonight" as part of a promotion with Levi's called "Pioneer Sessions".[21]

In September 2010, Passion Pit toured with the English band Muse as their opening act for eight shows during their fall tour through parts of the U.S.[22] Following those supporting shows, the band headlined the Campus Consciousness Tour, produced by Pretty Polly Productions in collaboration with Guster guitarist Adam Gardner's non-profit organization Reverb. The two-week tour featured stops at twelve college campuses and, in addition to the music, focused on promoting eco-friendly lifestyles. Opening acts for the tour included Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears and K. Flay.

2011–present: Gossamer[edit]

In an August 2010 interview with NME, Angelakos stated that work had already begun on the follow-up to Manners and that the band intended to release the album in the spring of 2011.[23] He then said that it will be released early in 2012,[citation needed] and finally that the release date was July 24.

On April 24, 2012, Angelakos announced the title of the album, Gossamer, and that it would be released on July 24, 2012.

On May 7, the first track from Gossamer was released, called "Take a Walk".[24]

On June 12, the second track from Gossamer was released, called "I'll Be Alright". The track leaked early on June 11 and was released as an NME premiere on June 8.[25]

On July 9, a third track from Gossamer, called "Constant Conversations", was reviewed and featured as "best new track" by Pitchfork. It was released with the review as streamed content.[26] Gossamer was officially released on July 20, 2012.

On October 13, they performed on Saturday Night Live. They played "Take a Walk" and "Carried Away."[27]

Angelakos, Kill The Noise and Fatman Scoop appeared on "Recess", the second single and title track from American record producer Skrillex's debut album Recess. The single was released on July 7, 2014.

Personal life[edit]

Angelakos was born at Saint Peter's Hospital in New Brunswick, NJ and lived in nearby Bound Brook, N.J. His parents moved to Buffalo, N.Y., 1999, long after his father changed careers from music teacher to successful stockbroker. At seven, he started his first band, Dead Grass, and made himself a canvas tote bag as personal merch, emblazoned with a painting of a meadow on fire and fake band members lying about. While living in Buffalo, he developed an appreciation for ska, forming the locally successful band, Cherry Bing. He also experimented with a number of other musical ventures throughout his years at Nichols School, delving into different musical forms and composition expanding his musical acumen. During this time, he became proficient in putting his musical thoughts directly and quickly into sound, as an example, within an hour writing and recording the music for the high school play that was performed at the Fringe Festival in Scotland. He also starred on stage in that production. While he attended Emerson College, in the 2000s, he developed a love for opera, the soprano voice, show tunes, and slowcore indie rock, continuing to compose scores for school film majors.

Angelakos is married to Kristina Mucci, who inspired the song 'On My Way' on Passion Pit's sophomore release Gossamer. The album is also dedicated to her.

Mental health[edit]

On July 16, 2012, Angelakos posted on the Passion Pit website that the band had cancelled the remaining July 2012 tour dates and suspended the tour in order for Angelakos to seek ongoing treatment for bipolar disorder.[28] A Rolling Stone interview stated that Angelakos was diagnosed at 17, and had been receiving therapy, hospital care, and medication ever since.[29] Two days later, Pitchfork ran a cover story explaining the nature of Angelakos' health issues and its ties to Passion Pit's second album. It was revealed he was on suicide watch.[30] On March 4, 2013, The Huffington Post reported about Angelakos evident recovery as Passion Pit performed a sold out show at Madison Square Garden on February 8, 2013. The article cited Angelakos as being "in one of the best places he's ever been".[31]


  1. ^ Ambrose, Anthony (December 2, 2009). "Phoenix / Passion Pit / Jack's Mannequin / Manchester Orchestra @ NYC 12/2". inTuneMusic. Retrieved December 5, 2009. 
  2. ^ "Passion Pit". Frenchkiss Records. Retrieved 2010-06-30. 
  3. ^ a b "Chunk of Change release date". Prefix Magazine. 8 September 2008. Retrieved 15 December 2010. 
  4. ^ Diver, Mike (2009-03-26). "Passion Pit Album Preview". Clash. Retrieved 2010-06-30. 
  5. ^ "Passion Pit working on 'fantastic, beautiful, gorgeous new record' – video". NME. IPC Media. August 23, 2010. Retrieved July 1, 2012. 
  6. ^ Sullivan, Caroline (July 19, 2012). "Passion Pit: Gossamer – review". The Guardian (London: guardian.co.uk). Retrieved July 22, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Passion Pit: Pop Not Porno". The Agit Reader. Retrieved 4 December 2010. 
  8. ^ "An interview with Passion Pit's Nate Donmoyer and Ian Hultquist". The California Aggie. 19 April 2010. Retrieved 5 January 2011. 
  9. ^ "Kind of incredible". Southern Maryland Newspapers Online. 4 September 2009. Retrieved 5 January 2011. 
  10. ^ "Pitchfork Staff Lists: Top 40 Music Videos of 2008". Pitchfork Media. 8 December 2008. Retrieved 29 December 2010. 
  11. ^ "Sleepyhead Songfacts". Songfacts. Retrieved 4 December 2010. 
  12. ^ "Passion Pit". MySpace. Retrieved 2010-06-30. 
  13. ^ "Passion Pit's Boat Show: We Wanted To Celebrate In A Different Way". MTV. 19 May 2009. Retrieved 30 June 2010. 
  14. ^ "The PS22 Chorus Records Vocals for Columbia-signed Passion Pit's Full-length CD Debut!". PS22 chorus. 18 January 2009. Retrieved 10 December 2010. 
  15. ^ "Passion Pit Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 10 December 2010. 
  16. ^ "LittleBigPlanet2 trailer". GameTrailers. Retrieved 10 December 2010. 
  17. ^ "Episode Recaps: Meet the Top 20". FOX Network. Retrieved 9 March 2012.
  18. ^ "merry england". Passion Pit. 30 June 2009. Retrieved 28 December 2010. 
  19. ^ "Passion Pit dedicate Glastonbury set to Jarvis Cocker". NME. 27 June 2009. Retrieved 28 December 2010. 
  20. ^ "Passion Pit announce deluxe album release and expanded North American tour details". NME. 17 March 2010. Retrieved 2 January 2011. 
  21. ^ "Passion Pit Covers Smashing Pumpkins For Levi's Pioneer Sessions". Under the Radar. 23 June 2010. Retrieved 10 December 2010. 
  22. ^ "Passion Pit with Muse On Sale Tomorrow". Passion Pit. 23 April 2010. Retrieved 10 December 2010. 
  23. ^ "Passion Pit working on 'fantastic, beautiful, gorgeous new record' – video". NME. 23 August 2010. Retrieved 2 January 2011. 
  24. ^ Passion Pit - "Talk A Walk" on Indie Shuffle
  25. ^ Stream "I'll Be Alright" on Indie Shuffle
  26. ^ "Passion Pit: "Constant Conversations" | Tracks". Pitchfork. 2012-07-09. Retrieved 2012-08-17. 
  27. ^ "Passion Pit Get 'Carried Away' on 'SNL'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved October 20, 2012. 
  28. ^ Murphy, Chris (16 July 2012). "Passion Pit Tour: Performances Canceled, Lead Singer 'Improving Mental Health'". Huffington Post. Retrieved 6 December 2012. 
  29. ^ Hyman, Dan. "Passion Pit Singer on Battling Mental Illness and Taking New Songs on the Road". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 6 December 2012. 
  30. ^ "COVER STORY: Passion Pit". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  31. ^ "Michael Angelakos Transformed: From Suicide Watch to Madison Square Garden". Huffington Post. 4 March 2013. Retrieved 4 March 2013.