T.I. Exclusive: Passion Pit on Mixtapes and The Flaming Lips


It’s the classic ironic band-starting story. Boy makes mixtape for girl. Somehow it gets spread virally, blows up, and voila! Our favorite Cambridge-based indie electronica group is born. Meet Passion Pit. Just a bunch of friendly Massachusetts romantics with some serious musical talent and an ear for what we’re pining to hear, not to mention shake our rumps to. Playing alongside some heavy hitters on Saturday (MGMT, MSTR KRFT, Girl Talk, Brazilian Girls, The Streets) at the Treasure Island Music Festival, Nate Donmoyer, the drummer, took some time out to chat with us for a couple minutes about life, love, and live sound.

7x7: First of all, is Michael [Angelakos] still with the girl he wrote Chunk of Change for?

Nate Donmoyer: No, they’re still good friends, and she comes out to shows, but they haven’t been together for about a year. You’d be surprised by how many people actually want to know that.

We saw you guys tear it up at Bonnaroo this year. We were impressed by your live sound. How did it feel to have all these famous people watching you from the sidelines?

ND: We kind of go into this mode where the stage is a bubble, and we can’t look at who’s standing side-stage and think it’s real. It’s like we’re in a dream where you can pretend that’s what’s happening – we’ve really gotten used to it.

Compared to a lot of bands in your similar genre, you guys effortlessly reenact your album sound, so how much post-production actually goes into your album?

ND: We think that we fall short of the album, and we’re really working on our live performance, but a lot of it is maybe – sorry, I’m just caught off guard because I don’t think we sound like the album at all. Some of the synths are the same that we used on the album but other than that…

What was your favorite festival that you played this summer?

ND: 2 Irish festivals – Oxegen and Electric Picnic – our best crowds have been in Ireland. We can always get the entire tent jumping up and down and having a good time. Maybe it’s because the sample from “Sleepyhead” is from Mary O’Hara. Maybe it just clicked with them before other people.

What do you plan on bringing to Treasure Island that you haven’t yet?

ND: Well, we constantly try to work on new songs – we’re not happy with our live show yet, so there might be some surprised there. Some of the songs are stronger than others, and we’re trying to make them the best they can be.

So what are your strongest and weakest songs?

ND: Strongest song: “The Reeling,” which we like to end with, that usually goes over well, and “Sleepyhead,” and “Little Secrets.” Weakest: We probably don’t play – and I won’t divulge which ones they are anyways because I don’t wanna jinx it.

What band(s) will you make an effort to peep over the weekend?

ND: Flaming lips is definitely #1, we normally don’t get a day off at festivals, so we’re super excited to see Grizzly Bear again– we’ve seen them 4 or 5 times already this summer. We have Sunday off, so we’ll probably try to hang out in Berkeley and go to Amoeba after the shows, the usual stuff.

If you're still standing on Saturday night, or if you opt to miss MGMT (we won't blame you), make sure to check out Passion Pit's (not-so) secret after-party show at the newly re-opened 222 Club, where it'll definitely be packed to the brim. Let the chaos of Treasure Island Festival begin!!

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