I feel that I watched it happen, and it was a sort of odd trajectory. I had already given up on the idea that you could make any connection between bands that you like and the bands that other people will like. It’s an exceptional Boston story, because that doesn’t happen in Boston. No one else knows that, so there are A and R guys coming to Boston looking for the next Passion Pit. I mean that’s actually happened.
That’s the fuckin coolest thing ever. I remember that Billboard wanted to write an article about the bidding war. I was like, “this is journalism and you want to publicize private legal matters?” I told them no and then they wrote an email back saying ‘no more Passion Pit’.
What?!? Are you fucking kidding me?
I have no problem going on the record saying that. We’ve been in Billboard since. That’s the kind of stuff we are dealing with. I have to do favors for people. I don’t want to do favors for people.
You’re dealing with the idea that this thing that you started out doing as a working project has become a commodity.
That is what Passion Pit is now. Struggling with that idea of basically selling yourself. But because I love the concept so much, I’m completely open to it.
Every band deals with this; it’s part of what makes pop music pop.
Cobra Starship will have a very specific market and they will be like, ok we are going to write a song like this, over and over and over again, because that will work and sell. But I can tell you right now that [Passion Pit’s] next record is going to be so radically different, because I basically want to show people that this is not a one-track band. I’m planning on recording a single in the fall and releasing it on 7-inch and coming out being like, Boom! And dropping another single right after we drop “Little Secrets.” People think that we are going to be this one-trick pony because that is what most electropop bands are, they have a few singles and that’s it, let’s be honest. Not exactly in a genre that is the songwriter genre.
It’s an ephemeral genre. That’s part of what the charm is.
I know, but as a songwriter, I struggle with that. This is just one field. I can dress up pop any which way. I just dress it up as electropop. This could have easily been an indie pop band. It could have ended up sounding a lot like Phoenix. This band is always going to struggle with the way people perceive it until we take a break and people sit on it.
Do you have in your head bands or artists who you think of as having done it the right way? How do you get control of your own story? There are bands that somehow manage to do that.
It’s all about the initial hit. The initial perception, then that’ll just follow through. Our first impression was: hipsters playing some weird sampled pop music that’s delirious and weird, with an annoying vocal sound. We can’t escape that. Not that we can’t escape a hit. I can write a better song than “Sleepyhead.” I mean “Sleepyhead” is a very elementary song in terms of structure, which is why it works and why people love it so much, because it’s so familiar, yet so foreign in terms of production. That’s the balance. I’m just trying to find how I can circumvent the hype. The hype has written the history. The hype is so loud. It just makes everything so much more difficult for an artist.