Welcome to the latest installment of “Superstar RADvice,” our advice column written by a superstar. In just two short years, Passion Pit has risen from a dinky one-man college recording project by falsetto-voiced keyboardist Michael Angelakos to a full-fledged band and indie-synth-pop sensation capable of headlining a large venue like the Mann Center. In our eyes, that makes Angelakos a superstar worthy of taking your questions!
I’m in a band that got a decent amount of attention on the blogosphere a few years ago, but we just can’t take it to the next level. In fact, we’ve kind of regressed and now people are ignoring us. What are we supposed to do? – J. Grier
I hate to say it, but it’s probably too late for you. Once you piss away your opportunity, forget it. But for any aspiring bands reading this, I will say this: Having a couple songs people like is kinda important, but you gotta have a story to go along with it. Your whole thing can’t just be that you sound like some old Pixies albums. Take me, for example: I told everyone that I wrote the songs that ended up on the first Passion Pit EP as a Valentine’s Day gift to my then-girlfriend as a kind of sonic apology letter, a way to save our relationship that was falling apart. Is it true? It doesn’t matter! People eat that shit up. Especially chicks. They’re all, like, “Awwwww, that’s soooooooooooo romantic!” Then they put down their Twilight book, Twitter about you, and the next thing you know, you’re booked on Jimmy Fallon, selling out big amphitheaters, and swimming in pussy backstage. That’s how you get to the next level, son!
I’m the CEO of a large energy corporation, and we had a little accident with one of our deep-sea oil wells a couple months back. Now we can’t seem to stop the oil from gushing into the ocean. Any suggestions? – T. Hayward
Hmmm, that’s a tricky one. My suggestion is that you buy up (at full retail price) all the existing copies of our latest CD, Manners —I think my label probably manufactured a couple million of them—and just jam ’em into that hole and plug it up. It’s a win for everyone: You get to fix your fuck-up, I get to retire, and no one will have to worry about a ton of Manners CDs laying around once the backlash kicks in and everyone hates us. Also, I’d like a $100 million consulting fee for this advice, if you don’t mind.
For more than 40 years, I’ve been trying to get my singing voice as high as it can possibly go. Do you have any special techniques you can recommend? – Geddy L.
Dude, I’ve tried everything you can imagine. I wore the tightest underwear I could squeeze into. I swam with dolphins and studied their mating calls. I sucked on so many helium balloons I almost flew away. I had a séance and tried to summon the ghost of the Bee Gees’ Maurice Gibb to possess my vocal chords. Then I just had my friend kick me super-hard in the balls before every take, and that did the trick. Sometimes you gotta suffer for your art, you know? Now I just have my tour manager drop kick my nutsack right before I go onstage—works pretty well, and it more or less wears off by the time the groupies show up.
Sun., June 27
With Tokyo Police Club + Brahms
Mann Center for the Performing Arts
52nd St. and Parkside Ave.
PW's Music Issue 2014