Mind Your ‘Manners’: Passion Pit is revisiting its debut album with all the feels

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Miranda Cyr • College Times

After a turbulent five years, Passion Pit frontman Michael Angelakos is ready to tour again. Celebrating the 10th anniversary of “Manners,” the jaunt kicks off Tuesday, April 30, at the Marquee Theater.

“This is the first time I can honestly say that I’ve missed touring, and I want to do it in a way that feels fun,” says Angelakos, who prefers the studio to the road.

“I’ve been trying to write some new material, and I’ve been working on a lot of stuff, but I feel like I needed to kind of clear the cobwebs a little bit. I wanted to do this album a service. I look at this as a recalibration in a way.”

Angelakos says the tour will revisit a pivotal time in his life 10 years ago, when his music career took off and he burst into the industry.

“(The years) 2008/2009, that was probably the biggest shift in my life,” Angelakos says. “I dropped out of college. I took this huge leap of faith, and, went from recording in my bedroom to recording in a studio, and then from no label to indie label to major label in less than a year.

“From a van to a bus, from a couple hundred plays on Myspace to millions of illegal downloads of ‘Sleepyhead,’ really early on, which is really what’s created my career.

“This whole shift happened so quickly that no one around me—my friends, family, no one—understood. I mean, I certainly didn’t. I feel like the only way I can remember it is through ‘Manners.’”

Angelakos says he can remember that time of his life, but it feels like a dream. Music therapy, he mentions, has proven to trigger memories for those with memory loss. He hopes this tour will have a similar effect on him. Now that he says he’s in a better stage of his life, he wants to give this album a “second chance.”

“That time of my life was really, really, like chaotic,” Angelakos says. “Ten years ago, I was not even close to being as road-ready as I am now or even prepared for the audience’s reception and the way people were receiving the work in general.

“It’s fun to look back on something, and finally be proud of it in a different way, because ‘Manners’ was always a record I had mixed feelings about. It took me a long time to really understand how much ‘Manners’ has meant to me.”

He’s his own worst critic. Angelakos didn’t like the album until recently.

“I want this record to feel good to me again,” Angelakos says. “I want that time my life to not be like, the time when I was like losing my mind.”

Since that time, Angelakos says he pressured himself to make music that was more mainstream and less “indietronica,” and the lyrics more relatable.

“The lyricism, in general, was far more adventurous, and I think after we started getting radio play and attention in the more alternative pop format, I started changing the lyrics and making them more direct,” Angelakos says. “(I thought) maybe these lyrics are too weird for people and no one really gets them.”

Moving forward, Angelakos hopes this tour will help clear his mind, so he can continue writing music. He says he thinks he will make at least one more Passion Pit album. Going forward, though, fans may hear different sounds from Angelakos.

“In terms of me, personally, as a songwriter, I have developed in ways that no one has heard, and there’s a good reason for that,” Angelakos says. “There will be a time when I’ll be able to evolve past Passion Pit. Right now, Passion Pit is the vehicle in which I can express myself to the most amount of people in the best way. And although I’ve wanted to take other turns and move in other directions, it just hasn’t been time yet.”

Immediately, Angelakos’ songwriting is inspired by his first album.

“I am reflecting on my earlier work and feeling a lot more connected to it in a way that I think is informing where I want to steer the boat,” Angelakos says. “I never usually give that answer. I’m always like, ‘The next record is going to be a huge departure,’ but it’s always different, that’s a given. It’s never going to be the same record again.”

Meanwhile, he hopes this tour will serve as closure for his past self and the album he created when he was 20.

“Wait, this record’s good,” Angelakos says when reflecting on the moment he revisited the album. “I mean, you have to sound extremely confident and sell what you do, and you talk in interviews, but at the end of the day I’m a human, and I’m also a perfectionist. So, I was really critical of myself—I’ve always been critical of myself. Who isn’t at that age? I’m 31 now. Two years ago, when I started listening to it again, it started becoming my favorite record.”

Marquee Theatre, 730 N. Mill Avenue, Tempe, 480.829.0607, luckymanonline.com,

8 p.m. Tuesday, April 30, $35-$120. CT

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