Passion Pit is an American electropop band from Cambridge, Massachusetts, formed in 2007. The band consists of Michael Angelakos (lead vocals, keyboards), Ian Hultquist (keyboards, guitar), Ayad Al Adhamy (synthesizer, samples), Jeff Apruzzese (bass, synth bass), and Nate Donmoyer (drums).
All of the band members, with the exception of Angelakos, attended Berklee College of Music in Boston. The band culled their name from the ‘Slanguage Dictionary,’ a glossary of ‘Variety’ magazine’s frequently-used slang, which was provided by the Hollywood-insider publication to help not-so-savvy readers decipher its content. The magazine used the term to refer to drive-in theaters, because of their privacy and romantic allure for teenagers.
The band shares its name with a pornographic film made in the 1980s, starring Traci Lords. Members of the band say they have been asked repeatedly if that film is what inspired their name but they weren’t even aware of its existence until the year after their formation.
The first Passion Pit songs, which would later become the ‘Chunk of Change’ EP, were written by Angelakos 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. They formed a group and added several members.
Due to the unconventional nature of their formation, the band spent a considerable amount of time trying to flesh out a collaborative format and structure that would work best for them, practicing together for seven months before they played their first live show.
Jeff Apruzzese and Nate Donmoyer joined the band shortly after they signed to Frenchkiss in 2008. When it was released, the first four tracks of ‘Chunk of Change’ (Angelakos’ gift) 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 band’s first full-length studio album, ‘Manners,’ was released in 2009. In order to obtain a specific background vocal accompaniment the band was looking for on the album, Passion Pit enlisted the help of the PS22 chorus on Staten Island, who recorded vocals in-studio for three of the album’s songs.