Interview with Jeff Apruzzese of Passion Pit: It Pays To Have Good Manners

Passion PitGrowing up in the suburbs of Red Bank and Little Silver, NJ, Jeff Apruzzese was never allowed to road trip it to concerts like Tennessee’s hippie fest, Bonnaroo. Instead he spent his summer bagging bagels at Brooklyn Bagel, listening to bands like The Beatles and Led Zeppelin. But now as bassist for Passion Pit with a grueling summer schedule coming up, it looks like he’ll get the chance he’s always wanted.

In less than two years together, this freshly formed five-piece has managed to get a hell of a lot of attention in a short period of time. They’ve been voted “Best New Act” by the Boston Phoenix, and profiled on MTV with only a six-song EP to their name. But due in part to the popularity of a song called “Sleepyhead,” and their full-length debut, Manners, released last month via Frenchkiss, Passion Pit are bound for big things.

For the most part, Passion Pit’s power comes from a single music mastermind, led by keyboardist Michael Angelakos, who serves as both writer and arranger. On Manners he deals with self-reflection, somewhat of a contradiction to the record’s upbeat and melodic feel. But after employing a choir of fifth graders from PS 22 to sing on songs like “Little Secrets” and “Let Your Love Grow Tall,” Passion Pit has made me firmly in favor of child labor.

Fueled by falsetto and flavored with synths and samples, they’ve been wrongly labeled dork-disco and unfairly compared to groups like MGMT, but as Jeff explained on his ride home, post MySpace Radio performance, there is more to Passion Pit than meets the eye-much more.

How did the MySpace Radio Transmission go?

It was really fun actually. It was like the first thing that we’ve done since we’ve been out here so we were a little nervous at first, but it went really well. On the sessions we performed ‘Little Secrets,’ ‘Moth Wings,’ ‘Sleepyhead,’ and ‘I’ve Got Your Number.’

I read on your MySpace page that you recently had a contest with a song from your new record.

Oh yeah, ‘Little Secrets.’ We had a remix contest where basically we gave out chunks of the song and had people kind of collect the stems to remix. The contest actually just ended. We got the 10 remixes together, so we’ve been listening to them in the hotel right now.

What do you think of the remixes so far?

It’s really cool to hear what people can do, and like change songs around and take one theme in the song and extend it.