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11 Questions with Passion Pit

Passion Pit, a band whose name is derived from slang for a make-out spot in Hollywood, will be doing a little more than making out when they come to the Bryce Jordan Center next Friday, Oct. 15.

According to Urban Dictionary, Passion Pit has two appropriate definitions: 1) a band that some of my friends like with a main appeal that no one has heard of them and 2) an orgy between MGMT and Animal Collective.

Both definitions are inexcusably accurate, but one thing is changing: that they haven’t been heard of in State College. Passion Pit’s performance at the BJC has already sold out standing general admission tickets, leaving only seated tickets available, according to the BJC.

But what does Passion Pit sound like? I’ve heard dozens of people try to describe their music in many failed attempts. We already defined what they are a cross between, but how else can we better define Passion Pit? Taking a few minutes with drummer, Nate Donmoyer, might clear this up, along with any other unanswered questions.

Marcus Correll: Passion Pit definitely seems to transcend several genres. How do you classify Passion Pit?

Nate Donmoyer: We think of it simply as pop. It’s the way we dress it up, whether it’s with drum machines or synths but, at the end of the day, it’s still the same created in the ’50s or ’60s pop.

MC: What kind of music are you currently into?

ND: I’m a huge dance music fan, UK based music, dub-step, grime, UK funky, drum and bass.

MC: How do you feel about the state of the current music scene?

ND: It’s exciting because of the availability of so many types of music. People aren’t fed by the radio and MTV so much anymore and aren’t getting it shoved down their throats. It leads to a lot of more diverse bands becoming popular and getting a chance to tour. It’s not the record labels deciding, it’s the word-of-mouth and fans.

MC: Your music is extremely popular in Europe. What do you think makes your music so trans-continental?

ND: They listen to a lot of synth-heavy, dance music compared to the United States. I think it’s a lot like soccer in America. Everywhere else people are obsessed with it, but not in America. It’s a taste in culture thing. People like electronic in Europe, but I think it changes and people are starting to catch on.

MC: What can students expect from the Campus Consciousness Tour?

ND: It’s an effort to hopefully make our concertgoers and everybody involved to do simple things around campus or home. Just to be a little more environmentally friendly, just like setting up more recycling bins just within the concert grounds, to make it a more “green” experience. It makes it more of an event and less of a concert.

MC: So apart from playing Penn State next week, I hear you have some connections with the area.

ND: Yeah, I was pretty much born a Nittany Lion. My parents met at PSU and are alumni, I have relatives who are alumni and tons of cousins still going to Penn State. I’ve been going there since I was born. It’s always been a place I really love to go; it’s like that one vacation spot for me and look forward to it every fall to go up there. I only have great memories of Penn State. It’s been a couple of years, which is strange. I’m going to see some family here, which is nice. It’s crazy to be playing the BJC. I never thought I’d be on stage in the same place I’ve seen basketball games.

MC: Do you usually have a set way of how you play your shows or do they change?

ND: We have a set we like and that has worked the best, like a DJ set that builds the crowd up and peaks at the end. Just because it works, if it’s not broke don’t fix it. We always try to make it better and do different things so hopefully we can make everyone happy. We’ve been playing a cover of the Cranberries “Dream,” but we’re doing it our way, making it more dancey and get everyone to sing along. It really showcases Michael’s [Angelakos] voice.

MC: What can students expect from the Campus Consciousness Tour that other concerts don’t bring?

ND: Well we’re currently opening for Muse, so we haven’t headlined in a while so we’re excited to play a full-set with all our music and all our stage production. It’s going to be a lot of fun to hit colleges. It’s going to be a really fun tour for everyone. It would be so surreal if we sold it out, it would be so much fun and it’s going to be a blast.

MC: Do you ever walk around the concerts or hang out afterward?

ND: We often wander around the crowd, whether it’s at the merch booth or walking around with Jeff [Apruzzese]. I like to get the feel of where we’re playing and who we’re playing for. I’ve never been stopped by someone walking around. The gift of being a drummer means I get to walk around and do whatever I want.

MC: When can fans expect to start hearing news regarding a new album?

ND: We’re finishing up touring by New Years and taking a little time off, like a week or two, and then we’re going back into the studio. It’s hard to say when it will be finished because we want to make the best record we can possibly make. It could be two months or it could be a year.

MC: The burning question that everyone is going to want to know: Are you guys planning on partying while you’re here?

ND: We all love to have a good time, for me it’s Penn State so I’m obligated to at least have a beer. We’re only going to Temple the day after, so I’m sure we won’t be leaving until late.

Donmoyer, along with the rest of the band, will be here next Friday for a jaw-dropping electric-pop extravaganza sponsored by the Campus Consciousness Tour. And maybe, if you’re lucky, you’ll run into Nate and the rest of the crew hanging out before the show, or see them at the Phyrst. Either way, don’t miss out on Passion Pit’s performance. You don’t have a football game to go to the next day, anyway.

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