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Wednesday, March 4, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 13.0° F  Mostly Cloudy
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Passion Pit try to figure out mainstream radio
A whole new world
Facing the unknown.
Facing the unknown.

Passion Pit is experiencing an identity crisis. The electro-pop band's last two albums - 2009's Manners and 2012's Gossamer - have received considerable airplay on alternative radio, but now that mainstream radio has noticed upbeat numbers like "Take a Walk," a whole new world is opening up.

It's one thing to draw favorable comparisons to indie favorites like Miike Snow and quite another to transition into the sounds and culture of the pop world. I spoke with bassist Jeff Apruzzese about Gossamer, Passion Pit's newfound pop status and the state of their tour as they prepare to play the Orpheum Theater on Feb. 23.

For the uninitiated, talk a bit about Gossamer.

Gossamer came out last July, and we've been touring hard on it. I think the songwriting shows a lot of growth and maturity on [lead singer] Michael Angelakos' part. The songs have been super fun to play. It's really exciting, and I think it shows a lot of forward progress for the band.

How has the tour been going now that you're more used to playing the new songs live?

We're really just starting to hit our stride after seven or eight months of touring. It hasn't been until the last few weeks that we've really started to feel more than just comfortable but proud, knowing that what we're doing truly exemplifies the art we want to create.

This happened when we toured the last record, too. You go through phases. There's the phase where we're just playing the songs, regurgitating the material. But now we're in the second phase where we're actually performing them. We're finally getting to that point where we feel like this is an actual show that we're proud to share with people.

How have fans responded to the album and the tour?

Right now it still feels like a new experience. We're crossing into foreign territory. Gossamer has been receiving a lot more radio attention than Manners did. Not only has alternative radio been playing this record a lot, but now it's making its way into the pop realm, which we're definitely unfamiliar with. It's weird because we're starting to develop this new fan base of people who might not necessarily know any of our songs that aren't on Gossamer. That's interesting for us, trying to mold our set for people who have seen us play five times before and people who are seeing us for the first time.

What can fans expect from the upcoming concert?

The general energy level of the set has been a lot higher than we anticipated. For me it's not much of a drop in energy, though, which is good and bad, I guess. [Laughs.] I've been finding myself losing my breath a lot. We're starting to play 100-minute sets, so we're coming off the stage drenched in sweat and hyperventilating.

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