The Pass: A Burst of Colors

Last week I saw The Pass perform live at Glasslands as part of the Northside Festival. The music was loud, the energy was high, and the lights were prismatic. The air was hot and humid in the venue, as a few oscillating fans meekly tried to cool the space.

It was sticky, but despite the heat The Pass filled the room with fans eager to hear them play live.

After a few cold drinks, the sting of the heat seamed to melt away and people started dancing to the electrifying beats. Synth, drums and vocals washed over the audience who were now in a auditory trance. Needless to say, The Pass rocked it.

I caught up with the guys to discuss their new release, BURST, and some of their favorite things…

Sound Dessert: How did The Pass form into a band?

The Pass: It all started when Will and I decided that it was time to combine powers again. We’d played in bands growing up and we new it was time for the next chapter. Will had played with Neil and Brian around town and we tricked them in to joining the band.

SD: How’d you decide upon The Pass as a band name?

TP: The name intrigued us because of its ambiguity. I think the definition depends on who and when you ask. That way it would always be our pet, and never our leader. For me, currently, The Pass is a grassy pasture on a highway overpass where it’s equally appealing to cross the road, or sit and watch the cars.

SD: What was the inspiration behind your new album BURST?

TP: I’d say its inspired by our love for pool parties, analog gear, imperfection, dance parties where everyone makes out, relationships, seclusion, spontaneity, complacency, and the power of positive thinking.

SD: When making new music, how does the band work together?

TP: Usually I’ll be struck with a melody and an image or feeling that the song will be about. Then we’ll all try to get to the same place, and see what our instruments want to do.

SD: Do you feel there’s been growth/progression from your first EP Colors?

TP: Yeah, we definitely have solidified our sound more on the new album…but there will always be a sort of innocence about the EP that I think is desirable. Its like the inner rings of tree, they get covered up by the succeeding rings, but without them it’s nothing. But BURST is rad.

SD: You recorded Colors in a spare bedroom of Kyle and Will’s house, were you expecting the band to blow up when you uploaded the songs to MySpace?  Did you already have a solid following at that point?

TP: Ha, no way. I was sleeping on the couch at the time cause I had just moved in and Will had transformed the bedroom in to a studio. We recorded Colors so we had a demo to send to bars that we were trying to book. The endeavor was always viewed as temporary…but we also put a lot of work in to making it sound as good as possible. I think its safe to say that pretty much no one had any idea that we existed at that point.

SD: Kyle and Will are from New York/New Jersey, Brian is from Maine and Neil is from Kentucky. How does the response to your music differ between the states?

TP: Being in Kentucky is a ton different than living in New York, for sure. I mean maybe we’d have a few more people out to shows or have a few more MySpace hits if we lived in Brooklyn, but you come to one of our shows here with 200 people drenched in sweat from dancing and tell me it makes a difference where you live. We love Kentucky. And we just got a huge tour van that we plan on bringing everywhere so it doesn’t really matter where home base is.

SD: What’s better: New York vs Kentucky?

TP: New York – mecca of fashion, arts and opportunity. Negative – intensity, rat race.
Kentucky  – simple, w great foliage. Negative – country music.

SD: Grilled chicken vs fried chicken?

TP: Grilled please.

SD: Beer vs Bourbon?

TP: Knob Creek on the rocks.

SD: Jay Z vs Nappy Roots?

TP: Beyonce

SD: The World Series vs the Kentucky Derby?

TP: The Derby is the greatest sporting event in North America.

SD: Are you inspired by Kentucky’s bluegrass roots and history in any way?

TP: I listen to bluegrass everyday on the local radio station and we’re on a label with some bluegrass players. I wouldn’t say its influenced our sound at all, but love and respect.

SD: You’ve said Justice, LCD Soundsystem, Daft Punk and ‘80s synth-pop have influenced your sound.  Outside of music, what are some things that have influenced the band creatively?

TP: Don Mattingly, curiosity, fear and hope.

SD: Do you have names for your instruments?

TP: Juno, Prophet, SH, Trusty

SD: Where is your favorite place to see live music?

TP: Recently it’s been the Riviera theater in Chicago.

SD: If you could play any venue, where would you play?

TP: MSG or anywhere in Ibiza.

SD: What is your current summer jam?

TP: New Hot Chip and old Starfucker.

SD: What’s next for The Pass in the year ahead?

TP: Tour, Tour, Tour.

Colors is available now, look out for BURST available in the fall. For more on the band click here!

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