Michael Angelakos, the lead singer of Passion Pit, shares a historic Brooklyn Heights apartment with his wife, Kristy, who works as a food writer. Their home is tasteful and refined, replete with working fireplaces and a spacious, sumptuous kitchen. Equally sumptuous is the sound system in the living room: a record player, amplifier, and speaker setup that Angelakos has been building for years. An extensive collection of vinyl LP’s — many of them rare, original-print opera recordings — shares a bookcase with a small library of food literature. Their singular passions are visible throughout the apartment, but what’s most striking is the orderliness of it all. This isn’t the bohemian crash pad of a decadent young rock star but the carefully maintained domicile of mature individuals. Which is no small accomplishment, considering Angelakos is just 25 years old and fronts one of the biggest bands around. But when they first moved to New York, the couple lived over a restaurant and had to kill nearly twenty mice in a single month; after an ordeal like that, who can blame them for sweeping? Michael and Kristy spoke with us about Boston, concierge service, and still owning a teddy bear.
How long have you lived in Brooklyn?
Kristy: Going on 4 years. We’ve been in this apartment for the last 3.
Why’d you move here?
Kristy: I just wanted to move.
Michael: She just wanted to come to New York, because of work. I could live, really, anywhere. We like this neighborhood. One of my producers that we work with a lot, Chris Zane, he moved here and said this was the spot. It’s quiet, no one bothers you, it’s not a young, hipster-type thing. It’s basically like Beacon Hill, in Boston. And that’s what I liked about it, because I felt like I didn’t leave Boston.
Kristy: He likes quiet neighborhoods.
Michael: I don’t like people my age living in my neighborhood. There’s one of those multi-college dorms down the street. And that’s bad enough. They’ll be singing Journey at two in the morning. I’m fine with that. It’s an isolated thing. That’s the only sound issue in terms of young people.
What’s your favorite thing about this apartment?
Kristy: The fireplaces. I have one in the kitchen that works. It’s really cool.
Michael: It’s really rare to have a two-floor apartment in New York. It’s a weird apartment. It was renovated in the seventies. They designed these two apartments to be double-floor apartments, and we liked this one because the kitchen was bigger so she could have more room to work.
Kristy: I think the light is really dreamy down here. And the trees are fun to watch all year.
What’s your least favorite thing?
Kristy: The noise.
Michael: I went to my friend’s apartment, it’s this insanely convenient apartment building in downtown Brooklyn. It’s like being in an amazing hotel. The concierge service was awesome, and it was so convenient. And then I came back, and I was a little jealous.
Kristy: We never get packages, because nobody just leaves them. That’s one thing that’s kind of annoying.
Michael: There are issues, because this is a historical building, you’re not supposed to drill or do certain things. But we’ve made do.
What are the first three things you would save in a fire?
Kristy: I have some handwritten recipes from my grandmother, so that, for sure. A watch he gave me right after we got married.
Michael: There are books upstairs I’ve had since I was a child. And there are some journals. Some things that mark my coming of age. I think I know where they are. There are little framed notes we have from each other. I would save those.
Kristy: I know my third. I have a blanket my great-grandmother crocheted for me.
Michael: Oh yeah, I have a teddy bear that I still sleep with. I’m fine with it. I never named it. I felt like the bear would not like being named. The bear is just the bear.
[Michael added later that he would be sure to save his opera records]
What’s your favorite room in the apartment, and your favorite time of day?
Kristy: The kitchen. I actually like being in the kitchen as long as the sun’s up, because the light is so nice. All day.
Michael: I like the glow of this room. It’s really moody at night. Just listening to records with the fireplace burning. It’s my favorite setup. And also what we don’t have is a television. We tried to make it so that when people come over it’s not media-centric. That’s why we’re not facing the speakers.
If you suddenly received a windfall of cash, what changes would you make to the apartment?
Kristy: We would kick everyone out of the building and own the whole thing.
Michael: Knock out the separation between the two apartments and make it one full floor.
If you could move the house/block/neighborhood to another city, which one would it be, and why?
Kristy: Paris. It’s my favorite. And the light is always dreamy in Paris.
Michael: I would say Paris. We both have talked about it.
Kristy: And we have a lot of friends there.
Michael: Finding flats there with this layout that are reasonable is very rare, so it’d be awesome to have it in Paris.