Last month at the Erasing the Stigma Leadership Awards, Passion Pit frontman Michael Angelakos was awarded the Beatrice Stern Media Award, described as an award for those who use “the power of the media to put a positive face on mental illness.” Introducing the award, writer Shawn Amos said: “By shedding the weight of secrecy, Michael Angelakos showed millions of fans that getting treatment was nothing to be ashamed of and that honesty does not have to ruin one’s career.” Below, check out a recap from the awards show that includes a sit-down interview with Angelakos discussing his history and experiences with bipolar disorder, how his mental illness has impacted his career, and how music ultimately kept him alive. Following the interview, you can also see Angelakos give a warm acceptance speech in which he dedicates the award to his wife.
In the interview, Angelakos says:
“Gossamer, which is our second full-length studio album, is based on a manic episode I had a few summers ago. It is less about my experiences and more about piecing together what happened during that period. I think that what is more interesting is talking about the people on the other side of mental health – the people that have to deal with it, the people that have to help people get through it.”
He also discusses the value of being open about mental illness with his fans:
“I don’t see any reason why I should have to hide being bi-polar … I want to show people that you can do what I do, you can live your life, you can do mostly anything, but only after you take care of yourself. Seven months ago they said I would never tour again, and then I played Madison Square Garden. You have no idea, I mean, I cried. I just went backstage and cried.”
Angelakos continues connecting his experiences with his music:
This record somehow in some way takes all of that pain, all of that agony, and turns it into something where when we play live, it sounds like the happiest thing on Earth … I don’t think there is anything more beautiful than taking the pain and anger and confusion that life gives everyone really, and turning it into something beautiful and fun and engaging.”