Michael Carmen Pitt was born in West Orange, New Jersey, the youngest of four children. At age ten, he announced he planned on becoming an actor. He moved to New York City when he was 16 years old, where he took a job as a bike messenger as he tried to break into acting.
Pagoda began as a musical concept of Pitts when he was 21 years-old. While working on Gus Van Sant's 2005 film Last Days, Pitt was introduced to Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth who'd signed on to the film as a musical advisor. Van Sant urged Michael to play one of his songs for Moore, He was impressed enough to sign Pitt and Pagoda.
The band's name Pagoda comes from the Taoist house of worship of the same name. They began recording their second album in March 2009 at Excello Recording Studios in Brooklyn, New York. In October 2009 they released their second career single entitled "Warzone."
A year prior to its release of their first album, the band offered a five track sampler featuring the songs "Death to Birth," "Fetus," "Sadartha," "Song 1" and "I Do" to audiences who attended their live shows.
Pagoda's current line-up began recording Rebirth, the follow-up to their debut album. The album marks a departure from the post-grunge bent on their debut. The band has said the new material has a decidedly Eastern feel to it, incorporating everything from Arabic, Japanese and African rhythms. Whereas these elements under-laid the group's first release, they are brought to the forefront for its follow-up.
The focus of Pagoda's second album came after Pitt traveled to Morocco where he was introduced to Gnawa music. The Gnawa play deeply hypnotic trance music, marked by low-toned, rhythmic sintir melodies, call and response singing, handclapping and cymbals.
This influence can be heard on the album as it was recorded in an altered tuning which allows the sound of the east to be in place. In April 2010, it was revealed that the Rebirth album, would also include a DVD, described as The Rebirth: A Visual Album.
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Back on Pitt's "dramatic side," he is best known for his role in Bernardo Bertolucci's The Dreamers, and in television for his portrayal of James "Jimmy" Darmody in the hit HBO series Boardwalk Empire.
|Pitt in Boardwalk Empire|
In 2001 his breakout role as the lover of a transgendered rock star in Hedwig and the Angry Inch led to supporting roles in Bully and in mainstream Hollywood fare such as Murder by Numbers and The Village, as well as the lead in Bernardo Bertolucci's The Dreamers - and now.