Owen Pallett Slams Morrissey, Praises the Strokes, Doesn't Envy Arcade Fire
Owen Pallett has been a part of some of the most interesting, complex and influential popular music this side of the millennium, and yet few Duran Duran fans will know that their favourite band's new album's grandeur was created by the Toronto-based ingénue. As an arranger, he's created sweeping string arrangements for Pet Shop Boys, Grizzly Bear, Mika, Last Shadow Puppets and, most famously, his old friends Arcade Fire. As a performer, the former Final Fantasy has expanded upon his Polaris Award-winning sophomore album 'He Poos Clouds' to create the complex, daring and Polaris- and Juno-nominated 'Heartland,' a lush concept album bathed in Pallett's signature wall of strings that dares the listener to question the motives of the music and its creator.
Spinner sits down with the musical virtuoso to discuss his disdain for artistic sexual labelling, flirting with Arcade Fire's success, how the Strokes inspired his album and why Morrissey should just come out of the closet already.
Why have 'Heartland' focus on the interplay between creator and the art they create?
As a songwriter I'm interested in examining how people talk about other songwriters. Let's say Sufjan Stevens, the way people talk about him and make assumptions about his music -- because he's not a homosexual but he sounds like a homosexual, and he is a Christian but his music doesn't sound Christian. It got me interested in the difference between what the art is and who the artist is that's making it. So that's been occupying my brain.
How much of your concept albums is about you trying to manipulate public persona?