Owen Pallett steps out from behind the fantasy - Metro US

Owen Pallett steps out from behind the fantasy

With less than a month to go before he releases his highly anticipated third album, Toronto musician Owen Pallett surprised many when he abandoned his musical moniker, Final Fantasy.

Anyone aware of the famous video game of the same name was wondering when that day would come, including Pallett himself. In December he gave in and retired the name.

“(The game’s developer Square Enix) were OK with me using it but basically what it came down to was they had to legally step in and say something because that’s how trademark laws work,” Pallett tells Metro in an interview from Brooklyn on a recent Saturday morning.

The name change means his new album Heartland will be credited to Owen Pallett. However, that wasn’t his first choice.

“I had a secondary band name in mind,” he explains. “But, when the day came, I couldn’t bite the bullet and say, ‘I’m gonna change my name to this.’ The record was about to come out and I was like, ‘It’s too much, it’s too soon!’”

The name, in case you’re wondering, was Skylord. “I thought it was a great band name,” he explains, “but you can’t just change your name to Skylord right before your album comes out.”

He’s got a point.

Pallett won the inaugural Polaris Music Prize in 2006 for his second album, He Poos Clouds, but don’t be surprised if Heartland is the frontrunner for the Prize once again in September. Pallett has created a dense and absorbing epic filled with obscure poetry and grandiose orchestration.

“I wanted to make an album where I could play all these songs live using my looping rig,” he explains. “I also wanted it to be this orchestral score that I could put in front of an orchestra and just have them go to it.”

Within the intricate arrangements also lies an endearing bit of prose.

“This record has this highfalutin concept attached to it, but it’s really not meant to be high concept. It’s just a record about a relationship sung from the perspective of the sweetheart, and in this case that’s a farmer named Lewis who is singing songs to me, who is the one singing the song,” he says with a giggle.

“(Lewis) isn’t meant to be a metaphor for anything, he’s more of a composite of these things that I’m interested in,” he adds. “Like in the same way somebody else likes to sing about fat bottomed girls, I’m singing about a sexy farmer.”

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