Owen Pallett is the son of two entomologists. He has written music his entire life, including scoring a videogame at the age of twelve, three movies by the age of sixteen, and two operas by the age of twenty-one. Bored of sitting at a computer all day, he took up the guitar and made music with panic-folk group Les Mouches. Bored of playing guitar, he plugged is violin into a looping pedal and started playing shows around Toronto. Owen called it Final Fantasy, in tribute to the melodramatic videogame series. This project would prove to be popular in the indiscriminate Toronto music scene, despite Owen's frail voice and tendencies toward self-sabotage.
Invited on short notice to tour with a still-unknown Arcade Fire, Owen recruited his friend Leon Taheny to make the debut record, Final Fantasy Has A Good Home, which was written in one week and recorded the week following. The album was only meant to be sold to conservative Canadian listeners and punctual Arcade Fire fans, but was unexpectedly scooped up by the Tomlab label, and sold a bunch of copies in Europe. The album was predictably lauded by Canadian, German and French music journalists, including several Best Of lists. It was panned by less patient ears in the US and the UK.
Unhappy with the sound of his own voice, his violin playing and his soggy appearance, Owen holed up in a little room in Barcelona to work on new material. The album that would become He Poos Clouds began with a list:
1. A set of songs that attempt to modernize each of the eight D&D schools of magic
2. Every song will be written for string quartet and voice
3. Nobody who listens to it will ever again entertain thoughts of suicide.
Several rewrites and misfires later, He Poos Clouds was successfully rendered to tape, with the assistance of Leon and the St. Kitts String Quartet. Additional instruments were added to make the whole thing sound more hazardous. Leon was busy recording four other projects at the same time, and Owen was plagued by neurotic overanalysis of the work-in-progress. There were tears, arguments, and data loss. The end result was more Miss Saigon than Scott 4. Nevertheless, all parties agreed that an acceptable effort had been exerted, and the initial goals had been achieved with flying colours.
After preparing string arrangements for The Mountain Goats, The Pet Shop Boys and Arcade Fire, in 2010 Pallett returned with Heartland, his most ambitious and accomplished record to date, and the first to be released under his own name.