If He Were a Rich Man
What would indie music geek Final Fantasy do with some free money?
By Andrea Warner
Fans of Owen Pallett think of him as a sweet and salty violin virtuoso who looks 12 and wears his geek-heart on his sleeve. After all, he did name his musical project Final Fantasy after the beloved video game, and his second album, He Poos Clouds, dedicates eight of its 10 songs to the schools of magic in Dungeons & Dragons. But he’s more than the loner kid in his basement rocking out the NES.
Pallett’s musical pedigree dates back to his training in classical piano as a teen, and his ultimate graduation from U of T with a degree in composition. His collaborations are too numerous to dwell on, but one notable mention: he co-wrote the strings arrangements for The Arcade Fire’s Funeral and Neon Bible.
Famous friends aside, Final Fantasy enthusiasts mostly want to give Pallett a hug. His self-deprecating manner shines through in moments both funny and sad at every turn, and almost never more so than during his incredible live shows. Each one is a different sonic experience due to his mixing of violin with his trusty loop pedal. He’s usually modest and shy but endearingly cheeky behind his mic, and the front rows at his concerts, if Seattle’s Bumbershoot festival was any indication, are typically packed with awkwardly thin hipsters aching for a moment or two of eye contact, a joke, or a cute quip.
With all things Luxe in mind, Naked Eye asked Pallet to name his five “Rich Guy” fantasies–a task he was happy to indulge us in until the price got too high.
$1k. New clothes. I used to shop at Buy The Pound in Toronto and wear shawls and tights and flowery sweaters. I once went out with a pomelo skin as a hat. My favourite outfit was my Miami Beach-hoser-fag look. But I'm in my late-twenties now, so $1, 000 is like one or two new outfits. I know that big misshapen nylon items are really hot right now, but I'd probably buy a nice Irish woolen sweater that was a couple of sizes too big for me, and pair it with Rick Owens jeans.
$10k. A trip to Bhutan. Would you think I'd be stupid to take my $10,000 and go to Bhutan? You're like, “They don't have cell phone coverage or internet, just beautiful mountains, woven outfits and agriculture. I mean, couldn't you get the same thing from a trip to Terrace, BC?” Well, you're not alone. When I pulled up photos of Bhutan monasteries on the internet, Patrick (his boyfriend/manager) sighed and said, “Why do white people always want to go to remote places? It must be some ingrained colonialism or something.” He wants to go to Las Vegas.
$100k. Now we're talking. With $100,000 I could buy a Steinway [piano]. I could buy Kevin Shields' guitar rig. I could buy an Ondes Martenot, a Moog modular. I could hire an orchestra for 10 days. But not even the most beautiful instrument will give me a hit single. So I'd hire Kanye West to produce a track for me. Could you imagine if rich assholes, instead of buying up penthouse condos on the Toronto waterfront, would just hire Kanye West to produce tracks for them? Within a year, the charts worldwide would be dominated with number one hits like “Baked At The Drake,” “Sexy Spinning Instructor,” and “It Was The Worst Duck Confit I've Ever Tasted.”
$1m. In Toronto, I live right next to the Aston Martin/Rolls Royce dealership. This morning, as I walked by to get a muffin from Loblaws, in my pre-shower tank top and khaki shorts, I noticed that they'd put up over 100 signs in support of our local Conservative candidate. Seeing as I have $1 million, I have no problem with Conservatives. In fact, I love them. They're the best. But the placement of these signs was overbearing and tasteless. I saw a blue-haired man of luxury inside, trying to sell a Phantom to some asshole. I flipped them the bird as I walked by. What else could I do?