Artist: Owen Pallett
From: Toronto, ON
2006 Polaris Music Prize winner Owen Pallett thinks his latest album is the best he’s put out. Do you?
Kristin Kent: So you’re nominated for the short list again this year, how does it feel?
Owen Pallett: Feels good.
KK: What do you think of the list this year?
OP: I hadn’t heard of five of the bands on it, but I got all their records and they’re all really awesome.
KK: So other than yourself, who are you rooting for?
OP: Well, I’m pretty good friends with Dan from Caribou and Tegan and Sara. So friend wise, I’m rooting for them. I really like Shad’s record as well, so I’m rooting for it. The Sadies are also one of my favourite bands.
KK: Was anyone left off?
OP: Oh ya, always. Everyone has they’re favourite band that don’t make the list. I was really bummed that Frog Eyes were ignored and Mantler were ignored. I think the Crystal Castles record is just generally better than people are willing to give it credit for. In the end, the method in which this award is given out is just an arbitrary process. It’s not the most accurate way of determining which of the 10 is the best, you know?
KK: Does being on the short list benefit your career?
OP: I can’t really be the judge of that. If I had my nose in how many records I’m selling, maybe I’d see a short spike when the record got nominated. I’m not the sort of person that keeps my nose to the grindstone. I just work, and when things like this happen it’s wonderful.
KK: What do you say to critics’ complaints that artists who’ve won in previous years shouldn’t be able to win again?
OP: It’s not a competition between artists, it’s a competition between records. We are talking about a monetary thing, I mean, if me or Dan Snaith were to win again, we might as well put a Drake logo on our records. But you know, if Polaris is going to be blowing steam high and low about it being a prize solely on artistic merit, then it’s solely a competition between records.
KK: Speaking of the monetary, what would you do with that $20,000 prize?
OP: I would probably share it with the other artists.
KK: Hey, that’s one I haven’t heard yet.
OP: Yeah, I was thinking about it and I just assume I’m not going to win. But that’s the same attitude I had in 2006. If I did, I thought it might be nice to spread the wealth around. It’s 20,000 dollars, I know that pretty much if you’re working as a musician in 2010, then you’re more likely in the red than in the black.
KK: Spread the love…
OP: Spread whatever small scraps of dough that are available to us.
KK: Why should you take the prize for the best Canadian album?
OP: Because my record is the best out of the 10. I mean, people thought I was self-deprecating when I was like, “oh I don’t deserve to win this.” Well, I don’t feel like that this year! I’m fucking awesome! I’m kidding, I’m lying. I don’t know, I’m just really pleased about this record in ways I’ve never really felt. I won’t be at all upset if any other records win because they’re all fantastic. In case of the repeat nominees, in my case and in Dan’s case, I genuinely feel like Heartland is my best record and Slim is his best record. So I think there may be a little bit of weirdness about that, but I’ve read some stuff and it seems we’re still in the running, in terms of public opinion. That said, I hope the jury spends time with those who aren’t necessarily in the public eye.