By Out.com Editors
It�s been a big autumn for Ed Droste of Brooklyn, N.Y.�based band Grizzly Bear and Owen Pallett of Toronto�s Final Fantasy. The two musicians meet up for some dick talk.
Owen: Hey, Ed.
Ed: Hey, Owen. Isn�t my bed comfortable?
Owen: It�s lovely. I love the chipped paint look.
Ed: I know, it reminds me of beds in summer houses on Cape Cod with their weird, insane asylum look. Pre-WWI beds or something.
Owen: Reminds me of my Dad�s farm in Northern Ontario.
Ed: I had to find it on eBay. Well, my boyfriend found it.
Owen: Really? That�s a pity. That doesn�t sound so... real. A bed like this should be an heirloom, you know?
Ed: Whatever. It�s cheaper than going to an expensive antique store.
Ed: So that�s pretty real, man, my dollar is real.
Owen: Yeah. I guess so. I went to Jamie Stewart�s house in San Francisco. He�s the guy from Xiu Xiu. And his house is filled with all these old Chinese antiques. And it looked crazy, like he had this �collecting Asia� thing going on. But it was all inherited from his Dad.
Ed: I wish I could get into collecting and decorating and fagging out. But it�s my boyfriend�Chad�who�s in interior design. So, basically, he spearheaded this whole process. And I told him I wanted one of these crazy insane asylum beds and he found it for me.
Owen: That�s cool. You have a nice house.
Ed: You mean apartment. Can you imagine having a house in New York?
Owen: You�d have to be pretty loaded. So... your new album [Yellow House] is out and it�s been getting amazing reviews everywhere. How does that make you feel?
Ed: Pretty sassy... [Laughs] No, just kidding. No, it makes me happy that people are taking the time to listen to it. It�s not something that comes quickly. It�s not an immediate album. It�s nice that people aren�t just listening to the MP3s on the blogs.
Owen: Yeah, well, you�re not like a �singles� band or anything. You�re not Daft Punk.
Ed: Even though that is my deepest, darkest desire.
Owen: Well, I had a conversation last week with a Grizzly Bear fan who was a little weirded out by the fact that your personal musical taste veers towards the new soft-rock revival. You like Junior Boys, and Hot Chip.
Ed: You�d call that soft rock?
Owen: Totally. It sounds like Hall & Oates.
Ed: I just like that shit. I like it smooth!
Owen: I�m not dissing it. It�s just totally different from Grizzly Bear.
Ed: I guess I just like easy listening. Sometimes crazy vocals just really freak me out.
Owen: I know. We�ve had that discussion. You don�t like it when I scream.
Ed: Yeah, Owen, you always scream into your violin and I don�t want you to. But I have a tendency to mumble and ooh and ahh all the time.
Owen: Different strokes. You�re shy and I�m bipolar. But you�re right, though, I got a letter that said, �Dude you�ve got to stop being so totally emo and screaming into your violin.�
Ed: Is screaming emo?
Owen: Nobody uses the word emo correctly anymore. I don�t know what people mean when they say it. It�s like pretentious, which has the connotation of just being a negative word, but it�s just a state of assuming that the audience knows as much as you do.
[Ed�s phone rings. He has a syncopated easy-rock ringtone.]
Ed: Sorry, sorry. What were you saying?
Owen: Nothing. I was just saying that journalists often say pretentious when they actually mean trite or perhaps opaque. Anyway, I feel like calling someone emo has nothing to do with actual emo, it�s just people�s way of saying �I don�t like it.�
Ed: You�re not emo. You get accolades. Hello, you just won, like, the biggest award in Canada. The Polaris Music Prize.
Owen: Doesn�t make the screaming any better.
Ed: Please. You�re on the cover of every Canadian music magazine.
Owen: It doesn�t make the screaming any better! It�s flattering but it doesn�t make the album Canada�s Blood On the Tracks or anything. [Laughing] It�s a stupid album about some stupid shit!
Ed: It�s not stupid, you�re just being self-deprecating because you�re gay.
Owen: [Laughing] Oh, that�s the reason? I hate myself because I�m a gay?
Ed: Gays are always shooting themselves down, being like, �I suck.�
Ed: Just kidding, I rule!
Owen: [Laughing] Well, I do think that self-deprecation and self-doubt are tied into narcissism.
Ed: Yeah. It�s called �fishing for compliments.�
Owen: No, it�s more than that. When somebody says �Oh, my album is shitty,� it�s because they believe that they as an artist are capable of far more than the actual results would have the world believe.
Ed: So you�re saying you�re a narcissist?
Owen: Maybe. Gays and narcissists have a long list of common traits. But I�m actually totally pleased with my shitty album.
Ed: You don�t think it�s a piece of shit. You�ve vehemently defended it to many people.
Owen: Uh, not, not really. I�ve defended some of the choices I�ve made but
I still think the album is a stupid piece of shit.
Ed: Wow. Well, you heard it here.
Owen: But that�s not self-deprecating, I�m just deprecating the shit I make. As for my self, I think I�m pretty cool.
Owen: So. Let�s talk about the future.
Ed: The future... well, we�re both in relationships so we can�t slut around the world the way we secretly want to.
Ed: We can only talk about it in interviews all the time.
Owen: What country do you feel like you�d most want to slut around in?
Ed: I think, recently, France.
Owen: A friend of mine who was slutting around Europe a few years ago told me that the French boys all had the biggest dicks.
Owen: Yeah. He said, without question. He said that in France he saw two of the biggest dicks he�s ever seen in his life.
Ed: That�s really wild. I would never have guessed.
Owen: I like the fact that French boys smoke all the time. It makes them look sexy and naive at the same time.
Ed: Hmm. What�s your least favorite country to slut around in?
Ed: Really? Me too!
Owen: The guys there are kind of cheesy and glassy-eyed. The girls too.
Ed: The girls all remind me of Posh Spice.
Owen: Yeah! I think all English girls are, maybe, kind of down-trodden. England seems really misogynist to me�the music scene and the art scene. Girls aren�t allowed to do anything without a man holding her hand. When�s the last time you saw an English band with a really conspicuous female frontwoman?
Ed: The Pipettes!
Owen: They�re new, aren�t they? I haven�t heard them but I like their style.
Ed: They�re totally popular. But I don�t know if they actually write their own songs.
Owen: The Long Blondes are the only band from England I know who are popular and have girls writing their songs. And Lily Allen, I guess, too, but I haven�t listened to her. Other than that, it�s all like, Pussycat Dolls. And I think one of the dudes from OMD writes all their songs. Anyway, they don�t seem to get behind the girls in England in their music or art scenes and I think it fucks the whole English female population up. It makes them non-intellectual or something.
Ed: Yeah, everyone just seems kind of drunk and aggressive to me there.
Owen: It�s a real soccer culture there.
Ed: I feel more threatened by drunk English hooligans than I do in, like, rural Appalachia here! [Laughs] That says a lot! That�s what their festivals are like, too. It�s all about getting wasted and barely checking the music out. And it�s competitive, too, they�re blaring crazy bass while you�re trying to listen to a singer-songwriter. It�s so random to me!
Owen: I know, it�s crazy.
Ed: And everybody�s just like, [Ed makes puking sounds] �Whoa, this is
awesome.� [More puking] OK. We should stop trashing England now.
Owen: OK. We�ll scale it down in the editing, right?
Ed: We�ll just allude to it, I think.
Owen: Well, we�re both English. Aren�t you English?
Ed: Scottish. And I love Scotland.
Owen: I love Scotland too. And Ireland.
Ed: I haven�t been to Ireland.
Owen: You�re going to have so much fun in Ireland. There are really hot boys there.
Ed: Really? Redheads?
Owen: Yes. And better than the redheads are boys with dark hair, pale skin, and really blue eyes. And freckles. Not hairy. Your tour manager is going to freak out.
Ed: Yeah, Simon�s gonna go crazy. And there are a lot of them?
Owen: Yup. Everywhere.
Ed: Wow. Can�t wait.
Owen: So, in your music, you�re always talking about penetration. You have a lot of references to objects of insertion and being debased.
Ed: [Laughs] Like what?
Owen: You always are making yourself the object, not the subject. And sometimes explicitly.
Ed: Maybe more on the first album.
Owen: No, Yellow House too. Like �Knife�?
Ed: Oh. [Dubiously] Like the knife is a dick?
Ed: No, �Knife� is about backstabbing. Cheating. I don�t promote cheating.
Owen: So, you cheating on Chad or Chad cheating on you?
Ed: Well, it hasn�t happened. But that song is about stringing someone along and cheating on them. Maybe I�m just singing about someone who�s done that to me. I don�t even know.
Owen: I actually have sympathy for backstabbers. I think it�s like M. Night Shyamalan.... ghosts don�t realize they�re dead. Cheaters and shitheads, too, don�t even realize what they do.
Ed: Am I a backstabber? Is that what you�re getting at?
Owen: Umm� no. I don�t think you�re a backstabbing asshole.
Ed: Oh, thanks! Thanks, Owen. That�s the nicest thing anyone�s ever said to me. I love how it took you a couple of seconds to think about it, too.
Owen: I just wanted to give you an honest answer.
Ed: Well, where else am I the object of penetration? You�re just saying that because you know I�m a bottom.
Owen: Maybe! But it was also in �Fix It� where you sing, �Come again all over me, I swear I�ll change just wait and see...�
Ed: That�s true.
Owen: Do you think that having somebody come on you is telling of your sexual preference? Like, whether you�re a top or a bottom?
Ed: I don�t know. Maybe, but I�m sure there are tops out there who like getting come on. But we�re getting into graphic stuff and I don�t know if this magazine is into that.
Owen: Well, this might just be the most popular interview they ever print.
Ed: You might not portray yourself as the object of penetration, but you kill yourself at the end of every album. Discuss.
Owen: I�m trying to make light of the suicidal artist. I think that so many people take their rock bands so seriously, and we need more humorous musicians who are willing to dick around. I like it when artists don�t try and make �the classic album that saved rock and roll� and instead are like, �Dude, this album is about Oregon.� Instead of trying to make dollar bills, they�re making little pieces of shit.
Ed: But how can you work so hard on something, pour your life into it, and then call it shit? Aren�t you being self-deprecating again?
Owen: No. I separate the art from the artist. My shitty music doesn�t make me a shitty musician.
Ed: So when people pan your album you totally agree with them?
Owen: Yes! And when people love my music I think there�s something wrong with them. I don�t like it when artist and art become intertwined. It feels forced to me. I get sickened when people fall in love with the idea of the musician but the music is bullshit.
Ed: Like the image of the artist? The whole persona?
Owen: Yes. The age thing, too, when people get excited about teenagers in bands. I was unbelievably happy to hear the Arctic Monkeys and then to really enjoy them. I would�ve been pretty annoyed if they were crap.
Ed: I�m not with you on that one.
Owen: Whatever. Anyway, do we have a message we want to give to all the mainstream homos who read the most popular homo magazine in the U.S.?
Ed: We can tell them that they missed out on the best tour ever when you and I were playing with Wyrd Visions. Maybe we�ll do a reunion show some day. It was a sweet tour and I�m so jealous that you get to travel with your boyfriend. I don�t have that luxury and it makes me mad.
Owen: OK. I�m sorry. Well, there are definite pros and cons to that arrangement.
Ed: It�s true, traveling can be stressful and you probably fight all the time.
Owen: At first it was kind of weird but we eventually locked into it. We definitely don�t have as much sex when we�re on tour. We�re usually sleeping on people�s couches.
Ed: Case in point, right here in New York.
Owen: For sure. And we are definitely not having sex on your couch, nope. On top of that, it took some time to get used to being coworkers. But it�s good. When I was on tour without him there were a lot of tearful and expensive phone calls�and so much jealousy. When I�d return, it would take three days of arguing before we could convince each other that we hadn�t cheated. What�s it like when you get off tour with Chad?
Ed: It always takes us a little time to get used to being back together. We get into these modes where we�re independent. Then it�s like, �Hey, I�m moving back in.� It�s exciting. He�s coming to visit us in Italy for five days this fall. It would be great if he could come on tour but it�s so exhausting. He�d probably quit and say, �Fuck this shit, I�m going to watch NetFlix at home.� Plus, our poor dog would die.
Owen: So, getting back on track... do you watch pornos?
Ed: [Laughs.] I watch some. Usually online, I don�t feel the need to own them, usually. I always like to see something new and different.
Owen: There are two types of people who watch pornos, you know: the voyeurs and the collectors. Voyeurs are just looking to get off, they�re the kind who just type �cock� into their Google. The collectors are the ones who are interested in porno as an art form. They�re always snapping up the William Higgins reels off eBay.
Ed: Well, my friend works on an online porn site that has shitloads of videos and he just gave me a free membership. I just go to that one site when I feel like it, which isn�t even that often. There was one time that I chanced upon a video there I loved so much that I had to own it, so I bought it. That�s it. I have one porn. It�s in there if you want to watch it.
Owen: No, it�s OK. But what are your tastes?
Ed: It was an early �80s, scruffy hair sort of thing. Preppy boys. It was hot. It�s got the most attractive actors I�ve seen in a porn. Nary a leather face in sight.
Owen: I don�t have the patience to track that kind of stuff down. I usually just get off on free video previews and erotic stories.
Ed: I always do live streaming but then skip to minute 10. Then I�m like, done.
Owen: OK, last question. What would provide you with the most satisfaction in the next few years, both on a professional level and a personal level?
Ed: It�s kind of the same answer for both. I hope people don�t get sick of the music I make and I hope my boyfriend doesn�t get sick of me.
Owen: So you�re looking for longevity.
Owen: So your goal with Grizzly Bear is to have 20 albums out and people are still listening to you?
Ed: No, maybe four. Four that people will come back to. What about you?
Owen: I hope to have a 30-CD box set by the time I�m 50. Just a lot of records.
Ed: Some are poop, some are not, right?
Ed: You want all poop?
Owen: Yes. All poop.
Ed: One giant 30-disc poop set.
Owen: Yes. And I want it to be layered, like a lasagna.
Ed: Like a poopy Dante�s Inferno.
Owen: Exactly. I wish you could designate the relative importance of each album with the size of the font on the cover art. So there�s a listening order. You have an 84-point classic album that everybody should listen to, and then you move down into these specialized extrapolations that are more obscure and difficult. With titles in a 4-point font. Tori Amos could do something like that.
Ed: Huh. You should talk about it with her. You should collaborate with her!
Owen: Tori Amos? I would collaborate with her in her 1996 self, for sure. A friend of mine had a... nasty theory that Tori Amos, PJ Harvey, and Bj�rk all got brainwashed in 1996, and became inferior, robotic versions of their former selves. I pointed out that in 1996, all three singers appeared on the cover of Q magazine for the �Women of Rock� issue. He theorized that maybe the Q magazine photographer was a catalyst in a massive misogynist plot.
Ed: That�s not funny, that�s mean. And I still love Bj�rk.
Owen: And I still love PJ Harvey and Tori Amos. I said it was a nasty theory.
Ed: Bj�rk, call me! PJ, you can call me too, if you want.
Owen: Yeah? What about Tori?
Ed: Tori... we can instant message.