Toronto-based wunderkind, Owen Pallett, last interviewed by OMG.BLOG in 2010 following the release of his album Heartland, was one of many artists to release new music during the pandemic. No stranger to the expansive, pastoral opus, Island is Pallett’s fifth official solo full length record. On it, he continues to employ the tale of his protagonist, Lewis (who also featured on Heartland) as he traverses the world of Spectrum.
This alternate reality created by Pallett provides the foundation through which Pallett explores the often treacherous themes of solitude, trauma, sexuality and sexual identity, all encompased in the the constant state of transformation inherent in the queer experience.
Island features some of Owen’s best work, with pulverising depths tempered with moments of extreme sublimity, not a small feat to translate into a palatable (sorry) promotional visual experience of the music video format. Having collaborated with a wide variety of artists and filmmakers up to this point, it’s surprising that this key element to the last two records, with one more to come, has yet to be explored visually.
Enter Toronto-based illustrator Eric Kostiuk Williams, the award winning, increasingly in-demand artist who’s colourful, oozy work harkens back to a time where queer culture was steeped in code and all things subterranean. His work navigates a frothy, psychedelic underworld, steeped in queer histories of club cutlure, populated by queens, freaks, perverts and demi-gods.
Given the mutual otherworldliness of their work, the creative collaboration between the two friends seems overdue. Recently, though, the duo unleashed not one, but two videos in support of the record. This week in particular see’s the release of “Fire Mare,” which expands on the work they explored in a video for “Paragon of Order” shortly before that. The new single comes in advance of the vinyl release of the record, with packaging as rich as its contents.
We talked to Eric and Owen about how all these intersecting elements resulted in their collaboration and what we can expect from Owen’s as-yet-unreleased third installment in the turbulent fable of Lewis the farmer.
Read the full Q&A after the jump!