Singer/violinist Owen Pallett is busy gearing up for the release of his fourth album, In Conflict, on May 27, but he's taking a short break from it first. Until then, he'll be busy touring with Arcade Fire, a decision Pallett says he made in order to put some distance between himself and the intensity of making In Conflict.
"I kind of lost myself a little bit with this record," Pallett tells Exclaim! "When we were approaching the mixing process, I was feeling a little self-obsessed, and thought this would be a good thing for my head. Basically, the record was driving me crazy."
He says that making In Conflict was "way easier" than the process that birthed 2011's Heartland — "It felt much more comfortable, working with the musicians I loved, dealing with things I was interested in singing about" — but like anything he creates, it was consuming.
"I take my music very seriously, and I consider this to be a positive. I really work hard and then I lose myself in it; I try to take care of every little element. The issues were that I was going through a lot of stuff in my personal life while I was making it. That made it difficult."
Putting the finished songs in the right order wasn't easy, either.
"Honestly? I spent six weeks sequencing this record," admits Pallett. "It took me fucking forever. I sent it to friends. I even hired my friend who is a professional record sequencer. He identified 'This song has to be first (or last),' 'This song has to go there, this song has to be second.' But what really sealed the deal was when I started taking the transition pieces that were originally to make the record flow together, and I started putting them in places that, instead of flowing, were going to make it a little more jarring."
In Conflict is "a bit more of a schizophrenic record, sonically. I tried structuring the songs differently: I structured them all so that they happened chronologically, in terms of what I was singing about, and then in order of when I wrote them and then I sequenced them in a way that I thought worked. Then, I sequenced them like [Tori Amos's] Little Earthquakes, which is a record that just zips around from idea to idea and feels very heterogeneous.
"That's kind of what I was hoping for with this record, that it would have that same heterogeneity, would reflect different sides."
The many sides of In Conflict are out May 27 courtesy of Secret City in Canada and Domino elsewhere.