Le Fly Pan Am formed in Montreal in 1996 and played their earliest shows with many of the city’s emerging instrumental/experimental rock groups (including Exhaust, Godspeed you! Black Emperor and the Shalabi Effect) in various alternate venues and extra-official warehouses during the late-90s. The band’s four founding members worked through four Constellation release from 1998-2005 and went on hiatus in 2006.
The band’s first release was a split 7″ with Godspeed, issued by local zine aMAZEzine in 1998. They began recording their first full-length later that year, released as a self-titled CD and 2xLP by Constellation in 1999. As Montreal’s rock instrumentalists began to cross-pollinate and collaborate during this period, Fly Pan Am teamed up with sound artist Alexandre St-Onge; they premiered their first joint piece at Constellation’s Musique Fragile concert series in 1998, and went on to record it for their first album. St-Onge has remained a regular guest, appearing on various tracks throughout the band’s recorded work.
Fly Pan Am has also frequently collaborated with electronic artists Tim Hecker and Christof Mgone, including a number of unreleased recording sessions, of which a sample can be heard on Constellation’s Song of the Silent Land compilation, as well as on one track from N’Ecoutez Pas.
Fly Pan Am has toured Europe and North America numerous times, sharing bills with GY!BE, Do Make Say Think, Stereolab, and Bradcast, among others. They have performed twice at Fonderie Darling, the Montreal installation art centre run by Quartier Ephemere. They spent a week performing in Portugal in 2002, at the invitation of Visao Periferica, and played the Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville in 2004.