The band use a total of 16 instruments in recordings and on tour, including the ‘Hurdy-Gurdy,’ a stringed instrument that produces sound with a crank-turned wheel rubbing against strings resulting in a ‘bagpipe’ sound.
9. They hate Deadmau5
Front man Win Butler sparked controversy at 2014’s Coachella festival, suggestively directing a comment toward EDM artists that were also on the bill: ‘Shout out to all the bands still playing actual instruments at this festival.’ Electronic artist Deadmau5 lashed out on Twitter, claiming he would rather enjoy opera than ‘waste a minute of my life with Arcade Fire.’
8. They do their own thing
Drummer Jeremy Gara has announced the release of his first solo album ‘Limn,’ meaning ‘to describe a painting in words’ which comes out 11th March 2016. He follows on from lead vocalist Will, who released his own solo album ‘Policy’ last year. Listen to latest single ‘Divinity’ here:
Win invented ‘The Winter Thaw,’ whilst studying at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. The Winter Thaw is an extended weekend for students when bad weather in the area proves to be difficult. Win also enjoyed varsity basketball and club softball whilst at the Academy and still plays a bit of basketball to this day.
6. They’re a fan of castles
Arcade Fire recorded their fourth album ‘Reflektor’ in abandoned Jamaican castle ‘Trident.’ The band moved in with producer Markus Dravs in 2011, and worked on roughly sixty songs before finally settling on the 13 featured on the album. The album was also mainly recorded on analogue tape.
5. They make tapes
Arcade Fire released ‘The Reflektor Tapes’ in August 15’. The band describe the documentary on their online site, claiming the film ‘recontextualizes the album experience, transporting the viewer into a kaleidoscopic sonic and visual landscape.’ The film was directed by American film and stage actor Kahlil Joseph, who has previously worked with artists such as Flying Lotus and Kendrick Lamar.
4. They’re relationship goals
Butler and his now wife Regine Chassange wrote the song ‘Headlights Look like Diamonds’ on their first date together. The track is featured on the bands EP the self-titled ‘Arcade Fire,’ which was released on their website and at their shows. The last verse of the track ‘all after all now we’re aware/all after all the time we share’ refers to the lyrics from ‘It’s a small world,’ which were written on Regine’s childhood music box. Regine brought the music box with her to Win’s jam session.
3. There wasn’t an actual fire
The band’s name was founded by frontman Win Butler, who as a young child was told a little white lie about a fire in an arcade. Win Butler spoke about this to Pitchfork: “It's based on a story that someone told me. It's not an actual event, but one that I took to be real. I would say that it's probably something that the kid made up, but at the time I believed him."
2. Suburbs set us up for what they had in store
The first song of their Third studio album The Suburbs explored band members Win and Will Butler’s childhood in Suburban Texas. In an interview with NME, Win described it as “"neither a love letter to, nor an indictment of the suburbs – it's a letter from the suburbs". The album exposed the darkness and danger of seemingly content childhoods, and helped establish the subjects of war, conflict, youth and loss of purity that ran in future albums.
1. They fucking loved Bowie
Following David Bowie's death, Arcade Fire paid commiserations with an organised parade in French Quarter, New Orleans. With help from Preservation Hall Jazz Band, the group performed a number of tracks from Bowie's Thin White Duke days, including hits “Heroes”, “Oh! You Pretty Things” and “Suffragette City.” The band had a close relationship with Bowie, having the starman featured on the band's track 'Reflektor.' Bowie also performed alongside the band in his very last performance, the 2005 Fashion Rocks concert in which he joined Win Butler for ‘Wake Up’ from the band’s debut album Funeral. Footage from the parade can be seen on the band's official website here: