- 16 Jul 18
Will Butler of rock behemoths Arcade Fire on the controversial marketing campaign for Everything Now, that legendary ‘05 Electric Picnic appearance, why the band aren’t as dark as Radiohead, and how he’s hoping to effect social change through his “Disco Town Halls”. Heavy lifting: Pat Carty.
There is probably some unprovable theorem connecting the level of a band’s popularity to the number of doors you have to get through to – however briefly – bask in their presence. I had to go through a lot of doors, but then Arcade Fire are a very popular band indeed.
In between a soundcheck and what proves to be a knockout gig in the 3Arena, your correspondent is squeezed in for a brief word with second banana, Will Butler. Straight down to business then, I inquire after the band’s latest album, last year’s Everything Now, a further step towards the dancefloor and away from the more straightforward epic indie of old. LCD Soundsystem main man James Murphy helped steer their predecessor, 2013’s Reflektor, but this time around Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter is behind the desk. “They’re really just people that we relate to artistically,” says Butler. “Steve Mackey from Pulp and Geoff Barrow from Portishead are also on this record. They’re people we want in the room – we want their feedback.”
Everything Now was preceded by a marketing campaign based on spoof tweets, fake ads and questionable products from the dummy Everything Now corporation, created with the help of the people behind satirical website, The Onion. The album itself landed to a bit of a mixed critical reaction, so was there a sense that the promotional campaign slightly backfired? “I don’t think it helped,” reflects Will. “The people who write these reviews are embedded online, so they got the full force of every tweet we sent! They were exposed in the way a casual fan might not have been.”