Arcade Fire was the focus of a profile on CBS Sunday Morning over the weekend. Fresh off their cover-heavy arena tour behind their chart-topping fourth record, Reflektor, frontman Win Butler found it amusing that they were still the focus of introduction pieces.
“I feel like we’re just constantly introducing ourselves,” Butler said with a smile. “I feel like we’ve been introducing ourselves for 15 years.”
The interview goes deep into the history of the band, from Butler’s musical grandparents (His grandmother was in The King Family, and his grandfather Alvino Rey was a big band leader. “He gave me my first guitar,” Butler said.), to the apartment in Montreal’s Mile End where they lived for six years and recorded their first record, Funeral.
Richard Parry recalled joining the band at that apartment. “[Win] put an ad on a telephone pole for a roommate. It was like, ‘I have this great place, we can make a lot of noise. It’s a weird loft.'” “I think you’re the only one who answered,” Regine Chassagne laughed.
Much of the discussion focused on Chassagne’s musical abilities, which she credited with her hunger for music growing up. “I didn’t have a lot of access to music,” she said, “so when I heard something I would just listen to it like was going to go away, because it was. And I was never going to hear it again. So I just learned to remember everything.”
“She can play pretty much everything she’s ever heard,” Butler added.
Chassagne recalled one particularly telling incident during the recording of Neon Bible. “I woke up with a crazy headache, my head was about to explode. And I tried to remember what was I dreaming about? And I realized I was playing ‘Black Mirror’ backwards in my head with the melody backwards and the beat. And I was trying to make it work… ‘Cause I wanted to make sure I knew it backwards and forwards, so I had to play it backwards.”
Chassagne’s Haitian heritage has led to the country being a large part of the band’s story. In fact, after the earthquake in 2010, their connection to the island nation altered the band’s decision making process. Butler said, “We did a Super Bowl ad because we were like, ‘Okay what’s in the inbox that we would’ve said no to? Okay, what does it pay? Yes, tell them to double it.'”
Butler expressed the idea that the band is a family more so than the typical rock persona. “We never have drugs in our band. There are a lot of pitfalls — we’ve all read the rock biographies. To be honest, I always found it so boring. I have no interest in that. In fact, I find it embarrassing. It’s like seeing a drunk Santa Claus or something like that. You don’t think it’s cool.”
They also touch on their Grammy win for The Suburbs, the recording of Funeral, and more. Watch the whole thing below.