Arcade Fire’s Will Butler to Write Songs Based on Newspaper Headlines
UPDATE: Stream Will Butler’s “Clean Monday,” about the Greek debt crisis, below.
Arcade Fire multi-instrumentalist Will Butler will release his first solo album Policy on March 10th, and to prep for the event, the brother of Win will sit down with The Guardian each morning starting February 23rd to create a week’s worth of songs pulled from the newspaper’s headlines, which The Guardian will then premiere. Speaking about the project, Butler admits that the early works of Bob Dylan influenced this rapid-fire approach to songwriting.
“It was partly inspired by Bob Dylan, who used to announce that certain songs were based on headlines,” Butler says of the project. “It would be a song he wrote in two weeks or something, such as ‘The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll,’ which is one of the greatest songs ever. So I’ve set myself an impossible bar.”
Butler says that the daily project will test his ability to crank out new music at a faster-than-usual pace. While it’s impossible to predict next week’s news, Butler has been reading the paper to cast a net for possible song ideas, and not just what’s happening on Page One.
“I’ve been reading the Guardian every day, perusing the different sections. Some of them possibly lend themselves to songs. It’s a cruel thing, but sometimes you read something and think, ‘Uh oh. I could make something really meaty out of that,'” Butler said. “Something like the Dominique Strauss-Kahn trial – my God, that’s the gnarliest story in the world, but it’s interesting. Or you might read a science headline and think, ‘The universe is so much bigger than I thought it was.’ There’s something really beautiful in that.”