Arcade Fire scored some pretty solid advice from Neil Young after a Thanksgiving feast while the band were still working on their stellar 2013 album, Reflektor. “It was the end of the night and we were leaving,” frontman Win Butler tells Rainn Wilson in a new interview for the former Office star’s Soul Pancake site, “and he’s like, ‘Well, guys, have fun making your album. Or it can not be fun at all, that’s fine too. Doesn’t matter if it’s fun.’
“There’s conflict that’s supposed to be in making something good,” Butler added. “There’s, like, inherent conflict. It’s not something to be scared of.”
Along with relaying Young’s wry, sage wisdom, Butler also cited the rocker’s classic 1970 record After the Gold Rush as one of the most important albums in his life, along with the Cure‘s Disintegration and Radiohead‘s The Bends, OK Computer and Kid A.
“A single, to me, is more like a shot of adrenaline, and, for me, albums have more of a sense of opening my mind, opening me up to the world a lot more – kind of giving me tools to be a human,” Butler said.
The chat between Butler and Wilson covers a wide array of topics, from the band’s attempts to reinvent themselves with each record, how questions of justice guide Butler’s life and even Wilson’s nine-year-old son’s favorite Arcade Fire songs (“Reflektor,” “Afterlife,” “Joan of Arc” and “No Cars Go”).
Butler also spoke about the influence of Haitian rara music on Reflektor and what it was like playing a benefit concert in the middle Haiti for an audience that has little context for rock music. “A lot of people in Cange haven’t heard the Beatles or the Rolling Stones,” he said. “It just kind of made us realize how much context you take for granted in music. The feeling that we got playing the music there made us want to make a record that we could go play in Haiti and would destroy, like we could get people dancing.”
Arcade Fire will be looking to get North American audiences moving and shaking when the band hits the road for a sprawling arena tour behind Reflektor this spring. The massive trek kicks off March 6th at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky and continues through August, wrapping up with a homecoming show on August 30th at Montreal’s Parc Jean-Drapeau.