"Arcade Fire" (often referred to as "The Arcade Fire") is an indie rock band based in Montreal, Quebec and fronted by the husband and wife duo of Texan Win Butler and Québécoise Régine Chassagne. The band was formed while Win Butler attended Philips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire, United States. The lineup changed and solidified in 2003 and 2004, during the recording of their first full-length album, "Funeral".
The band is known for their live performances and their use of a large number of musical instruments; in addition to the guitar, drums, and bass guitar, the band's members also play instruments such as the piano, violin, and viola. When asked about the name of the band, lead vocalist Butler stated that it refers to a fire that supposedly occurred in Exeter Arcade.
Arcade Fire has won numerous awards, including both the Meteors 2008 Best International Album award and the Juno Awards 2008 Alternative Album of the Year award for "Neon Bible". It has also been nominated by the Grammys for 2006 Best Alternative Music Album for "Funeral" and 2008 Best Alternative Music Album nomination for "Neon Bible".
===Formation and early history (1995–2004)===
The band formed while Win Butler attended the Phillips Exeter Academy and originally consisted of Butler, Josh Deu, and Tim Kyle (now of Wild Light
). The band's current lineup formed in Montreal around the husband and wife duo of Butler and Régine Chassagne around mid-2003 and was solidified in late 2003 and early 2004, when their first full-length album "Funeral" was recorded. Before this, an eponymous EP (often referred to by fans as the "Us Kids Know EP") was sold at early shows. The EP was subsequently remastered and given a full release once the band became more well known.
In addition to instrument mainstays guitar, drums and bass guitar, members play piano, violin, viola, cello, double bass, xylophone, keyboard, French horn, accordion, hurdy gurdy, harp and mandolin. Arcade Fire takes most of their instruments on tour, and band members switch instrumental duties throughout their shows. The promise shown by the band in their live shows allowed them to land a record contract with the independent record label Merge Records.
When asked about the rumour that the band's name refers to a fire in an arcade, Win Butler replied: "It's not a rumour, 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."
On June 26, 2006, Win Butler announced on the band's journal that work had been progressing on their new album and the band had committed 15 tracks to tape using a variety of new instruments, including a pipe organ, and that some recording had taken place in the couple's living room. Butler announced in his online diary, Win's Scrapbook, that the new album would be self-produced, saying, "after trying to decide if we should work with any producers we kind of realized that we already know how we want things to sound so we should just run after that sound as fast as we can and not rely on someone else to guide the good ship Arcade Fire." He also announced that the band was working with engineers Scott Colburn and Marcus Dravs.
The first track officially released from "Neon Bible" was "Intervention" in December 2006 on iTunes. Proceeds from this release were dedicated to Partners in Health. An error resulted in a second song, "Black Wave/Bad Vibrations", appearing on iTunes for a short time. The album was leaked to peer-to-peer networks on January 26, 2007, and was officially released March 5, 2007 in the UK and March 6 in North America. "Neon Bible" premiered at number 1 on the Canadian Albums Chart and the Irish Album Charts, and number 2 on the U.S. "Billboard" Top 200 charts and the UK Top 40 Album Chart for the week of March 12, 2007. The album was also number 1 on the Rock and Indie album charts. The first proper single, "Black Mirror", was announced in January 2007. Displaying echoes of British band Echo and the Bunnymen, "Black Mirror" reached the #1 spot on CBC Radio 3's "R3-30" chart for five consecutive weeks, from March 22 to April 19, 2007, and was the first single by any band ever to spend more than two weeks atop the chart. The album gained much critical acclaim (even being mooted as a strong contender for album of the year), and because of its success saw the band proclaimed the most exciting act on the earth by British music magazine "Q". "Paste" voted it one of the five best albums of 2007. "Trouser Press" writer Jason Reeher ranked "Neon Bible" "among the best indie rock recordings of all time."
Arcade Fire played on "Saturday Night Live" on February 24, 2007, performing "Intervention" and "Keep the Car Running". Owen Pallett was not present because he was recording for his own project, Final Fantasy
. During the performance, one of Win Butler's guitar strings broke, prompting him to rip the strings from his acoustic guitar and smash it on the floor until it shattered. On this guitar, "sak vide pa kanpe" was written in duct tape across the front. A Haitian proverb meaning "An empty sack cannot stand up" in Creole, this was a reference to the extreme poverty of Haiti, the country of origin of Régine Chassagne.
On July 10, 2007, "Neon Bible" was named to the shortlist for the 2007 Polaris Music Prize. Patrick Watson
was announced as the winner at a gala ceremony on September 24, 2007. However, due to the band's preference not to participate in compilation albums, they were the only nominee not to have a track on the Polaris promotional compilation "2007 Polaris Music Prize". Some media initially reported that the Polaris committee had snubbed the band by excluding them, leading the band and the committee to issue a joint press release confirming that the band chose not to have a track included on the album.
The "Neon Bible" tour continued into September 2007 with 25+ dates scheduled in North America and Europe through mid-November. The band toured Australia and New Zealand for the first time in early 2008 as part of the 2008 Big Day Out festival. On October 14, 2007, Win Butler and Régine Chassagne made a surprise guest appearance at a Bruce Springsteen show in Ottawa, playing "State Trooper" and "Keep the Car Running". The band committed to give Partners in Health $1.00, £1.00, or €1.00 of every ticket sold on its 2008 European and North American tours.
In February 2008, Win Butler announced on the band's journal that the "Neon Bible" tour had come to an end, after one year of touring and a total of 122 shows (including 33 festivals) in 75 cities and 19 countries.
Win Butler has been a vocal supporter of Barack Obama since the end of the New Hampshire Primary. Arcade Fire performed two free concerts for Obama in Cleveland and Nelsonville, Ohio on March 2, 2008 and March 3, 2008 before the state's March 4 primary. The band, with Superchunk, performed another two free concerts for Obama on May 1 in Greensboro, North Carolina, and on May 2 in Carrboro, North Carolina before the state's May 6 primary.
The band was rumored to be working with producer Markus Dravs on the soundtrack for the upcoming Richard Kelly film "The Box". Win Butler denied the claims, but stated that he and Owen Pallett "may do an instrumental piece or two" for the film.
In addition to founders Win Butler and Régine Chassagne, members include Richard Reed Parry, William Butler, Tim Kingsbury, Sarah Neufeld and Jeremy Gara. Touring members include Marika Anthony-Shaw, Colin Stetson, Kelly Pratt, Owen Pallett, and Pietro Amato.
Howard Bilerman, who played drums on "Funeral", has since moved on to other projects. During the "Funeral" shows, the touring band included horn player Pietro Amato and violinist Owen Pallett. Neufeld, Parry, and Amato also play in the instrumental band Bell Orchestre. Pallett, though not listed as a band member on the band's official site nor in the album sleeve notes, has been a member of their touring lineup, and, according to the album sleeve notes, he did the orchestral and string arrangements with Regine Butler for both albums. Other members of the touring band are Marika Anthony-Shaw – a violist and former Lindsay Place High School strings teacher who played on "Recording a Tape the Colour of the Light" with Bell Orchestre and "Set Yourself on Fire" by Stars
– as well as horn players Colin Stetson and Kelly Pratt, who have also played with Beirut
. These musicians bring the "Neon Bible" touring band to ten onstage members.
* "Funeral" (2004)
* "Neon Bible" (2007)
*Music of Canada
Referenced from Wikipedia: Arcade Fire