Will Butler of Arcade Fire announced that the band’s next album has been delayed due to COVID-19. In an interview with NME, Butler explained that the band had all been working together to record before the quarantine, but are now all spread throughout Australia, Canada and the United States.
In Butler’s interview with NME, he explained the band does not yet know how far along they were in recording prior to the lockdown. Butler elaborated “I’ll only know that when it’s done,” stating it could be half, or none. Butler also stated in his interview that the band does not have the “file management skills for [the album] to be creative at the moment.”
The band has been teasing songs from their upcoming album over the past few months, including Win Butler’s post of an instrumental clip from the recording studio on the band’s social media account back in mid-April.
As Arcade Fire has halted their work for the next album, Will Butler will be releasing a solo album on September 25, called Generations. Speaking with NME, Butler said he was inspired to create the album from his family history. Butler released the first song from the album, “Surrender,” which features upbeat drums and guitar, peppy vocals with call-and-response lyrics. The music video shows Butler playing instrumentals spliced over footage of nature as subtitles show his discussion and beliefs in response to the Black Lives Matter movement.
“Jesus Christ what a year,” Butler said in the video’s subtitles. “Just watching that pre-quarantine footage completely melts my brain. I can’t comprehend it. I’m in Brooklyn, finishing this video, about four months into some kind of lockdown, and a little over six weeks into the protests over the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, and Elijah McClain, and I don’t know, man. When Johnny Cash put out Live at Folsom Prison, there were 188,000 people in prison in America. And when Fuck the Police came out there were 630,000. And now there’s a million and a half. Each constituent part of this country, every state, every city, every county, every town, has built its own terrible machine for tearing up lives. Particularly Black lives. We don’t need the police and prisons to have such inordinate power. I’m hopeful that on January 21, 2021, when, god willing, we have a new president, we can go to our mayors and say, ‘I don’t give a fuck who the president is. Open the jails. Open the police contract.’ And we can go to our governors and say, ‘I don’t care who the president is. You have the prison keys. Who are you letting out?’ I’m not optimistic, but I’m hopeful.”
The subtitles then continue to discuss Butler’s disappointment in being unable to tour, and how much he misses playing live shows.
“I thought we’d be touring this fall and I’m very sad to not see everyone,” Butler said in the video’s subtitles. “What a pure delight to share music with people, together, in a room.”
Arcade Fire consists of members Win Butler and his wife, Regine Chassagne, Win’s younger brother Will Butler, Richard Reed Parry, Tim Kingsbury and Jeremy Gara. Forming in Canada, many of the band’s members now live throughout Australia, Canada or the United States.
Australia is currently having an outbreak of COVID-19, with more than 10,000 reported cases causing the country to increase restrictions. Canada has closed its borders entirely. The United States, which had been slowly easing out of lockdown, is now beginning to return to quarantine with rising cases reported at 60,971 new cases on July 15. Yesterday, the White House ordered hospitals to send all patient information related to COVID-19 to central databases in Washington, and not the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Photo credit: Sharon Alagna