Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Arcade Fire prepares for 'mind blow'

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NASHVILLE -- Win and Will Butler of Arcade Fire aren't your average brothers.

Sure, they spent their youngest years at odds, as brothers will. But early on they discovered something that would inform the rest of their lives as creative partners at the heart of one of rock 'n' roll's most creative and single-minded bands.

"I left the house when I was 15 to go to boarding school and would come back in the summers, and I started to realize he's the only person I related to in the whole everywhere," Win Butler, 33, said. "There's not too many people in the world where you literally have the exact same influences, so we kind of developed this language to work together where it's really easy."

"That doesn't mean we see everything identically," Will Butler, 31, said. "But it means that, certainly in artistic endeavours, there's a bit more empathy and compassion for each other because we see where they're coming from. And we tend to agree more than two random musicians would."

That relationship is at the heart of Arcade Fire's success and creativity, something that is on full display this week as the Grammy Award-winning group flies from one end of the continent to the other, and back. In the space of three weeks, Arcade Fire members will have played in a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans, played The Tonight Show, performed in Haiti, and then returned home to pack for a trip to Los Angeles and the Academy Awards, where the band is up for best original score for its work on Her.

"Normally when I come back from Haiti, I just look at all the power lines and streets and road signs and I'm just, 'Wow, look at all this infrastructure,"' Win Butler said. "I'm kind of in a daze the first couple of days when I get back to North America. But going from Haiti to the belly of the beast (at the Oscars) is going to be something of a mind blow."

The intense workload since the six-piece began recording Reflektor last year has required the kind of teamwork the brothers and their band have perfected since Will and Win began writing songs together growing up near Houston.

The band worked on Reflektor and Spike Jonze's best picture-nominated film in parallel fashion -- the album even contains a song proposed for the score that didn't make the film.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 27, 2014 C17

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