Eoin Butler: writer, journalist and Mayoman of the Year

Tripping Along The Ledge


Published: Mongrel magazine, September 2005

Two of these individuals participated in this interview… your guess as good as mine

arcade shot
[N.B. Minutes before or after (I can’t remember which) yesterday’s tête-à-tête with Flaming Lips’ mainman Wayne Coyne, I interviewed two unidentified members of the Arcade Fire. They weren’t very famous then. I assumed I was talking to Win and Regine. But when “Win” started referring to himself in the third person, it occurred to me that this wasn’t necessarily the case. For the published piece, I called them Will (Win’s brother) and Regine. But to be honest, for all I know, I could have been talking to anyone that day. I was pretty high on life back then. Like really, really high on life…]

Hours before they stole the show at the Electric Picnic, Regine Chassagne and Will Butler talked to us about touring, plans for their second album and why Irish grass is some good shit…

Funeral is one of the best debut albums to come along in a while. Are you incredibly proud of it or do you still fixate on some tiny flaw no-one else would ever notice?
Will: We’d listened to it so many times that, when it first came back, I don’t think anyone wanted to listen to it. (both laugh) It took me a long time to listen to the record objectively.
Regine: We thought it sounded like a mix tape. I think I only saw the link between the songs through the lyrics when I put them on a computer for the first time. It was like ‘Hey, this actually makes sense.’ Before that, we really didn’t know.

Come on… You must have had an inkling it was pretty good?
Will: There were points while we were recording it, like when we first put the strings on for the first time, where we thought ‘Wow, that sounds great!’ But you keep working with it and you sort of lose that perspective.
Regine: It changes from week to week. One week you’re like ‘Yes, this is awesome.’ The next, it’s like ‘Aw, this sucks’.

Win once described the band as ‘travelling beer salesmen’. Doesn’t sound like he really particularly enjoys touring.
Regine: It’s just cause we used to… When we recorded the album, and even before that, we used to stay in one place and have our instruments around us and be able to write music. When you travel all the time, you’re always carrying your bags from A to B, sound-checking and changing countries everyday. It’s its really, really hard to write.
Will: I think we like playing shows…
Regine: Yeah we like playing shows, but for writing…
Will: Touring can be kind of rough some times… It’s not a healthy way to live, even aside from the ability to write songs, it’s pretty hard on your body.
Regine: This is the first tour we’ve done where, when one person got sick, we didn’t all get sick.

What, from food or something?
Will: No, just from exhaustion
Regine: Not enough sleep and you get cold and you get everything…

Is this your first time in Scotland?
In Ireland?

Just checking… (laughter) You’re at least semi- with it so. That’s what I’d imagine though, that you’d turn up at these festival sites and they’re all pretty much interchangeable.
Regine: The colour of the grass is way nicer here – way nicer.

Yeah, we’re really proud of that. It’s like, Take that, Eiffel Tower…! Do you get much of a sense of a country when you visit it like this?
Will: It depends. Sometimes we have days off, so we can wander around. Often we don’t get to see much.
Regine: Tents and beer tents and other beer tents…

I read in one interview you did in Sweden or somewhere where you said the reason you like touring is because you get to meet new people. You were full of shit, right?
Will: Well, I guess I like meeting new people…
Regine: No, I do like meeting new people. But I don’t think this is the best environment to meet them…

You’ve been touring all year.
Will: Pretty much.

What’s the best new band you’ve seen? And not someone you’re friends with or any of that shite…
Regine: Well they are my friends and I love them and think they are the best so…

Regine: Wolf Parade! Number one! They’re from Montreal, they’re really good. They’re on Sub Pop and they have a record coming out really soon.

Once this album is toured. What’s next?
Will: We’re starting to recording a new record in October / November.
Regine: …Or at least working on songs.
Will: That’ll take up a good chunk of next year and then hopefully we’ll have a record out after that and this will all start all over again.
Regine: Yep.