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Welded in personal experience

Arcade Fire: Interview Part Two

[Part 2 of 2]
Here is part 2 of the interview with Arcade Fire


[more:]Prefix Magazine:
The song "Wake Up" seems tailored for the live experience. When you're writing songs do you think, "Oh, this'll work great live," or "This'll work great when we record it in sequence with other tracks." Do you think of your music primarily as a vehicle for live performance, as part of the record, or both?

Arcade Fire:
Kind of both. A lot of songs are worked on and kinda written, but we haven't tried recording them or they haven't jumped out as we've wanted to play them live. Some of those songs we will record and they'll find themselves that way. Other songs, like "Wake Up," are ones that we were going to play live and be like, "Hello!" So there is a tension between [the two kinds of songs], but not all the time. Sometimes you just work it out and you try to play it live and you keep trying to do it and it keeps sucking and eventually you just stop.

There seem to be so many disparate influences in your music. I'm wondering about how that gets welded down in the songwriting process. There are the danceable beats, the chamber-pop elements, the big brash guitars. How does that all get focused in the music?

Arcade Fire:
Gradually [laughs]; one foot in front of the other. I work on the music all the time, but I'm not a principle songwriter really. Win will be working on a song, and he'll work on it a million times, and I'll pick up a different instrument every time. Sometimes I'll just pick up one instrument and he'll be like, "There you go." Sometimes you just have to try a million things.
We're totally not virtuosos on any instrument, any of us -- except Sarah [Neufeld] is kind of a virtuoso, the violinist. But the core of us, we're not working on the same thing over and over, so skills get better really slowly in the playing department. We're really tired by the end of the tour; we're not super-duper good musicians [by the end] because there are so many damn things [to play].

I would imagine that the songs really can change, then, as you're sort of getting better as the tour progresses, so songs that were one thing when you started out are something else by the end.

Arcade Fire:
Yeah. There are a couple of new songs that we are playing now that aren't recorded that we have ideas about. They're developing as we play them, and by the end [of the tour, who plays what could change].

What are you most looking forward to on this upcoming tour?

Arcade Fire:
I'm looking forward to playing in California, in the West Coast. I've never been to California, so I'm really exciting about being there. I'm excited [about] taking a break out in California [laughs]; I'm excited to play in San Francisco. I'm excited to play in New Orleans, and I'm excited about trying to as much as possible really find out about it -- it's really easy to travel and not learn anything. I'm really excited about meeting cool people on the way and finding cool places. Within America, it's really easy not to do that, but anything like awesome restaurants or hot springs is constantly exciting to me. Exciting people, exciting food -- the joys of traveling.

Yeah, I imagine it can be easy to get stuck in a traveling bubble when you're in a band and not meet those people or go to those places.

Arcade Fire:
Yeah, for sure. It's kind of crazy. For a long time, we were playing a lot of shows, but we'd go to places and play with other bands -- like open for other bands -- and people seemed to like us and we'd come back. So things were growing more slowly, but they were still growing. We played here a couple times and it was really fun both times, kind of like more of an organic process that we could watch happening. But since the record came out and it's doing way better than anyone knew, all of the sudden shows started being sold out and it's not what we were used to. It's like, "Oh, let's go to New York. It's totally sold out. I've never been there [but] people know all the words."

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