If you're walking around today and you think you're hearing more Arcade Fire music coming out of cars, radios and hipster stores than usual, it might just be because their newest, highly-anticipated album The Suburbs hit music retailers today. On a trajectory to become one of the biggest bands in the world (if they aren't already) the band has attracted a unique set of collaborators to help promote their latest effort. As we recently reported, Terry Gilliam is set to direct a webcast of the band's forthcoming concert at Madison Square Garden, and earlier in the year, it was revealed that Spike Jonze was working on a secretive project with the band. Speaking with Pitchfork, Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler has cast some light on the upcoming project which appears to be a short film, based around the overall concept of the album:
And as the album now gets played and analyzed, expect that sci-fi element to come to the fore. Speaking with Exclaim about The Suburbs, bassist Tim Kingsbury elaborated on the thematic scope of the record saying, "it's trying to capture the feeling of growing up in that environment, to a certain extent. It's based on reality and [the] fictitious as well; there's a certain element that's almost sci-fi, with the whole suburban war. Really, it's as much of a concept record as our last two records were." We imagine the finished product won't be unlike Jonze's recent short "I'm Here"; blending sci-fi elements with a very human story.
Pitchfork: I read that you guys worked with Spike Jonze recently, was that for a music video?
WB: It's not a video. It's a short film; we're still working on it. It's like a science-fiction B-movie companion piece for the record.
Basically, we played Spike some music from the album and the first images that came to his mind had the same feeling as this idea for a science fiction film I had when I was younger. My brother and I and Spike wrote it together, which was really fun-- it was like total amateur hour.We shot it in Austin and a lot of kids are in the film, and it was great just hanging out with these 15-year-olds for a week and writing down all the funny things they said. It was cool to revert to being a 15-year-old for a little while.
Of course, this isn't the first time big name directors and Arcade Fire have crossed paths. Jonze said he wrote "Where The Wild Things Are" while listening to their debut album Funeral, and even commissioned the band to re-record "Wake Up," using that version in the film's trailer. Richard Kelly had the score of "The Box" composed by Arcade Fire members Win Butler, Regine Chassagne and Final Fantasy member Owen Pallet and it should see a release at some point in the future. And finally, Jonathan Demme was set to make a music-driven documentary with the band in Haiti, before the devastating earthquake in the region scuttled those plans.
No word yet on the title, length ("that would be good to know...," jokes Butler in the interview) or when the short film will be released. All in good time we suppose. For now, the band are on the road through November in support of the album.