Arcade Fire opens up about Terry Gilliam, Spike Jonze collaborations

08.03.10 7 years ago

Eric Kayne

For Win Butler, watching director Terry Gilliam’s 1985 film “Brazil” was akin to listening to Bob Dylan.

“He’s my total hero… With a lot of my favorite records — like ‘Blonde on Blonde’ — every time I listen to it I’m like, ‘Oh yeah, this song’s on this record?’ even though I’ve heard it 100,000 times. I have the same experience with ‘Brazil,'” he told Pitchfork in an interview describing seeing the flick when he was young. “When I was 15, it was overwhelming; I don’t think I got half of what was going on. I wasn’t like, ‘That’s my favorite film,’ as much as I was like, ‘What just happened to me?'”

That sense of awe and wonder may follow Butler and his band Arcade Fire when they take to the stage at Madison Square Garden on Friday (Aug. 5), in promoting their newly released album “The Suburbs”. As previously reported, Gilliam is helming a webcast of the show; Butler says that the famed director is joining the band on the tour bus beforehand to get some stories and shoot some footage.

“It’s like having a live TV program and you have a certain amount of time to fill and be creative and have fun with it,” Butler continued, conceding he doesn’t know what the final product will look like when it hits YouTube.

A little of the same could be said of the band’s forthcoming collaboration with another famous filmmaker, Spike Jonze, who admitted previously that the Montreal band’s album “Funeral” was an inspiration to him as he produced “Where the Wild Things Are.”

Butler calls the project a “short film,” “like a science-fiction B-movie companion piece for the record… Basically, we played Spike some music from [‘The Suburbs’] 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 [Will Butler] 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.”

Which would explain one of his earlier quotes: ” I think filmmakers all secretly wanna be musicians and all musicians secretly wanna be filmmakers.”

From the big screen to the little, in other news, Arcade Fire covered late pop-noise songwriter Jay Reatard‘s “Oh It’s Such a Shame” at their show in Philadelphia this week, posted below. While the band may be on Merge records, it’s good to see them lift up Matador artists as well. 

Arcade Fire are on tour now and are scheduled for a stop during this coming weekend’s Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago. Check out our review of the album here. “The Suburbs” was released Tuesday.

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