Arcade Fire’s Will Butler has taken up the task of writing a song a day based on news story written in the Guardian starting on the week of February 23. Butler’s interest in the news has resulted in a quirky collaboration with the English newspaper, which will release his songs throughout the week on their website.
“I’ve been reading the Guardian every day, perusing the different sections. Some of them possibly lend themselves to songs. It’s a cruel thing, but sometimes you read something and think, ‘Uh oh. I could make something really meaty out of that.’ Something like the Dominique Strauss-Kahn trial – my God, that’s the gnarliest story in the world, but it’s interesting. Or you might read a science headline and think, ‘The universe is so much bigger than I thought it was.’ There’s something really beautiful in that.”
Butler claims that the idea is partly inspired by legendary singer-songwriter Bob Dylan.
“It was partly inspired by Bob Dylan, who used to announce that certain songs were based on headlines. It would be a song he wrote in two weeks or something, such as The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll, which is one of the greatest songs ever. So I’ve set myself an impossible bar.”
Will has recently found his feet as a songwriter. Last year, Butler and composer Owen Pallett were nominated for Best Original Score at the 86th Academy Awards for his work on the feature film Her. His brother, Win Butler, was originally slated to score the feature film but pulled out after he and his wife, fellow bandmate Régine Chassagne, announced they were having a baby.
“Owen and I got the nomination, but the whole band worked on the score,” he explains. “I thought, ‘Well, If I have my name attached to something, I might as well do something of my own.'”
Will decided to follow up his success from the soundtrack with a solo album, Policy. He describes his upcoming solo album as homage to American music.
“American music, in the tradition of the Violent Femmes, the Breeders, the Modern Lovers, Bob Dylan, Smokey Robinson, the Magnetic Fields, Ghostface Killah, and John Lennon (I know, but it counts). Music where the holy fool runs afoul of the casual world.”
Will Butler recently released a new track of his upcoming solo album. He also announced his first ever European headline tour.
(Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)