Having just released their funky, polyrhythmic new single Reflektor, Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler has revealed that the band’s upcoming album will be taking a similarly percussive, tribal route, describing it as a “mash up of Studio 54 and Haitian voodoo.”
Speaking to Zane Lowe on BBC Radio 1, Butler said the band’s fourth studio album was inspired by a gig in Haiti. The performance saw the band playing to “people who had never heard The Beatles before,” said Butler, stripping the group’s music of its context. The Canadian frontman indicated that this provided impetus for the band to focus more on “voodoo rhythms” than their traditional style of baroque indie rock.
Inspired by the Haiti gig and a trip to Jamaica with producer Markus Dravs, the band have crafted what Butler described as “a mash up of Studio 54 and Haitian voodoo.” While this might sound like a bizarre combination to some, Butler insisted that in 2013 it’s merely par for the course, saying “To me the joy of making music in 2013 is you’re allowed to like Sex Pistols and ABBA and that’s fine. It’s such an explosion, anything that’s good rises to the top, and we want music that respects that.”
The band will be heading Down Under in 2014 for Big Day Out, during which fans will see the new additions to the band’s live roster: two Haitian percussionists. Speaking about the new members of the touring lineup, Butler said “It does something really magical to the rhythm section, [these] deep African voodoo rhythms are the language in Haiti, [they’re] basically how people communicate.”
Watch: Arcade Fire – Reflektor