Longtime Arcade Fire member, Will Butler has announced that he’s quit the band after nearly 20 years. The eminent rockers were founded by Butler’s older brother, Win, in Montreal, Canada in 2001. Will Butler joined the band’s ranks in the run-up to their iconic 2004 debut, Funeral.
Strangely, Will Butler’s news comes only days after the band announced their sixth album, WE. The band released the first single from the album ‘The Lightning I, II’, and for long time fans of the band, watching the video makes for a slightly surreal experience, as the absence of Will Butler is notable.
In a surprise series of tweets posted last night (March 19th), Butler explained that he actually left the band at the end of last year, saying it’s “time for new things”. However, he did clarify that the band are still his “friends and family”.
Butler’s tweet reads: “Hi friends— I’ve left Arcade Fire. I left at the end of last year, after the new record was complete. There was no acute reason beyond that I’ve changed—and the band has changed—over the last almost 20 years. Time for new things.”
Butler was quick to note that this isn’t the end of his musical career. In a set of subsequent tweets, he revealed that he’s working on a new solo record, the follow-up to 2020’s Generations.
“Thank you to anyone who’s come out to AF shows, or bought a record, or loves our music. It’s meaningful to be part of your lives. Thank you to the crew, staff, management, label people, bands, artists, and friends who have helped bring our vision to life for so many years.” He added, “The band are still my friends and family. I’ll be around! See you around!”
Arcade Fire’s WE is set for release on May 6th, and has been produced by resident husband and wife duo, Win Butler and Régine Chassagne, alongside Radiohead producer, Nigel Godrich.
Listen to ‘The Lightning I, II’ below.