This Friday, Arcade Fire are preparing to release their seventh studio album WE. It will be the band’s first since 2017’s Everything Now and the last to feature multi-instrumentalist Will Butler, the brother to band leader Win Butler. The younger Butler brother departed after the completion of the album last year and officially announced he was leaving the band in March of 2022.
At the time, Butler claimed that “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.” The rest of the band, including those who share family ties with Butler, remained silent on the issue. But now, Win Butler has commented on his brother’s departure for the first time while talking to Apple Music’s Zane Lowe.
“I mean, I love Will. I mean, he’s my brother,” Butler explained. “He’s my only brother and he’s always had interests that transcend music. I think that he sort of followed his big brother into this band. It was his first job.” Butler also felt that the Covid-19 pandemic caused his brother to shift his prioritise back to his growing family.
“I can’t really speak for him but this pandemic was… He’s got three young children, and Regine and I are able to bring our child on the road,” Win continues. “But I think that if I wasn’t, there’s things way more important than music, so I mean… my brother has his own path. He took a year out in the middle of… To go back to school and he’s sort of done his own thing the whole time. I think that there’s things other than music that he has interest in. But I think fundamentally you only have one chance to raise your family and to kind of have a life with your family.”
Win also shared that, despite his brother leaving the fold, Arcade Fire was still a familial unit.”I’m proud of him for doing his own thing. The whole band is my family and there’s family you’re born with, and family that you choose,” Butler concluded. “I think sometimes the family you choose can be just as big a thing, because it’s love and life, all that shit, it’s not a straight line. I’m not really scared of any of it. I feel really grateful to be able to play still and to be able to do shows. It was really dark not having access to that for me. This band is my life so there’s no out for me fortunately.”
WE is set for a May 6th release.