Arcade Fire (formed 1995)
Arcade Fire is a Canadian alternative rock band. They have released two full-length studio albums; Funeral and Neon Bible.
Arcade Fire: The Early Years
Arcade Fire began whilst Win Butler studied at the Phillips Exeter Academy. The original line-up of the band consisted of Win Butler, Josh Deu and Tim Kyle (Kyle is now in the band Wild Light). The existing formation of the band began in 2003 in Montreal, Canada, with Butler's wife Régine Chassagne and Owen Pallett (also of Final Fantasy).
In late 2003, early 2004, the band recorded the tracks that would later make up their debut album, Funeral. Prior to its release, Arcade Fire released an EP, known as the 'Us Kids Know' EP. Originally, the disc was only sold informally at shows but when the band gained notoriety, the EP was remastered and given a wider release.
The band members play a wide range of musical instruments, including hurdy gurdy, harp, mandolin and French horn and the band members frequently swap instruments when they play live.
Arcade Fire: Line-up
As well as Win Butler and Régine Chassagne, the main members of the band are: William Butler, Richard Reed Parry, Jeremy Gara, Sarah Neufeld and Tim Kingsbury.
The touring band also includes Owen Pallett, Marika Anthony-Shaw, Kelly Pratt, Colin Stetson and Pietro Amato.
Howard Bilerman played drums on Funeral but no longer collaborates with the band.
Arcade Fire: Funeral and onwards
Arcade Fire's debut album Funeral was released in Canada first, in September 2004 and then in the UK in February 2005. Several of the band members' relatives had passed away during the recording of the album, hence the title.
The success of Funeral was unprecedented and Merge Records sold out of their original run of CDs, whilst the album became the label's first release to hit the US charts. David Bowie picked up on the recordings and created a great deal of attention for the band.
In 2005, Arcade Fire played a number of popular music festivals across the world, including Coachella, Reading and Leeds and Lollapalooza.
In September 2005, Arcade Fire performed with David Bowie at the Fashion Rocks event and the tracks were later made available on iTunes. That same month, they also played on Top of the Pops, playing 'Rebellion (Lies)'. The band also opened for U2 on their 'Vertigo' tour and joined U2 for a cover of 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' by Joy Division. They also appeared on Later with Jools Holland in May 2005.
Before they began recording their second album Neon Bible, Arcade Fire bought a derelict church in Farnham, Quebec and turned it into a recording studio.
The debut track to be released from Neon Bible was 'Intervention'. Despite having been leaked on the internet, the album became available in March 2007. The album went to number one in the Canadian album charts as well as the Irish album chart. The first physical release from the album was 'Black Mirror', which was compared by many critics to Echo and the Bunnymen.
In October 2007, Win and Régine appeared onstage with Bruce Springsteen, playing 'Keep the Car Running' and 'State Trooper'. The band also played a number of free concerts in support of Barack Obama's US presidential campaign in 2008.
A DVD entitled Mirior Noir, featuring footage from the Neon Bible tour was released for pre-order in December 2008.