Win Butler speaks out on Arcade Fire’s ‘fake news’ trolling campaign

'I now understand on a much deeper level why Trump got elected'

Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler has discussed the band’s controversial fake news marketing campaign surrounding their recent album ‘Everything Now’.

Ahead of the release of their LP in July, the band planted a series of fake news stories involving themselves to generate publicity. This included stories about diva-ish demands ahead of TV appearances, dress codes for fans attending shows and the band selling $100 fidget spinners. These all turned out to be false.

Following criticism over a joke about “removable jihadi beards”, the band apologised and ceased with their marketing campaign.


Now, speaking to Vulture, Butler has explained what first inspired the concept, saying: “A big question for us was ‘How do you release a record post–Donald Trump?’ Since we were making a record called ‘Everything Now’, and it would be coming out after that election, it felt like a real moment to try and address subjects like fake news and how the media works.”

Butler added: “The other part of it is that when you make a record in this modern context, it instantly gets refracted in the media. There’s all this side content, this trail that follows everything. So we thought that maybe we’d just make all that content, as opposed to just making the art. That stuff was going to get made anyway, so why not make it ourselves?”

“We just wanted to see where fake news articles about the band would go,” Butler explained. “The media is built for clicks now, and we were trying to see first-hand how it all works. I feel like I now understand on a much deeper level why Trump got elected. Negativity is what travels.”

“We learned more about how the internet functions, and how it’s an insane feedback loop… it was really interesting to us to see what got picked up about Arcade Fire. That idea plays into what we were doing as well: We were providing the ammunition for people who wanted to write negative things about the band: ‘Here you go! Here’s something to be outraged about!'”

Arcade Fire's Win Butler
Arcade Fire’s Win Butler

Butler went on to say that he “understood” the criticism they received, but added: “I think some things were misunderstood. From my perspective, the album is musically one of the best things we’ve ever done. It’s also one of the most earnest. People have called it a cynical record, but I don’t think any honest attempt to listen to the music really supports that reading. So it’s hard for me to square that with the negative reception —which hasn’t been the case in Europe, where they took the campaign much differently.”


“Obviously the French are not going to have as much of a problem understanding a meta news campaign; you don’t have to explain any of this to a French journalist. Everything we’ve done has been pretty obvious if you read past the headlines of the stories, which is something else we’ve learned people don’t really do. The other reality of it, for me, is that fans are enjoying the album and listening to it. So again, it’s hard to square what’s been written about ‘Everything Now’ with my experience of ‘Everything Now’.”

“Maybe there was a certain amount of naïveté on our behalf about how things would be received. I guess at the very core of it, we were hoping that, at least among our fans, we could contribute to a conversation about thinking about what you read, not taking things at face value, critical thinking. Maybe certain parts of that got away from us.”

“Any criticism anybody else has had of the band — I’ve already had my own way, way harsher criticisms,” Butler added. “Honestly, we’re talking about two weeks in the lifespan of this album… And if ultimately the biggest regret of my career is that some people think maybe we made a misstep with an album rollout, I can certainly live with that.”

Meanwhile, Arcade Fire recently shared a cover of John Lennon’s ‘Mind Games’ and kicked off their ‘Infinite Content’ tour.

Arcade Fire’s upcoming UK and Ireland tour dates are below

APRIL 2018
Friday 6 – DUBLIN 3Arena
Sunday 8 – MANCHESTER Arena
Wednesday 11 – LONDON SSE Arena Wembley
Thursday 12 – LONDON SSE Arena Wembley
Sunday 15 – BIRMINGHAM Genting Arena
Monday 16 – GLASGOW SSE Hydro

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