ARCADE FIRE’S GROOVE-FUELLED new album Reflektor received its initial kindling spark in 2011, in the Haitian town of Lafayette. Here, the group rehearsed with the ace conga players from top Haitian group, RAM, and as the epic Montreal alt.rockers tell MOJO’s Keith Cameron in an exclusive in-depth interview feature, “We had our minds blown.”
The Canadian six-piece took their rhythmic revelation into recording sessions that began in 2012 at Trident Castle, in Port Antonio, Jamaica. It was here the group stumbled across an unlikely advocate.
“There was this amazing day when I was working on the lyrics to the song Reflektor,” frontman Win Butler tells MOJO, “and I had the idea of having a third voice on there. I met Grace Jones, she was on the beach playing with her grand-daughter. I played her an early version of Reflektor and she started dancing immediately. I’m like, All right! Grace Jones is dancing to our song – we’re definitely doing something right!”
But it wasn’t Jones who would provide that “third voice” after all. When work on Reflektor moved to Montreal, where the group hooked up with co-producer James Murphy (LCD Soundsystem, DFA), and thence to New York’s Electric Lady studios, Arcade Fire enlisted an even more stellar backing singer: David Bowie.
“It was really perfect,” says Win Butler, “because [Bowie] walked into Electric Lady and went, ‘Oh, I haven’t been here in a while – the last time was recording Fame with John Lennon…’ We had him do a reference to the Fame harmony. He’s recording it like John Lennon did backing vocals on his song, and he’s doing backing vocals on our song, in the same studio. He was into that conceptual aspect.”
Arcade Fire grace the cover of the UK newsstand edition of latest MOJO magazine. Subscriber and international covers feature the late Lou Reed – a limited batch of the latter are also available in HMV stores in the UK and will be purchaseable online.
Every issue carries the most-in-depth Arcade Fire interview of the Reflektor campaign and a fulsome Lou Reed tribute, plus a top-class covermount CD featuring our favourite tracks of the year: Primal Scream, Deerhunter, Bill Callahan, Phosphorescent, Villagers and more.
Also in the new issue: The Best Of 2013, featuring MOJO’s Top 50 Albums of the year; the great Smokey Robinson joins our 20th Anniversary celebrations; and The Ruts: A Punk Tragedy.
Meanwhile, here’s Arcade Fire performing Reflektor’s brilliant Afterlife with Greta Gerwig at the You Tube Music Awards. It’s emotional!