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Will Butler

Will Butler is an Academy Award-nominated singer/songwriter and composer best known as the acrobatic, multi-instrumental core member of the spirited Grammy Award-winning indie rock collective Arcade Fire. Before parting ways with his celebrated band at the end of 2021, Butler produced a smattering of notable side projects as well as solo albums such as 2020's Generations, and in 2023 he teamed with a quartet that included his wife Jenny Shore for the collaborative effort Will Butler + Sister Squares. Butler was born in Northern California and spent his formative years in Southern Texas. The son of a geologist (father) and a classically trained musician (mother), Butler graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy in 2001 and joined Arcade Fire, which was the brainchild of his older brother Win, and Win's wife Régine Chassagne, in 2003. He made his first recorded appearance on the group's acclaimed 2004 Merge Records debut, Funeral, and contributed heavily to all of the band's subsequent releases (Neon Bible, The Suburbs, Reflektor). In 2013, Butler joined up with fellow musical polymath Owen Pallett to compose the soundtrack to the Spike Jonze-directed futuristic romantic comedy Her, for which he received an Oscar nomination, and in 2015 he issued his eclectic debut solo album, the Merge-issued Policy. Butler staged a solo tour in support of Policy, accompanied by Miles Arntzen, Julie Shore, and Sara Dobbs. Several dates on the Policy tour were recorded, and in June 2016 Butler released a live album drawn from these tapes, Friday Night. One of the songs, "Sun Comes Up," was later turned into a 2018 remix by the Knocks. In 2020, Butler began issuing singles in advance of his second solo album, Generations. The record, once more released with Merge, came out in September of that year. In the end of 2021, Butler left the Arcade Fire, citing no reason for the departure except that he'd simply changed and was ready to move on. His work on the band's 2022 album We was to be his last with the group he'd been a part of for more than 20 years at that point. Following this massive shift, Butler enlisted the help of the band who had supported him in the live arena for his Policy tour for a string of shows and then to collaboratively record a new album. Arntzen, Dobbs, Julie Shore, and sister Jenny Shore (to whom Butler was married) dubbed themselves Sister Squares, and together, the five friends created the 2023 album Will Butler + Sister Squares. Released on Merge, the album was an emotionally driven set of indie songcraft balanced with ample amounts of studio experimentation.
© James Christopher Monger /TiVo


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