Most people will recognize Will Butler as the talented multi-instrumentalist and younger Butler member of Arcade Fire, whose charismatic on-stage persona makes him a hit at shows. But with the band’s hugely successful Reflektor tour now behind him, Butler is ready to branch out. This time, he’s going it alone with the release of his debut solo album, Policy – an eclectic eight-track collection influenced by Butler’s American roots. Butler recently talked with Georgie about political commentary in music, the value of reading reviews, and his thoughts on selling out.
G—So what ultimately convinced you to do a solo record?
Will Butler—Arcade Fire was taking a little bit of a breather after the Reflektor tour and the timing felt right after the Oscar nomination [Butler was nominated for Best Original Score for his work on Spike Jonze’s Her]. So I kind of knew I had a window and I had some songs I wanted to put out there.
G—Has Arcade Fire encouraged your solo musical pursuits?
WB—Yeah, and there’s a lot of us doing a lot of creative things all the time. Richard [Parry] is working on classical music lately and Sarah [Neufeld] is doing solo stuff. There’s an element of a community of artists and it feels very exciting to be in that community. Arcade Fire is very aesthetically satisfying work. [Laughs].
G—How much does your writing feel like it’s personal, and how much of it is commentary?
This album is like a book of short stories, so there are a lot of characters. But you’re still working out your own emotions or your own feelings or your own feelings about your feelings in something where you aren’t the main character. And I really care about all the characters, so it feels quite personal.
WB—This album is like a book of short stories, so there are a lot of characters. But you’re still working out your own emotions or your own feelings or your own feelings about your feelings in something where you aren’t the main character. And I really care about all the characters, so it feels quite personal. [Laughs]
G—Policy has some light satirical commentary on capitalism, religion and politics. Do you see yourself making heavier political music as your solo career evolves?
WB—I think so. It’s just what I’m engaged with naturally, so it would be surprising if it didn’t come out in the music. And I love a political song that really engages you emotionally, that’s not just like major punk rock, but that gets really gnarly and complicated – which a lot of punk rock can do. But my goal is to try and write it in a really gnarly way.
G—As an artist, do you think reading reviews is helpful or detrimental when it comes to writing?
WB—The reviews by themselves are not that helpful when it comes to writing if you’re just saying, “What do people think of me?”, but I think it’s part of the larger exercise of being in conversation with the world – of being in conversation with fans and critics, and people who like music who aren’t fans, or haters who are hating. I think there’s value in having a conversation about art.
G—What was the biggest takeaway of your pursuit of this solo album?
Having the responsibility and knowing if you screw up no one’s there to fix it! No, I’m certainly working with a safety net – I’ve got a really good day job I can go back to. But it’s nice to have the final artistic responsibility fall on my shoulders, and have it be on my name.
WB—Having the responsibility and knowing if you screw up no one’s there to fix it! [Laughs]. No, I’m certainly working with a safety net – I’ve got a really good day job I can go back to. But it’s nice to have the final artistic responsibility fall on my shoulders, and have it be on my name.
G—Recently at South by Southwest you sat in on a panel discussion to discuss artists making money off music in the digital economy. What’s your take on the whole “sell-out” phenomenon?
WB—I mean, I’m 32. So I’m an extremely grumpy old man. But what I said is I kind of don’t care about selling out, as long as the art you make when you sell out is good. But the sad thing about selling out is that it enables more people to have careers making bad art. It’s a tricky thing to say.
G—Do you think you will continue releasing solo records in the future?
WB—Yeah, most certainly. We’ll see what the timing is like – it will depend on what Arcade Fire is doing and what the world is doing and all that – but yes, definitely.
The meaning of Jazz Cartier’s Fleurever is rooted in duality. In the two years since his sophomore mixtape, Hotel Paranoia, the artist has had to “[battle] the balances of love and money, risks and rewards, right and wrong, or living and dying”, alongside coming to terms with the throes of wealth and fame. Subsequently Fleurever—or, as he calls it, his “third project”—explores Cartier’s personal growth in the years following. With his newfound maturity in tow, Toronto’s rising rap star is on course to start a music revolution—well, that’s the idea anyway. Georgie caught up with Cartier to talk about gratitude, the rapper’s personal transformation, and the driving force behind Fleurever. G—Can you tell us a bit about your latest album Fleurever and the inspiration behind it? JC—Most of the inspiration came from growth, and a bit from my departure from Toronto. A lot of the record was made in my last days in Toronto, and just having that cloud over my head and knowing that I’d be leaving soon—it was more so showing my affection for the city that pretty much shaped my sound. G—Did you have a vision in mind when you started writing this album? JC—For the most part Fleurever is just myself and my
When asked to describe herself in three words, Nina Nesbitt didn’t hesitate. “Introverted, creative, and driven”. While you wouldn’t guess the former from her edgy, empowering tracks—her latest single “Loyal To Me” is a girl-power anthem, rallying women to ditch their unfaithful partners—the latter two can’t be questioned. In the six years since she was discovered in an unplanned encounter with Ed Sheeran, Nesbitt has released three EPs and one full length album; toured with Sheeran, Justin Bieber, and U.K rapper Example; and carved her way into the alt-pop scene with a harmonious blend of groove and grit. Earlier this year, the Edinborough-native was one of three emerging female artists chosen to partake in Spotify’s “Louder Together” initiative, recording the first collaborative Spotify single (“Psychopath”) with Sasha Sloan and Charlotte Lawrence, and showcasing her signature style of thoughtful messages pulsating atop hook-driven melodies. With her sophomore album ready to drop, Georgie spoke with Nesbitt about her experience being thrust into the spotlight and maintaining her creative independence throughout it all. G—You’ve been touring a lot this year, specifically in North America. How have your North American audiences been receiving your shows? Is it different than performing for UK audiences?
Named for the Toronto area they grew up in, The Beaches are a far cry from a placid day on the lake. Led by singer/bassist Jordan Miller—with her sister and guitarist Kylie Miller, guitarist/keyboardist Leandra Earl and drummer Eliza Enman-McDaniel—the Canadian four-piece burst out of Toronto with their 2018 debut, Late Show, and have since built up an aura of dissident swagger. Taking home this year’s Juno for Breakthrough Group of the Year, the all-fem rock quartet is bringing grunge, gloss, and 70s glamour to a predominantly male genre. Georgie caught up with Leandra to talk about the band’s latest music video, taking charge of their music, and three simple ways to keep women in the industry. G—Did you grow up together in Toronto? LE—Yeah, I met the girls in high school. Jordan and Kylie are sisters, so they’ve known each other a bit longer, but they grew up with Eliza in Toronto’s Beaches area. G—What kind of music were you listening to at that time? LE—We grew up listening to all of the music our parents listened to. That definitely influenced us while writing our debut album since we drew from a lot of the 70’s music that our