Published Jul 18, 2013As Arcade Fire fans now all know, the much-loved Montreal collective will return with a new album on October 29. It's now general knowledge that former LCD Soundsystem head James Murphy is involved with Arcade Fire's as-yet-untitled fourth full-length, but the record will be getting some extra Canadian music muscle via recently Polaris-shortlisted bass saxophone dynamo Colin Stetson.
"I did record a bunch of stuff for the new [Arcade Fire] record with my best friend and longtime collaborator Stuart Bogie," Stetson reveals to Exclaim!
When asked to provide his impression of the Arcade Fire songs he worked on, Stetson slyly says, "They're really, really good," and laughs.
"You won't be disappointed," he adds. "Just imagine how you felt before every other record, how you were like, 'What are they gonna do? What's different?' 'Is it gonna be good?' And then when they put it out, all of those things were there; it was good, it was different but it was entirely them. So yeah, I can say that. It's fantastic."
While Stetson has often been a touring member of Arcade Fire, the musician says he's concentrating on his own solo tours (including stops at Guelph's Hillside Festival and Sackville's SappyFest) and new projects with collaborators in New York, and has no immediate plans to hit the road with Arcade Fire when they presumably tour their new album.
Stetson will also be basking in the glow of receiving his second consecutive Polaris Music Prize shortlist nomination this week for his album New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light. This follows a similar honour for 2011's New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges, which ultimately lost to The Suburbs by Arcade Fire.
"It's pretty fantastic to have a record back on that list and, again, with the company I have on that list, it's pretty insane. I'm a lucky boy," he says.
Stetson just returned from some shows in the Netherlands when he received the news via email from his mom. While he's clearly flattered by the nomination, Stetson adds that he generally doesn't read or ponder critical assessments of his work.
"I found that, regardless of whether it's positive or negative, it does have an effect on how you interact with your craft and the art that you're making and that's absolutely unacceptable," he explains. "So, I'm glad that it's there but I don't interact with it."
The Polaris Music Prize winner will be announced at a gala on September 23 at the Carlu in Toronto.
7/26 Guelph, ON - Hillside Festival
8/2 Sackville, NB - SappyFest
9/5 Toronto, ON - The Great Hall *
* with Esmerine, Jerusalem In My Heart, Dundasa 80 (Sandro & Craig)
Full disclosure: Exclaim! contributor Vish Khanna has a podcast called Kreative Kontrol with Vish Khanna, for which this interview was initially conducted for.