Feist Opens Up About Leaving Arcade Fire Tour in New Interview: "I Was Out of Body"

It's her first statement since penning a lengthy, thoughtful letter about her decision in September of last year

Photo: Sara Melvin and Colby Richardson

BY Kaelen BellPublished Apr 2, 2023

For the first time since announcing her decision in a thoughtful, lengthy statement back in September of last year, Feist has opened up about leaving the European leg of Arcade Fire's tour following the allegations of sexual misconduct made against Win Butler. 

In a new interview with the Irish Times to promote her upcoming album Multitudes (arriving April 14), Feist discussed what was going through her head as she played the first two tour dates in Ireland. "I was having an out-of-body experience," she said. "Not to mention, I had brought all of these new songs. I thought, 'Okay, maybe I'll go do this tour and workshop how to play these songs in a bigger context.'"

She goes on to describe how her initial reaction was to try and "duck my head and get through this." However, she said performing her songs in this new context felt wrong. 

"I was out of body. My body was just doing the songs," she said, describing the way performing music typically feels as natural to her as "brushing your teeth in the morning." 

She compared the experience to a police procedural, saying that she felt as if she was at the scene of a crime. "My presence is here. Here is what I'm saying. Here is what I am doing. It was sort of this crime-scene wand [a device used to dust for finger prints]. You put a wand up and you can see the fingerprints."

She continued: "It took me until the second show where all of the practical discomfort of having to dismantle this crazy machine and fold it back up and lose what I had invested in being there [on tour] … The whole thing was made so clear to me. I couldn't continue."

On her decision to announce her departure from the tour, which she did via lengthy statement on Instagram, Feist said: "It was like, actually, no … 'I can't avoid my responsibility here.' Not to mention every word that came out of my mouth, I was hearing through an ear that wasn't my own. I was hearing how twisted and skewed … In the context they were in, the songs weren't safe. And neither was I … It was deeply difficult."

Beck eventually followed Feist's lead, dropping from the North American leg of Arcade Fire's tour in October of 2022. 

The allegations against Butler were first revealed in a Pitchfork report published in August 2022 that outlined how four people accused Butler of inappropriate sexual conduct over a period of years. At the time, Butler responded through a crisis management representative that the encounters were consensual. A few months later, in November 2022, a fifth person came forward, accusing Butler of being "emotionally manipulative" over the course of a three-year relationship.

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