Feist has opened up about leaving the European leg of Arcade Fire’s tour last fall. In her first statement since posting a message to Instagram, Feist, who has a new album, Multitudes, dropping April 14, spoke to the Irish Times about the controversy surrounding Arcade Fire and Win Butler, who was accused of sexual misconduct last summer in a detailed Pitchfork report. “I was having an out-of-body experience,” says Feist, “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.’”
Upon hearing the news, the Irish Times describes Feist as feeling “blindsided” and compelled to “duck my head and get through this.”
“I was out of body. My body was just doing the songs,” she continues, remarking on how performing music is usually as natural to her as “brushing your teeth in the morning.” Ultimately, she compares the ensuing experience as being in a police procedural. “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.”
Feist adds: “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.”
Commenting on her decision to announce her leaving, which she did on Instagram, Feist goes on: “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.”
After opening for Arcade Fire the first two nights in Dublin, Feist ended up donating all proceeds from her merch sales to Women’s Aid Dublin. The original Pitchfork report (published in August 2022) outlined how four people accused Butler of inappropriate sexual conduct over a period of years. 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.