VIDEO EXCLISIVE: Arcade Fire’s Sarah Neufeld Reveals The Meaning Behind Her New Album, ‘Detritus’
Arcade Fire’s Sarah Neufeld reveals how her third studio album Detritus accidentally became a reflection of society’s mid-pandemic mood, in her new uInterview.
“The title Detritus in this context doesn’t mean like waste or debris,” Neufeld told uInterview Founder Erik Meers, “to me it means more like the treasures, without sounding cheesy, like new beginnings, like the remains after a catastrophe with which then to emerge from.”
The violinist said that although the album feels like it was written as a reflection on the Covid-19 quarantine, the music that makes up the album was actually composed in 2018, and was ready for release in 2020, until the “world shut down.”
“It just feels really fitting because I composed the music originally, in the original form for a dance collaboration for a large ensemble work from a Canadian choreographer named Peggy Baker and her company,” she said.
She worked on the music with Arcade Fire drummer Jeremy Gara. “He actually did a lot of like more drum work and you know noise and there was improvisation,” she said, calling the music picked for the album “nucleus pieces.” “These pieces were the sort of like main themes that I compose that are more solo violin, and you know, my solo work,” she said.
“I think I had some life experience go down before, during my compositional process and the themes of the dance piece were larger themes of grief and loss, and identity and ego, and all this stuff so it really ties into what we’ve now collectively been moving through,” Neufeld said.
“And I kind of arrived at that moment with like, ‘This is ready made for this time we’re living in, like I saw it!’ she said, laughing, ‘No I didn’t see it coming, but I’m happy to release it now as we are kind of moving through it, we’re not past it, but there’s also a sense of relief and release in the work as well I find, so I’m happy to be releasing it now.”
The album, released Friday, comes seven weeks after Neufeld gave birth to her son. In the music video for the single “The Top,” the violinist plays and dances in heels and a gown, while showing off her baby bump.
“I like hiking up mountains and stuff like that and like biting off more than I can chew, and that felt like right up there with something like, ‘Yeah that sounds like something I would do.’ Like you know being kind of full fashion, high-heels, like playing this really difficult piece, a 14-hour day, like also producing the thing, being 7-and-a-half months pregnant, but it was great, like it was really energizing,” Neufeld said.