Now Things: Arcade Fire’s Caribbean Journey

Words by Jesse Serwer, Photos by Storm Saulter—

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Easily one of the most influential rock bands of the last decade, 2011 Grammy Album of the Year winners Arcade Fire have turned to the Caribbean for inspiration on their latest release. The band, which includes Haitian-Canadian vocalist Regine Chassagne, spent time in both Jamaica and Haiti during the making of their new LP, Reflektor. Tracks such as “Flashbulb Eyes” and “Here Comes the Night Time” bear traces of reggae and Haitian rara: the latter was inspired by the plight of Haitian refugees, according to frontman Win Butler.

Film director, photographer and visual artist Storm Saulter (Better Mus Come, New Caribbean Cinema), a longtime friend of LargeUp, was on hand to document the band during their three-week stay at the Trident Castle (or The Castle, for short) in Port Antonio. A photo from Storm’s shoot at the castle’s master-bedroom-turned-studio appears in an article on the Arcade Fire from this week’s Rolling Stone.

“Like many international musicians they are greatly influenced by Jamaican music and culture so they came to Jamaica to feed off that energy and develop their sound,” Saulter told us. “They chose the castle because of its strange yet beautiful energy. Their music could be described in a similar way.”

The vibrant dress that Regine Chassagne is wearing in the shoot, a stark contrast to the all-white attire donned by the other members, was made by Saulter’s girlfriend, up-and-coming Trinidadian designer Ayana Riviere. To bring things full circle, Arcade Fire (performing quasi-undercover as “The Reflektors”) at the Little Haiti Cultural Center in Miami tapped Saulter to document the benefit for the Haitian rebuilding effort as well as a second Miami show, last week.

Spotify users can stream Reflektor here.

Arcade-Fire-Jamaica

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