William Pierce Butler (born October 6, 1982) is an American multi-instrumentalist and composer who is best known as a core member of the indie rock band Arcade Fire. Will plays synthesizer, bass, guitar and percussion. He is known for his spontaneity and antics during performances. He is the brother of Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler. Butler received his first Academy Award nomination for his work on the original score of the film Her in 2014.
Life and career
Born in Truckee, California, United States, and raised in The Woodlands, Texas, Will is the son of Liza Rey, a classical musician, and Edwin Farnham Butler II, a geologist. His maternal grandfather was guitarist Alvino Rey. He graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy in 2001, where he lived in Abbot Hall, and subsequently attended Northwestern University, majoring in Poetry and Slavic studies. During this time, he worked as a DJ for the WNUR Rock Show, where he also hired Nathan Amundson of Rivulets to be a substitute DJ at WNUR-FM. He also served as the poetry editor of Northwestern's literary magazine, Helicon. An excerpt of a poem from his senior thesis is quoted in Brian Bouldrey's book, "Honorable Bandit: A Walk Across Corsica." While at Northwestern, Butler lived in Chicago, Illinois. He moved to Montreal, Quebec, Canada in the mid-2000s to join his brother Win Butler and band Arcade Fire.
In January 2008 Butler married dancer Jenny Shore.
In January 2014, Butler and Owen Pallett were nominated for Best Original Score at the 86th Academy Awards for their work on Her.
Butler was a student at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government where he pursued a Mid-Career Master in Public Administration.
On March 3, 2015, Butler's debut solo album Policy was released under Merge Records, accompanied by an international tour alongside Arcade Fire drummer Jeremy Gara. According to Butler, Policy is intended to reflect his omnivorous musical taste.
Butler wrote five songs for The Guardian, based on news headlines, with each song created and shared a day apart. They were mixed properly and released on Policy Deluxe in May 2015.
Butler's song "Sun Comes Up" from the 2016 solo album Friday Night caught the ear of DJ B-Roc of The Knocks, and subsequently the Knocks-produced remix of the song was released alongside a video directed by Butler, filmed in part on the New York City subway system.
Butler has written original songs for the new David Adjmi play Stereophonic, scheduled to premiere on Broadway in 2021.