Music
1:53 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

What Arcade Fire Did When Someone in Austin Complained About Its 'Reflektor' Graffiti

Update: Shortly after Ian Dille’s Slate article appeared online, he received a handwritten apology from Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler.

The band's PR company “forwarded me a handwritten note from Win Butler apologizing for the graffiti and explaining that it was supposed to be put up in chalk or water-soluble paint,” Dille tells KUT News. “And somewhere along the line, someone started using spraypaint. He said it was hard to control all the small details of such a large project.” (Read the letter below.)

Dille says the note explains the campaign was a nod to Haitan veve drawings that are done in chalk or into the dirt.

“I got a lot of backlash online, but I’m an Arcade Fire fan!” Dille says. “When I’m writing, that’s one of my favorite bands to listen to. But he adds, “I think the appropriate action would be to come back and clean up the graffiti they spraypainted.”

Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler's letter.

Original post (1:26 p.m.): Arcade Fire has plenty of fans in Austin. But a promotional gambit surrounding its latest release has some asking questions.

The Grammy award-winning band has a new double album coming out, "Reflektor." And as part of the promotional buildup for the release, mysterious Reflektor symbols (above), in stencil and poster form, began to pop up around Austin and several other cities a few weeks ago.

Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler – who grew up in The Woodlands suburb of Houston – has since likened the campaign to a “weird art project.” But it’s affected one Austinite a little more directly.

Writing in Slate, Austin freelance journalist Ian Dille describes how a Reflektor logo was stenciled on the wall of a framing shop where his wife works downtown. It wasn’t until similar promotional posters were pasted over the logo that the couple made the connection to Arcade Fire. Noting that the store’s boss “spent hours” cleaning the graffiti, Dille says “when I found out the logo was nothing but a commercial promotion I felt … used.”

The episode has obviously tempered the author’s anticipation of "Reflektor," which is due from the indie rock standard-bearers on Oct. 29.  

Below, sightings of the Reflektor logo over Austin, via Instagram: