Last year, Feist opened two shows for Arcade Fire before exiting the tour in response to sexual misconduct allegations leveled against the band’s frontman, Win Butler. Now, she’s opened up about her initial decision to stay on the tour, and her ultimate choice to leave, in an interview with The Irish Times.
A detailed report by Pitchfork revealing Butler’s extramarital relationships — in which he used his power as a rock star in inappropriate ways with much younger women — was published on August 27th, 2022. Feist was set to open for Arcade Fire in Ireland on August 30th, and went along with the shows after considering the money she’d invested in bringing her band across the Atlantic, as well as the potential in trying out new songs for an audience.
“I was having an out-of-body experience,” Feist recalled in the new interview. “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.’” She donated the money from her merchandise sales at the two shows to Women’s Aid Dublin.
Soon, though, her initial strategy to “duck my head and get through this” felt wrong. “My body was just doing the songs,” she said, as opposed to the performance feeling natural in the way it normally does. She likened her presence on the tour to being caught at a crime scene.
“My presence is here,” she said. “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.”
On September 1st, Feist announced her exit from the tour with an Instagram post. “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,” she recalled. “The whole thing was made so clear to me. I couldn’t continue.”
The artist continued, “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.”
Read Feist’s full interview with The Irish Times here. Beck was slated to open for Arcade Fire on the North American leg of the same tour, but he dropped off the bill without comment weeks before the shows were to begin.
The artist’s next album, Multitudes, is out April 14th, and tickets to her own North American tour are on sale now via Stubhub.