Talking to Carla Morgan About Arcade Fire

By Jane Morgan

talking to carla morgan

Picture by Sarah K

My mom really loves Arcade Fire. For her birthday last month, I surprised her with tickets for their May 2nd show in Atlanta. She then surprised me with a plane ticket to meet her for the show. It was our first concert together since I was 13. We have always talked about Arcade Fire in passing but never really in-depth, save for a shared fangirl moment after the show and my obsessive rants about it over the past month. There’s a weird disconnect between how my friends and I go about being fans of a band and how my parents go about it. For us, it goes far beyond listening to the albums and seeing them live, but for them, even if they are really enthusiastic, it pretty much ends there. Arcade Fire is one of my favorite bands, and they are my mom’s favorite too, but only one of us stays up until 5 crying under a blanket watching password-protected documentaries about them from 2004 (or something). Lately I have been generally fascinated by the ways in which my parents and their friends talk about music, so I talked to my mom about Arcade Fire.

Carla: This won’t take long, right?

Jane: No, mom. Do you want to wear the Win Butler necklace that Sarah made?

C: You’re not taking pictures, are you?

J: No, mom.

C: Okay, I’m wearing it.

J: It looks good on you. Starting this off with a really loaded question:
What is Win’s best look: Funeral, Neon Bible, The Suburbs, or Reflektor-era?


C: Okay. Can I see a few more Suburbs pictures? I know you have some. Okay. Let me see them all again. Go back to Funeral. Let me see his outfit for that one. I think I like the first. I choose Funeral Win.

J: Oooh, Funeral. Okay, I see you. So would you go for Win if you weren’t into dad and he wasn’t with Régine?

C: Probably not. He’s just so much younger than I am.

J: He’s not that much younger, but what if you guys were the same age?

C: He’s a lot younger, like 38, and oh, I don’t know. I haven’t read enough about him to know exactly if I would go for him.

J: Yeah, he’s 34. That’s fair, but you didn’t read about dad either. But maybe this is good. Less tension between us over Win. When did you start listening to Arcade Fire?

C: Well! It was after your sophomore year and during your junior year of high school! We did a lot of traveling when you were home for horse shows and we listened to The Suburbs a lot. That was my first exposure I think.

J: You’re always really enthusiastic about them when we listen to their songs. What do you think makes them so special?

C: Well, they just have a great sound. [Laughs] They are so entertaining. Do they write their own songs? That’s another thing. I think it’s important that they write their own music.

J: Word, Carla. Yeah, they do write their own songs, and I agree. Do you like any other band as much as you like them?

C: Hm, I like a lot of music from the 60s, but bands? I’d say they’re my favorite.

J: What’s your favorite song/album?

C: Oh God. I’m partial to The Suburbs. And ugh, come on. You know my favorite song. I can’t think of the name but you know it! We have talked about this. Play it for me. Pull up iTunes.

J: I know you like “Sprawl II” and “It’s Never Over.”

C: Yes! Both of those. They are my favorites.

J: Reflektor got really amazing reviews pretty much across the board, but do you think they sound like gigantic dorks with boring sex lives like the big boring idiot Chris Richards from Washington Post?

C: Not at ALL. That doesn’t even make sense. I don’t even know why he would say that. I mean, their music doesn’t sound dorky; they aren’t dorky when you see them perform. That wasn’t a good term to place on them. I don’t know why he would even mention their sex lives? The Way Win and Régine look at each other on stage gives me the impression that they are really so proud of each other and admire each other. If they can connect that well on stage…

J: Okay. We saw them together last month. What were your favorite things about the show?

C: Oh, when they came out on stage! [Laughs] That was awesome. Um, I loved watching them interact with each other. The graphics were phenomenal. Also the confetti was in my purse for a week after.

J: There were also a lot of frat boys there, yeah? That was weird.

C: Were there? I didn’t notice. Did you know they were frat boys because they were clean-cut? [Laughs] I wonder if they were there because they liked them or because their girlfriends liked them. A lot of men seemed super into the music? I don’t think they are a frat boy band though.

J: I really hope not. What do you think about them asking people to dress up for shows on this tour?

C: Well I think it makes it fun! It makes it interactive and special.

J: What do you think about the band’s outfits on this tour? Please stop texting, mom.

C: Okay, then you text for me? Okay, sorry. Their outfits? I think they are kind of futuristic? Régine is so colorful. The outfits fit with the music, graphics, choreography, everything. I like them.

J: How many people do you think are in the band?

C: Whoa. That’s hard to say! Now they always have the Haitian conga players with them, yeah? I think there are 1..2..3..8 people on stage. Is that right?

J: Close. I think they usually have 10-12 with them on stage.

C: Darn. That better not be including the bobble-heads.

J: It isn’t. Okay, do they sound like any other band to you?

C: Every now and then I think there are songs that sound like Vampire Weekend! But just sometimes. I don’t know which songs.

J: Do you idolize Régine?

C: No, Jane. I admire her.

J: Do you have a secret shrine to them like I do?

C: No, Jane! I don’t have shrines for musicians.

J: Are your friends intimidated by you because you’re cooler than them for liking Arcade Fire?

C: A lot of my friends don’t know who they are. But that doesn’t really make me cooler, just more-

J: Cultured? More cultured?

C: No! More open to what my children are listening to.

J: MJ (my 4-month-old niece) should definitely marry Baby Butler (Win and Regine’s one-year-old son), yeah?

C: I didn’t think they had a kid! If they ever have the opportunity to meet and they fall in love, then yes! [Laughs]

J: When do you think their next album will come out?

C: I’m going to say in two years because they’re so hot right now.

J: You watched the Grammy’s when they won album of the year, yeah?
C: Yes! I was so excited because they were the real underdog. And I was into the album! And they won! At least somebody gets them! Well, okay, I guess a lot of people get them. It isn’t just me.


J: Do you like Win’s Red Octobers? Stop texting.

dumb win dumb shoes

C: Grandma texted me! Hmm, let me zoom in. Slippers?

J: No, mom. They’re Kanye’s Nikes. You’ve seen this before. 

C: I don’t think I like them.

J: You wouldn’t wear them?

C: No, not my style. I mean, seriously Jane?

J: Would you wear them if Kanye signed them?

C: No. I’m sorry.

J: Do you think Win is cute?

C: Yeah he is cute. He has beautiful hair, but it’s too long. He needs to pin it back.

J: What do you mean, “pin it back?”

C: Use a barrette, or a bobby pin? It could be a blingy bobby pin. Maybe a headband. His hair is a little distracting. I just kept thinking, “It’s in your face! Pin it back!” I was just thinking that as a mom.

J: Anything else?

C: No, but I think Arcade Fire is a special thing for us. I don’t like all of your music, but I do like Arcade Fire, and Future of What, and Vampire Weekend!

J: Please don’t make this about Ezra Koenig.

C: Okay, but he’s cute too. Kind of preppy though. Frat boy?

C: [Kisses Win Butler necklace]

carla morgan #2

Picture by Sarah K


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