CUP National Bureau Chief
TORONTO (CUP) — If they somehow didn’t have the indie cred before, one of this year’s most successful bands has certainly solidified their top standing in the Canadian music world now.
Montreal’s Arcade Fire were announced as the winners of the 2011 Polaris Music Prize at the annual gala held at the Masonic Temple in downtown Toronto.
“Since the beginning of our career, we’ve been trying to get paid in an oversized novelty cheque and it’s never happened ’til now, so — thanks, Polaris,” multi-instrumentalist Richard Reed Parry told the packed crowd as the band accepted their prize.
The indie rockers can now place that giant $30,000 novelty cheque beside their Grammy, Juno, and Brit award trophies they’ve already scooped up this year.
But Steve Jordan, founder and executive director of the Polaris Music Prize, doesn’t think the band’s previous wins will have an effect on this particular endeavour.
“There’s no doubt that this is the biggest selling band that’s ever won Polaris and certainly that’s going to extend our reach. But it’s not our objective to have that kind of reach,” he told journalists after the event, emphasizing the prize’s goal of celebrating artistic merit above general popularity.
“What we’re trying to create — it’s not as much about picking a winner at the end of the whole contest as it is about the conversation that happens about music,” Jordan explained.
In terms of putting that cash prize to good use, the band suggested upon ascending the stage that they would invest the winnings into their recording studio.
“To be honest, we hadn’t really thought about it much because we didn’t expect to win,” frontman Win Butler admitted after the gala.
“But we started a studio outside of Montreal after our first record, and whenever we haven’t been using it, we’ve let bands go in there and record for pretty cheap,” he said, noting that fellow shortlisters Timber Timbre and Colin Stetson have stopped in before.
“For us, it’s been an important part of this band’s success to be able to be a band and do the creation part with little to no stress,” said Parry. “We were really lucky in making records and having just from the get-go people being really generous with us, giving time, giving space, offering something — so I feel like we try to and will try to keep doing that as much as we can.
“We’ve been blessed and fortunate enough to have a wealth of resources at our disposal,” Parry continued. “And as artists, that’s the greatest luxury in life — to have resources and time to just work on the art.”
photo: Josh O’Kane/CUP