Feist says ‘songs weren’t safe’ when touring with Arcade Fire: ‘I couldn’t continue’

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Leslie Feist has opened up about her decision to exit Arcade Fire‘s 2022 European tour, months after frontman Win Butler was accused of sexual misconduct.

“I was having an out-of-body experience,” the singer, known as Feist, told the Irish Times in an interview published Saturday.

When Arcade Fire kicked off its tour in Dublin last year, the “Mushaboom” and “1234” hitmaker was the opening act. She told the Irish Times that she hoped to showcase new music and “workshop how to play these songs in a bigger context.”

When it came time to tour with the Canadian indie band, Feist learned of allegations against Butler, first reported by Pitchfork. She said she wanted to just “duck my head and get through this.”

But it seems performing amid the band’s controversy had taken a toll: “I was out of body. My body was just doing the songs.”

She continued: “My presence is here. Here is what I’m saying. Here is what I am doing. It was sort of this crime-scene wand. You put a wand up and you can see the fingerprints.”

She announced her exit from the tour on Instagram after two shows. She told the Irish Times that she “can’t avoid my responsibility here.” She also said that performing amid Butler’s allegations made her feel that “in the context that they were in, the songs weren’t safe.”

“And neither was I … it was deeply difficult,” she said, later adding, “I couldn’t continue.”

In her announcement shared on Sept. 1, Feist expressed support for the people who came forward about their alleged experiences with Butler and wished for “healing to those involved.”

Weeks later, Beck, who was supposed to open for the Arcade Fire tour’s North American leg, dropped out.

Speaking to the Irish Times weeks before releasing her album “Multitudes” on April 14, Feist said she felt her decision helped open up conversations about #MeToo and the music industry.

“I was having parents come up to me with teenagers on the street saying that [by quitting the tour] ‘You helped us start a conversation in our house that we wouldn’t have had a way to begin,’” she recalled about a visit to Canada. “But if it can start a discourse — then I’m one drop in the ocean of that discourse.”

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