William Pierce Butler (born October 6, 1982) is an American multi-instrumentalist and composer who is best known as a member of the indie rock band Arcade Fire. William plays synthesizer, bass, guitar and percussion. He is known for his spontaneity and antics during performances. He is the brother of Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler. Butler received his first Academy Award nomination for his work on the original score of the film Her in 2014.
Born in northern California and raised in The Woodlands, Texas, Will is the son of Liza Rey, a classical musician, and Edwin Farnham Butler II, a geologist. His maternal grandfather was guitarist Alvino Rey. He graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy in 2001, where he lived in Wentworth Hall, and subsequently attended Northwestern University, majoring in Poetry and Slavic studies. While at Northwestern he worked as a DJ for the WNUR Rock Show, where he also hired Nathan Amundson of Rivulets to be a substitute DJ at WNUR. He also served as the poetry editor of Northwestern's literary magazine, Helicon. An excerpt of a poem from his senior thesis is quoted in Brian Bouldrey's book, "Honorable Bandit: A Walk Across Corsica."