“I met Jenny—my wife!—in college, the year before I joined Arcade Fire. She was a choreographer; my roommate was a dancer. He convinced me to come to an audition, though I had never taken dance. Jenny was impressed—but she didn’t cast me,” says Will. They went on to collaborate on a series of shows: Will (and friends) providing music, Jenny (and friends) providing dance. They married in 2007.
“When I needed a band to tour Policy [Merge, 2015], I asked Julie to join because I trusted her musically. And I asked Sara, Jenny and Julie’s childhood friend, because I knew she was super talented,” says Will.
“Antibalas (who I was drumming for) opened some Arcade Fire shows,” says Miles. “I was captivated by Will’s performing. He was creating all these micro DIY performance-art moments within a massive arena show, and I wanted to know everything about it.” Miles offered to play drums anytime Will needed.
Will, Julie, Sara, and Miles jelled on tour. Julie and Sara showed Miles how to do eye makeup backstage; everyone worked on vocal arrangements. All along, Jenny contributed to recordings and general performance ideas, and she joined onstage in 2019.
Sara Dobbs and Jenny Shore used to work summer stock theater in St. Louis, Missouri. They’d do the hand jive with TV stars past and future; they’d get coldly corrected by the ancient, legendary choreographer Gemze de Lappe. Sara went on to Broadway, including a run as Anybodys in West Side Story. Jenny went on to choreograph in the independent dance scene of early 2000s Chicago.
Julie Shore is Jenny’s sister. She’s always made music—playing Chopin, writing songs, making bands with her friends. She’s had the archetypal Millennial journey of entering adulthood in the ’08 financial crisis and figuring out what stupid series of jobs you have to take to pay rent while keeping an artistic life alive.
Miles Francis grew up in New York City with Backstreet Boys posters covering their walls. An extraordinary drummer since youth, Miles thrives in collaboration—whether producing artists in their West Village studio, performing with artists like Angelique Kidjo, or powering protests with a big marching drum.
These four—Miles, Julie, Jenny, and Sara—are Sister Squares. What made them a musical unit was working with Grammy winner and Oscar nominee Will Butler. They’ve all just finished a new record together: Will Butler + Sister Squares.