So we caught up with the cuddly Phil Elverum of Mount Eerie after a show and asked him a couple of questions during what our tape recorder died among other things that weren’t working in our favor. Here’s a portion of the ill-prepared interview.
NC: How come you chose to tour with No Kids?
PE: They’re from Vancouver, which is near where I live. And so Nick and I are friends from a long time ago. We collaborated together on Wind’s Poem, we made it together, he wrote some songs on it with me, so it made sense.
NC: Speaking of where you live, I noticed a lot of the songs on the album have similar motifs – the wind, mountains..? Is that related to where you live?
PE: Yeah, it’s true. It’s just mountains and islands…
NC: So in one of the songs on Wind’s Poem you sort of play with the theme from Twin Peaks and you mention Twin Peaks, how did that come about? Were you watching Twin Peaks at the time, was there something that inspired you?
PE: Yeah, I love Twin Peaks. I’ve watched it many times. But it felt kinda funny, you know, to play a theme song from a TV show. It’s beautiful music, I love Twin Peaks music. And I also wanted to create that world or reference that world of the TV show Twin Peaks with it’s dark forests and the pine trees moving in the wind. So playing the theme was like a shortcut, a mental shortcut for people who are familiar with this imagery.
NC: So it’s like similar to where you live?
PE: Yeah, it’s very similar.
NC: Wind’s Poem is a lot louder and noisier than your previous stuff. What made you do something like that?
PE: I’ve always made noisy records and quite records, or within the same record noisy and quite. I’ve been listening to a lot of really loud music lately and I’m interested in different ways of creating something huge, giant, so I’m always trying to make something giant.
NC: What about your next record, we read somewhere that it was going to be even louder?
PE: I hope so. I haven’t done anything, I haven’t written any songs or started recording anything, but I would like to make another big loud record.
NC: The label you run, that releases your stuff, does it release other bands as well, other music or just you?
PE: Not really. I’ve released a few of my friends’ records, but just for fun.
NC: When did you take up photography? I’ve read somewhere that you published your own collection of photography a couple of years ago, are you planning to do something like that again?
PE: No… I used all my good photos in one book. Maybe, I have some more photos. I started taking pictures in high school. I had a job at a camera store, working in the dark room.
NC: You don’t play many of the old songs live…?
PE: That’s true. Sometimes I do.
NC: Depends on the show or?
PE: Well the band, we only know… We played all the songs we know tonight. So we only know Wind’s Poem and one song. Maybe we’ll learn new songs. Sometimes I play them solo. But I love playing with a band.
NC: How long have you been on tour now with the band?
PE: This is the very beginning.
NC: You never played with a full band before?
PE: Not in Europe. Last fall we did a tour in the US.
NC: How much time did you spend preparing with the band before the tour?
PE: We didn’t practice once. The first time we played was the first show in Poland.
NC: And what was that like?
PE: It was scary. But we toured last fall together, same people, so everyone remembered all the songs. That was in November so the other day was the first time in a long time. It’s been a long gap with no practice.
NC: So you plan to play with a band in the future or?
PE: No, actually, probably just this tour. And then after this something, I don’t know what.
NC: You don’t make plans?
PE: I have ideas, and they sort of come together…
NC: Why did you feel you needeed to change you moniker after The Microphones?
PE: Um, I wanted a new name. I wanted a new project, a new concept.
NC: How do you feel about Mount Eerie as opossed to The Microphones?
PE: Well, it’s just the name. So it’s all like the same line, it’s all the same sequence of work.
NC: Yeah, that’s what I meant, it doesn’t sound like a radical change in sound to us, you probably see it differently…
PE: To me it sounds like a progression. Slowly. Each time it’s different. The name change happened somewhere in the middle. And it’s more like a chronological distinction.