Q&A with MOUNT EERIE

MOUNT EERIE has been confirmed to be touring New Zealand in early 2013. I eMailed Phil Elverums a few Q’s and he replied with a few A’s. That’s kinda how shiz works.

Q : Back in 2003 when you stopped using The Microphones moniker you were quoted as saying it was because that project was completed “Mount Eerie is a new project. The Microphones was completed, or at least at a good stopping point. I did it because I am ready for new things. I am new.” - nearly ten years on and into Mount Eerie which seemingly seems to be still as vital as ever – has your perspective changed over time in respect of project-completion?

A : “Complete” is a strange way for me to have put it. The truth is that I think all the stuff I do is just one big lineage that’s all connected, regardless of name. But really, 2003 was a huge year of changes for me and it made total sense to have a new name on this project that reflected the reset. I doubt I’ll have another year in my life that will feel as much like a border between distinct periods. I might just keep the name Mount Eerie forever. Not only has it been annoying to have to explain it repeatedly for the last decade, but I still feel that the name is relevant and mysterious and worth exploring artistically. As for completion, nothing is ever complete.

Q: Just a wee while ago you released all the songs on your last two albums compressed into one 7″ single – a single album on each side with all the songs playing at the same time on top of one another. Prime face it seems a little bit of a gimmick; until that is you listen to the results – but I wondered what was the inspiration and your reasons to do this?

A: It is a gimmick. For sure. It’s certainly not music. I got the idea from a friend, Dirk Kinsey. He came on tour with us a few years ago just for fun, and as a project he developed a persona of a guy selling an alternate merch table on a blanket on the floor near my “official” merch table. He sold home made patches, pendants, posters and cassettes of Mount Eerie stuff. Unlicensed bootlegs. Also he was really belligerent to people. We pretended to not know each other. One of the tapes he sold was my album Wind’s Poem, but all the songs played at the same time. (All his products were deeply flawed in various ways.) I actually really loved the way this sounded. Kind of like an average of the actual album.

Q: Your last two albums were complimentary of each other – I understand exploring the dark and light – what can you tell us more about how these records work together?

A: It’s not exactly like they’re exploring dark and light. There is no real system to the organization. I just had these recordings that fit into 2 different groups that were loosely pointing at the same central idea. They work together because they are from the same time and place. Siblings.

Q: With an awful lot of music made in current times, I think there’s a feeling of transience about it, perhaps reflective of the speed of attention in a post-internet world – however, listening to your work, for me at least, there’s a sense of stillness and calm that stands against that current. And I understand that your work is often occupied by a sense of ‘place’. Is this something you have sought to create, and if so why?

A: Yes, totally. I think that’s what the world needs most these days: stillness. It’s kind of oxymoronic to want to create music about silence, but that’s kind of the idea. It is a lot to ask to make records that work best when people slow down and pay attention, but that’s what I am doing. I personally am constantly trying to be more focussed, and I know all our time is precious, so I am flattered when people tell me they’ve listened to my stuff all the way through and gotten something from it.

Q: What can people expect from a Mount Eerie live experience when you travel here to NZ next year?

A: I’ll be coming alone so the shows will be sparser than my records or full band shows. I’ll aim to create a big feeling with simple tools and not necessarily loud amps. Every show is different I guess.

Q: And what do you expect / hope to experience in your travels to NZ ?

A: I’ve found that traveling is funner without specific goals, but in general I hope for swimming, coffee, weird animals, moss, a strange smell, a food, solitude times, maybe a volcano in the distance?

MOUNT EERIE NZ TOUR 2013 FRI Feb 1 – Auckland – Wine Cellar
SAT Feb 2 – Wellington – Puppies
MON Feb 4 – Barrytown – Barrytown Hall
TUE Feb 5 – Marahau – Tim’s Place
WED Feb 6 – Lyttelton – Wunderbar
THUR Feb 7 – Port Chalmers – Chicks Hotel (in association with POP LIB)
FRI Feb 8 – Dunedin – Dunedin Public Art Gallery (in association with POP LIB)
SAT Feb 9 /SUN Feb 10 – Wainuiomata – Camp A Low Hum

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