The Believer: When you changed the name of your project from Microphones to Mount Eerie, you opted to reference a particular natural object in the landscape of Anacortes. Can you discuss the reasoning behind the shift?
Phil Whitman Elverum: Well, for one thing, a sense of place is lacking in most of our American lives and art and music and everything. Everyone moves around so much. Kids grow up in five different places and return to nowhere. Towns are all generic because if everyone is going to move soon, who cares if it’s an Olive Garden or something more permanent-feeling? The lack of “home” that most people feel is fucked. We have a shallow history (especially on the West Coast) and it’s getting shallower. I had the good fortune of growing up in a town where my great-great grandparents were some of the first Euro inhabitants, and a town that is town-like enough that I recognize faces at the post office. I love this place. It is home, in a deep way. The mountain (Mount Erie) is right in the middle of the island. It has this distinctive, dramatic rock face. It’s almost like the mascot of this place. I grew up under it, staring at it every morning waiting for the school bus. It’s a special place for me, and the mysterious beauty in the rock face is potent. It has a similar vibe to much of what I am trying to do in music. “The voice of an old boulder.”