Mount Eerie's Phil Elverum Is Done Writing Autobiographically

"I want to get back into ambiguity"

Photo: Sharon Steele

Published Mar 1, 2024

Phil Elverum's last few albums have been devastatingly personal, as he wrote about the death of his wife in Mount Eerie's A Crow Looked at Me and Now Only, and chronicled his personal history of Microphones in 2020. Now, as he sets about working on new music, he says that he's "done with" openly autobiographical music and is ready to return to the abstraction he was previously known for.

Elverum discussed his deeply personal writing during a conversation with David Longstreth of Dirty Projectors on an episode of the Talkhouse Podcast published last week (February 22). Speaking about Microphones in 2020, he said, "It would be embarrassing if I made that whole long album and expected people to listen to the minutiae of my circumstances and be like, 'Gaze upon me. I'm significant.' I was going for relatability and depth and something universal."

He then said that he was no longer writing songs overtly about himself: "I like diving into the minutiae: the dates and names, the hyper-autobiographical. I'm done with that now, by the way. After that, I want to get back into ambiguity."

Hear the podcast discussion below.

Elverum's return to abstraction can be heard on the one-off songs he's released in the past couple years, "Huge Fire" and "Stone Woman Gives Birth to a Child at Night."

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