Mount Eerie's Phil Elverum Shares A Tiny Room With Death | KNKX

Mount Eerie's Phil Elverum Shares A Tiny Room With Death

May 19, 2018

Phil Elverum's wife died in a spare room on the second floor of their house in Anacortes, Wash.

After that day in 2016, Elverum made an effort to cut the room off from the rest of the house. He threw open its lone window and closed the door, ceding the space to the rain, leaves, and birds that flew in. 

"I just wanted to air it out, neturalize the room," he said, "and let whatever thoughts and feelings were in here dissipate."

Then, one day, he opened the door again. 

Elverum made his name in Olympia's music scene in the late 1990s and early 2000s, recording under the name The Microphones. He became known for quietly intricate songs that can feel like listening in on someone's private musings and daydreams.

He now goes by Mount Eerie, a name inspired by a landmark near his hometown on the Washington coast. Elverum's music has always evoked a sense of place, particularly the misty landscapes of the Pacific Northwest and the breezy isolation of Anacortes. He used to record his albums in an old Catholic church in town.

But, suddenly raising a young daughter alone, he needed a space where he could quickly escape to write and record music during breaks in parenting. So he returned to the one room in his house he had been avoiding.

What resulted were two albums of intimate, unflinching meditations on death and loss: 2017's "A Crow Looked at Me" and "Now Only," released in March.

Elverum spoke with KNKX reporter Will James about losing his wife, the artist Geneviève Elevrum, known professionally as Geneviève Castrée.

He talked about how they coped with her illness differently: he by immersing himself in the logistics of the household, she turning to meditation and tarot cards in a private quest to resolve life's loose ends.  

"She found a kind of peace and sanctuary in her practices," Elverum said. "The hard part of that was that it swept her completely away from us." 

You can listen to that story above.