The last things we’ve heard from Mount Eerie sounded just like a cold quest for absolute. Wind’s Poem, an LP where we discovered the dark side of Phil Elverum quoting Burzum from his Norwegian den. With an intense album like this one we felt Mount Eerie reached a climax. It could have well been the end of the band but turned out to be a significant development in their carrier. What could have been said after his last poems? May be silence was the only answer so just like heroes after a victory, Phil Elverum returned to his den and silently worked on two compilations.
Silence was to be broken in 2012 and once again Mount Eerie can’t be found where we expect them. It starts with a tour alongside drone vets Earth then with a 7’ on French DIY label, Atelier Ciseaux (To the Ground out on April 10th, limited edition of 300 copies). We wanted to ask Remi Lafitte (label founding member) about this unique release and his encounter with Phil Elverum. An interview you can read while enjoying the listenning of the 7’ before everyone else.
Hi Rémi, can you tell us about the story behind this release?
R.L. : I’m sorry I won’t tell the story of an epic meeting on tops of mountains. Mount Eerie is a band I’ve been listenning to for quite a long time. Working with them was a dream project of mine so in November I finally dare sending the email. It was a long email explaining how badly I wanted to work on a 7’ with them. I didn’t think it would work but I needed to try. I think I wrote something like ‘I guess you’re really busy but I had to try and tell you about this’. I was shivering when I clicked and send the email. Three weeks later he told me he was interested and will send some tracks as soon as possible. It went pretty fast and smoothly. I know it’s a quite common story but it’s a touching still. We were fans of Mount Eerie but also perfect strangers sending an email out of the blue. He took time to check our work and gave it a try.
Most of Mount Eerie’s records are released on Phil Elverum’s own record label, P.W. Elverum and Sun. What led him to release this one on a French label like Atelier Ciseaux ?
R.L. : I think only Phil Elverum could answer. Funny enough I was planning on asking him the same question when he is back from his tour with Earth. I guess it’s not that easy to produce and release music all by yourself. Working with another label might bring a new dynamic.
What’s moving you in Mount Eerie’s music ?
R.L. : This music has eyes, it observes and travels for us. It’s all about these roads we had in mind and never saw. Bright or dark paths, sometimes both. I’ve always had a fascination for mountains and grew up surrounded by them. As a teenager, I wanted to run away, mountains just meant boredom. It took time to learn loving them again, but I know now that I can’t live too far from the mountains. I only know Phil Elverum by emails and from his records but I really appreciate his constant will to explore and experiment. He’s not the kind of guy who rest on his laurels. I hope our roads will cross someday.
“This music has eyes, it observes and travels for us. It’s all about these roads we had in mind and never saw. Bright or dark paths, sometimes both.”
R.L. : I guess this project with us was a good opportunity for him to experiment again. The first track Phil sent us was purely instrumental and we thought making a record with two distinct atmospheres would be a good idea. To The Ground’s A-side is more of a poppy track, compared to its B-side, Mouth Of The Sky, an ambient-oriented track, with weird singing and all. It’s complementary. Have you been listenning to ‘House Shape’, the single from his forthcoming album? It’s dronic, ethereal and beautiful. I’m sure he’s gonna surprise us again and the new record’s gonna be awesome.
Each release from Atelier Ciseaux has a very specific artwork. Can you tell us more about this one ?
R.L. : Phil wanted to do the artwork himself. Mount Eerie have always put great importance in it, it’s part of their music and the way we experience it. Phil is also a photograph and a painter, I guess it’s his own way of expressing himself through another medium bringing a new dimension to his music.
After almost four years, what’s next for Atelier Ciseaux? Of which release(s) are you especially proud?
R.L. : It’s pretty hard to sum these four years up and basically we just want to carry on releasing records, with the same mixture of excitement and stress. Our issues are now available in new territories and we’re getting great feedbacks about them. Even though we’re French it was not that easy to build a profile there for a DIY label like us but we are now selling more and more records in our homeland. We have regular jobs on the side so running a label is not a piece of cake and of course we have to deal with very low budgets but it’s totally worth it and stopping now is totally out of the question. It would be difficult for me to pick a favorite in our releases but Yes or No by François Virot, our first one, means a lot to me.
I heard you’re to leave Montreal soon. Back to France then. Will it mean that you’re gonna work with French artists more often?
Leaving Montreal won’t change a thing for us, we never wanted to be associated with a specific country. Geography has nothing to do with it, it’s all about the bands that touch us. Our new release will be Tender Opposites by Canadian artists Tops. The tape is sold out so it will be reissued on vinyl. We also have a live recording from Prince Rama and Sun Araw coming soon.
You can already pre-order To The Ground via Atelier Ciseaux’s website .
All pictures are taken from To The Ground’s artwork.
Many thanks to Ambre for her huge help on the translation.