ALEATORY #1: Phil Elvrum

Few discographies are as intimidating as Phil Elvrum's. As The Microphones (and later as Mount Eerie), Elvrum crafts nothing but powerful, complex indie-rock epics that transcend their bare-bones recording environments to become something far more orchestral in nature. As a producer, he's helped create soundscapes for artists like Mirah, Little Wings, and Beat Happening. As an interviewee, he becomes the first subject of the Globecat Aleatory -- that famed list of 20 randomized questions -- and his responses are as wickedly funny as they are surprisingly insightful. Ladies and gentlemen: Phil Elvrum.


1. Favorite word?

The word "favorite" is terrifying for me. I can not choose favorites. I can't say "best" except in ironic hyperbole. So all these answers are not favorite or best or worst or anything. They are just one answer of many. I hope I make sense.

4. Favorite person to have worked with?

Julie Doiron, recently.

5. Favorite piece of equipment?

Printing press.

7. Favorite composer?

G.I. Gurdjieff & Thomas deHartmann.

12. Favorite band when you were in high school?

Eric's Trip.

13. Favorite Shakespearean play?


15. Favorite exhibit or subject at the museum?

The entire Museum of Jurassic Technology in LA.

29. Who do you wish more people were listening to?

Gary Snyder.

32. Best thing you learned this week/month?


52. At what point did you realize that music was going to be your full-time occupation?

Still haven't.

60. What's the worst show you've ever played? What would you have done different?

So many horrible ones I can't choose. In many cases nothing could have been done.

63. Band/artist you're secretly envious of?


66. Worst song you've heard recently?

"Lisa, It's Your Birthday" by "Michael Jackson" in that one Simpsons episode.

71. How well do you feel your music lends itself to remixing or being covered?

Poorly. My songs are too much about my own weird shit. It would seem weird coming from someone else. Remixes would be fine though I think.

73. Are there any songs that you're working on right now?


82. Current pop song that you would file under "guilty pleasure"?

I feel no guilt. I love so much weird normal people stuff. It's just music.

89. You just died. I'm sorry. Fortunately, your will states that you want very specific music to be played at your funeral. What did you choose?

Sunn O)))

92. Which venue are you dying to play but have not yet had the chance to?

I would like to play on the Earth's moon.

96. The one thing that no one knows about you (yet)?

I just ate a burrito.

98. Would you say that there's somewhat of a political undertone to your music? If so, what motivates it?

Maybe, yes. I feel like we humans could do better. I am motivated to say what I think because people are paying attention to me.

99. Licensing your music out to companies for TV ads: good or bad?

In most cases bad. But what if it was a TV ad for something I really felt ethically obliged to help promote? Like a tall frosty Heineken?