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Rain Phoenix’s Papercranes

The actress, singer (and sister of River, Joaquin, Liberty and Summer) presents her new musical project dealing in subtle psychedelic folk

As a breakthrough actor, Rain Phoenix first appeared on the silver screen in Gus Van Sant’s cult classic 'Even Cowgirls Get the Blues', yet her musical career was established back when she was only three-years-old with her notably talented family, the late River, Joaquin, Liberty and Summer Phoenix. Her own sprawling musical project is papercranes, which debuted in 2006 with the melancholic yet soaring psychedelic folk of 'Vidalia'.

A huge collaborative collective, papercranes sees Phoenix work with an ever-evolving band that has included Michael Perfitt, Michael Tubbs, Robb Buono and her sisters Liberty and Summer Phoenix. Her latest album is out in July on the brilliant Manimal Vinyl label (Warpaint, Sister Crayon) and she introduces this powerful, melodious epic 'Let’s Make Babies in the Woods' with the tumultuous single 'Sea Red' and video directed by the Hollywood nightlife legend, Amanda Demme.

Dazed Digital: Collaborations play an important part in papercranes, can you explain more about the band?
Rain Phoenix: For me, songwriting starts with a melody. When a musician plays a chord progression, either the words and vocal melody come to me, or they don't. That's how I determine who to write with. It works or it doesn’t. Without the willingness of fellow writers to share their melodies with me, there would be no papercranes. I have written songs alone, but much prefer to share in the experience. 

DD: How have your creative goals with music changed throughout the years?
Rain Phoenix: It took a long while for me to even put out a record because there were so many options of how to do a song, and in some respects, I'm never totally happy with the outcome. I've been making an effort to perceive it differently, to see it as a chance to explore and experiment. Perfection may never be attained but the freedom in letting go has allowed me to enjoy it more.

DD: What does this record represent to you?
Rain Phoenix: This record 'Let’s Make Babies in the Woods' was an experiment for me in exactly that. Letting go of what I've learned and instead, working from the rawness of emotion without hesitation.

DD: What do you think about LA’s relationship with folk and psychedelia?
Rain Phoenix:
I don't know much about the music scene in LA. I'm learning more daily. I do know one thing for sure, there are so many great bands! If I were to make an uneducated guess about LA’s relationship with folk and psychedelia, I would say, it must be the weather.

DD: Can you remember how it was on set with Gus Van Sant?
Rain Phoenix
: Gus is a true original. A visionary. An artist. He has a way of making the people he works with feel safe. There are little things he said to me many years back, that I still use as an actor and performer today.

DD: What’s the future going to bring? 
Rain Phoenix: I want my future to involve these things. To be the best person I can be. To produce more inspired art. To love deeply. To know that everything is going to be alright. I hope for all of us that the future brings us towards evolving our consciousness. To delving deeper into our true power. To exploring more the key to sustaining our planet and our art for the better of all living things.

'Let’s Make Babies in the Woods' is out July 11 on Manimal Vinyl.