Paper Bird, on the Denver music scene, collaboration in the arts, and challenging yourself creatively:
"i think the biggest musical shift we had was when the Ballet Nouveau Colorado came in and asked us to do a collaboration. that’s what Carry On is - it’s just a live recording of that show.
we were doing good work with each other but we were starting to get bogged down with playing bars and going on tour and not really knowing what we were doing. and then the ballet approached us.
they were the first outside influence that came down and challenged us creatively. we needed someone to be like, your challenge isn’t just to play the same songs every night, it’s to do anything you want. do things you’ve never done before.
we need to put ourselves in these situations where we’re forced to really focus on the creative aspect.
i love the denver music scene. there are people making amazing music but there’s not the pressure or the competition of being in new york or LA or san francisco or even seattle. there are people here writing amazing music but we don’t really compare ourselves to other people so much - we’re like, it’s denver, no one cares what we do, we can do whatever we want to.
we’re starting to figure out just how much power we have to define how we want to be a band and what that really looks like and if we want to start creating our own arts centers and doing more collaborations and if we want to build an infrastructure like that for other bands so other bands don’t have to just tour and play bars.
i mean, we still do that as a band and we love doing that but it’s nice to have other outlets and more artistic, really intentional ways of playing music.
the ballet nouveau colorado director said, we have to start collaborating or the arts are going to die. people don’t really care about ballet that much, music is getting cut from schools every day. we need to start working together, we need to take this into our own hands.
we had such an amazing experience doing the ballet with them and i started thinking of my friends bands and thinking “i want to see a ballet to this! i want to see a ballet to that! i want my friend who does costumes to make the costumes, i want a friend who makes art to do the set design, i want to do all this again and get everyone involved, i want people to make short films to project in the background! i want to do things in schools!”
i just get this feeling in denver that we could pull it off here. that people would be willing to help us grow that.”