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Five Questions with Paper Bird


Paper Bird’s new release Rooms makes a strong, early case for Colorado’s Album of the Year, dropping March 22 with a release party at the Oriental Theatre in Denver. Slicing a new path through Colorado’s overgrown grass sound, Paper Bird departs in ways that build bridges across genres, marked by the lilting harmonies of sisters Esme and Genevieve Patterson, and arrangements and instrumentations that reflect a widening meadow of influence; expertly produced by Petaluma, California-based film scorer and producer Ryan Fritsch. Here, Genvieve and Esme talk about the Rooms recording process, working with family and standing on the precipice of nationwide success.


French Davis: The first couple of cuts on this album definitely show an evolution in your sound. What’s driving that?

Genny Patterson: The last year was a huge transition for this band.  We have a different line up and in a way we’re considering this our first album. Ryan helped break us out of our patterns and explore.  He gave us some amazing tools for working up songs.


FD: Talk a bit about this album as a whole, the name, concept, etc…

Esme Patterson: With this album we took some risks. We stepped into some spaces that are new to us, and will be new to our listeners, and we are constantly trying to re-invent our sound and test our limits as performers and songwriters. The idea behind Rooms is that each song is a complete feeling—a sound-space that the listener can step into, lie down in, feel enclosed within. Also, our band is a structure holding seven very different people harmoniously as a house holds different rooms.


FD: You recorded this album live. Talk about what you liked and disliked about that process.

EP: We prefer to record live because this band, up until the point of this album, has been mainly a performance-based band with a focus on our shows, and we didn’t feel that any of our albums captured the magic of our live shows, until Rooms. When all of us are playing the song together, albeit in different rooms, the feeling of our collective energy comes across.


FD: (Denver-based band) The Lumineers definitely got some lift last year, and you got to tour with them. You’ve been called the “best local band” by many of the state’s publications, including this one. Is Paper Bird on track to be the next Colorado Cinderella story? Or are there more obstacles to be faced before you can command the national spotlight?

GP: It’s no small thing translating local to national success. One of the best parts of touring with The Lumineers was getting to hang out with them again.  They had been touring constantly for two years before they had their huge breakthrough and hadn’t really been around in Denver to kick it.  I feel like we still have a lot to learn but we’re all excited about putting the work in and spreading our music as far and wide as possible.

Has working with family been as tough as I’d imagine it to be with mine? How do you handle creative discord? Either among sisters or anyone else in the band, for that matter?

EP: It’s not tough at all. In fact, it makes this whole process a lot easier, having your family with you. After all this time together, we’re all really family.


French Davis
Meet Dave Flomberg | Writer, musician, creative director (aka French Davis). There is so much to say about Dave aka French that we think you should read these articles: https://yellowscene.com/2020/02/29/french-davis-a-master-of-many/ ••• https://shoutoutcolorado.com/meet-dave-flomberg-writer-musician-creative-director

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