Zaliza takes us behind the hauntingly beautiful EP that was her literal Paper Cave Session, diving deeper into the story of the songs Phoenix River and Spirit. Both songs are new arrangements from a previous release, delving further into a sound that’s an eclipsing blend of folk-rock.
Stripping guitars, collaborating, and the changing seasons of life: in her own words, New York based artist Zaliza breaks down the tracks of her latest live EP Paper Cave Sessions.
Phoenix Rising (Paper Cave, Live Session)
Phoenix Rising was written in the wake of immense change for me. I wrote the lyrics first, as a poem. I was meditating on the beauty in parts of yourself dying – seasons of your life and people that you have to leave behind to make space for new and healthier mindsets and relationships to bloom. I wanted to speak life over myself while honoring where I had come from. It was natural that in leaving behind a time of my life where I limited myself I would have Phoenix Rising start the Paper Cave Session – a project that I kind of just ran at and didn’t give myself time to think before I jumped.
Spirit (Paper Cave, Live Session)
Spirit is my oldest song that I have released. It was the first song that made me realise I could focus on writing music and people would listen. I wrote it when I lived on a farm, in an artist community in North Carolina. I was surrounded by people who would take the time to really see and understand others. Song was one of the biggest ways we would collaborate creatively. I saw so much beauty. I was astounded how singing healed me in that time and the spiritual connection between song and the physical body. It’s really my love song dedicated to… well, song. It’s a bit of my warrior anthem as well.
We play it in the original structure I wrote. In the album, the chords are changed, the guitar is taken out and synths are replaced. That was a bit of the point though with the Paper Cave Session: to play the songs in an alternate/original format. Collaborating with Clare (cello), Robert (drums) and James (saxophone) brought a new element to both songs original form as well. In rehearsal just prior to filming I told the band a certain vibe I was hoping for, but I wanted each person to really feel creatively fulfilled and so for the songs most of what you hear is improvised (minus my guitar).
Check out the incredible music video and some behind the scenes pictures of the incredible space it was recorded in, below.