February 14, 2019 Interview – Rain Phoenix
Growing up in a family environment that nurtured creativity, the Phoenix siblings all had their artistic muses. With the eldest, River, rising to super-stardom as a movie star in the mid ’80s, his younger brother Joaquin would go on to win Academy Awards, while their sisters Liberty, Summer, and Rain would also find success in art. Rain, the closest in age to her brother River, would have a unique bond that saw them collaborate musically, most notably with the band Aleka’s Attic.
A band which was active for some time, but sadly, after River’s tragic passing, activity ceased. With many recordings yet to see the light of day, after many years, a few pieces finally see daylight with the pending release of the double A-side entitled Time Gone. An exciting time for Rain, she recently sat down to chat about working with River musically, the chemistry they shared, finally finding the path to release their music, plans for new music, plus more.
Cryptic Rock – You have been surrounded by the arts essentially your entire life. From a young age, you would go on to be a part of a band with your brother River, and you would also act in film as well. First, briefly tell us, what inspired you to pursue a career in the arts?
Rain Phoenix – I loved to sing from a young age, River and I were nearly always making music together. I honestly didn’t have interest in anything but art and appreciate the fact that my parents were supportive.
Cryptic Rock – That is certainly a blessing when your family supports your creativity. As mentioned, you have done your share of acting, but your true love lies in songwriting. At what point did you realize you wanted to dive fully into music?
Rain Phoenix – I was always in the deep end for music.
Cryptic Rock – With yourself and River, Aleka’s Attic, had been active for a good amount of time. As mentioned, River was a part of that band with you. What was it like collaborating with him creatively?
Rain Phoenix – I would say it was River’s band and I was a part of Aleka’s Attic with him. We had a ‘siblings shorthand’ that made collaborating almost inborn. He was extremely passionate about music and an inspiration to work with.
Cryptic Rock – Those have to be some wonderful memories. The story goes there was an Aleka’s Attic LP in the works, but it was never officially released. Now you are set to release a double A-side entitled Time Gone, featuring two unreleased Aleka’s Attic tracks. After all this time, what led to the decision to bring this music to light?
Rain Phoenix – It was effortless and guided. Any other time I considered releasing AA songs, there were obstacles and it just didn’t feel right. This time it felt meant to be.
Cryptic Rock – That is wonderful that it finally happened! Those obstacles overcome, is there the potential of other unreleased Aleka’s Attic songs to be released in the future?
Rain Phoenix – Yes, there is.
Cryptic Rock – Very good news. Time Gone also features your first solo single “Time is the Killer,” which features a collaboration with R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe. A very emotional song with thoughtful lyrics, is this a prelude to what your future solo material will sound like?
Rain Phoenix – With songwriting, a lot of the time, unless I have something specific to expunge, I feel more like a channel than a songwriter, and I’m thankful “Time is the Killer” chose me to bring it into the world. I’m working again with Collaborator Kirk Hellie on my follow-up EP, and he’s brought out a more wild-child, dancey spirit to this batch of songs. Themes of love and loss, life and death do find their way into my songs as a rule, because life is rife with them.
Cryptic Rock – Very interesting to hear. Speaking of R.E.M., you have a history working with the band, having recorded with them in the past. What was it like working with them?
Rain Phoenix – They are honestly the coolest guys in Rock I’ve ever worked with.
Cryptic Rock – They are truly a great band. With Time Gone set for release, can you provide any information about the follow-up?
Rain Phoenix – Yes! I am working on a follow up EP right now – hopefully it will be in your ears by early May.
Cryptic Rock – That is something to look out for. Beyond music, you are involved in many other things including organizations which help other artists. What can you tell us about some news on current projects you are working on?
Rain Phoenix – I am passionate about artists helping artists and care deeply about artists in the margins, who create from a place of necessity, whether it’s marketable or not, they must be creative. I believe that kind of art is often imbued with the soul of culture change and feel an intentional space to foster that kind of art is important. I’m speaking of LaunchLeft, which is informed and inspired by River’s legacy in all things art and activism. One of its main aims is to find new ways to connect left-of-center emerging artists to iconic artists who can guide and help launch their careers.