Mercury's Butterfly

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Feywer Folevado (c)2017

Origins from Nowhere

From the sleepy and unsuspecting residential town of Orland, CA emerged the unusual gothic/wave sound of Mercury's Butterfly: an angsty, emotionally-fueled melancholic musical project by Feywer Folevado (Ean Martin), all on Bass, Guitar, Vocals and Keyboard.

The first EP was produced in the winter of 2017/new year of 2018 and published that January via limited edition self-release CDs that were scattered around Orland. At first there were only four, but later there were about 8 or 9 total left lying about. A smaller run of 25 completely hand-made tapes would later go into circulation, “I would leave them with other cassettes in thrift shops for people to find." Featured on a few Sacramento college radio stations and “Sound In The Distance”, the EP garnered attention via word of mouth and the included insert, and the project continued to develop.

While the sound remained in a more typical darkwave fashion, the yearning for inclusion of different musical ideas led to an exploration: more experimental releases followed such as "The Ghost Speaks" and some demos like "The Seventh Day"; and came mixed from “The Shed”, “The Barn”, or “The Caravan” as the first [hand-made] inserts would variously read – “literally a barn on the property, and a caravan in which I was staying in at the time.

“I had purchased a Tascam DP-006 digital 4-track recorder, Marantz PMD-300CP Dual Tape Deck and an Alesis SR-16 Drum Machine for more proper production, and armed with an Electric and Bass Guitar and Vox, the stage was set...

When I was first making these very clandestine tapes and musical releases, I knew of a local art boutique called The Rusty Wagon which featured local craftsmen and artisans’ goods and creations. I saw other music from artists in the area on display but it was all your typical Midwest country style music, but I began to leave my tapes and CDs there anyway. A friendly clerks-woman said that, “the Blackbird in Chico seems right up your alley”.

Armed with that knowledge, I saw one day online a flyer for a goth show happening at the Blackbird Café (R.I.P.) in Chico – and I knew I had to go. Decked out in my goth attire, I was watching the show when I scanned the room thinking, “who in this room could I give my tape to which is of some importance?”, and went up to a girl wearing a Drab Majesty t-shirt and tapped her on her shoulder, thrusting a tape into her hand. After the performance she came up to me and asked about the tape, and we started to talk. I met soon-to-be friends with darkly-inclined aesthetics, and learned about the Chico Area Goths/Chico Area Punks groups, practically joining right then and there.  

I would go to shows at the Blackbird after that, finding friends to bring along. A girl named Frankie expressed interest and saw that I produced post-punk and gothic style of music, and wanted to get together to make music. She lived in Chico and neither of us could drive at the time, so meeting was slim. But on a gloomy Wednesday of a Camp Fire November of 2018, we met in a cobwebbed barn to experiment with sound and dark music. Out of those couple of meetings came what Frankie named “Gossamer”, and a duo of angst-ridden youths in a sonic explosion of sound on a couple demo tapes. Out of this encounter came the four-track demo with Frankie on vocals, featuring four songs, “Dirt”, “Rosaries”, “Snow” and “On The Sundial”. This demo would also get passed around on the underground.

More experimentation and production continued. I remembered from years ago a local organization called the "Transitioned Age Youth" (or TAY) Center, which gets involved with youth culture and activities, that had put on an Open Mic night I went to years ago. My friend Carlos worked for them, so I went by one afternoon and dropped them a Gossamer Demo and was inquiring about another Open Mic. They had told me that they were considering having another one, and it would actually be in a month or so. So I set the stage (mentally) – I would go to work, and design flyers and artwork on my lunch and breaks. I started to use the photo-copier at my local library to duplicate them, and would spend a few days posting them up around town.

Fig 1. Picture of the Master Tape (in colour!) from the very first "Mercury's Butterfly" demo. All other copies were in black and white.
After some talking, eventually they set one up and I produced a flyer for what would be my first show. It was 4PM, 22nd February 2019 at the (now defunct) Saltea Café. Nerves racked at the thought of playing, but I made copies of the flyers and put them up around town in an excited anticipation. A friend I had met at one of the shows at the Blackbird, nicknamed Churro (Rest in Peace my friend), ran a public access television show called “DIY TV”, and I told him about the upcoming Open Mic night and said I’d play a set for him. He happily agreed. And when the day came in a cold February, I remember gearing up all my equipment in my tiny crate on the back of my bike and (very, very carefully) riding the 2 miles into town to the TAY center, where we were to meet up before the show.
The show was small but went well; and it was on from there. I managed to get in contact with members of the CAP crew asking to book shows, and Saywer Goodson put me on for my very first Chico show (one town over). It was well-received, and put Mercury's Butterfly on the map for Orland's local gothic sound.