Bonus Interview with Fortune’s Folly — Alt-Rock for Your Friday Night at Volcanic | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon
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Bonus Interview with Fortune’s Folly — Alt-Rock for Your Friday Night at Volcanic 

Last week, I caught up with Eugene-based alternative rockers Fortune’s Folly. The band caught my eye, as I have an affliction for indie rock and female lead singers. Fortune’s Folly reminds me of pre-”Return of Saturn”, ‘90s era No Doubt, also known as the biggest influence on my love of music (yep, “Tragic Kingdom” was my first CD, I got it for my 11th birthday).

Get to know how Fortune’s Folly came to be, why they prefer making EPs and what’s next for the quartet of energetic indie rockers who share the bill with Jive Coulis at Volcanic Theatre Pub tonight.

The Source Weekly: Where does the name Fortune’s Folly come from?

Calysta Cheyenne: I prefer to keep our name ambiguous. My hope is that it means something different to everyone.

Alex Koleber: We went through literally hundreds of name options and ideas before we landed on Fortune's Folly. To me, the name represents how the band came to be. All of the pieces seemed to be in the right place at the right time, but we could have missed the opportunity so easily.

I happened to run into a friend of Ira's that prompted me to call him while Jesse and I were at a show that we almost decided not to attend. Ira just happened to be recently without a band and Jesse and I happened to be searching for his exact style, having recently left a band we were unhappy with. Calysta happened to be moving back to Eugene just as we were shopping for a singer and she responded to the Craigslist ad that we almost didn't post for lack of hope finding who we wanted. Lots of pieces fell together just at the right times to make the whole thing go but we all had to have been transitioning from previous situations that were perhaps not ideal. The whole thing feels a bit like fate, or the folly of fortune.

TSW: What draws each of you to the stage and to creating music? Could each of you tell me a little about your background in music leading up to the creation of Fortune’s Folly?

Ira Mazie: The connection and palpable feeling of energy between the performers and the audience. One of the most amazing and enjoyable feelings I’ve ever felt in life. History: usual cliche story of outkast high schooler from a divorced home and usual nuclear family struggles. Learning and playing music was my outlet and escape to express myself. Been in countless projects over the years and a few very promising and inspiring bands that have gotten me to where I am now. Fortune’s Folly’ing!

AK: I have been big into music since I was a kid, playing different instruments as I grew up but only found my love for drums about seven years ago. I had been in bands in high school as a guitarist, but nothing serious. I began playing drums with my roommates (one of whom was Jesse and all of whom were musicians) because their band needed a drummer. That band led to another and another and eventually to Fortune's Folly. Though all of my previous bands were essentially commercial failures, I think the experience and knowledge I gained was crucial in leading me to where I am now. The most valuable thing for me during a performance is the exchange of energy with the audience. When you give everything you have on stage and people give it right back, that's a pretty incredible space to be in; there's nothing really quite like it.

Jesse Sanchez: When I play with my band mates in a closed off practice room and we create a song out of nothing, to me that is magical. It’s a representation of hard work and dedication resulting in joy and amazement. And to see that joy and amazement shared by our friends and fans doubles the magic. I have played music in various bands and setting for the last decade, growing with each step and learning from each failed attempt. I received my music minor from the University of Oregon in 2013, but have never stopped studying it.

CC: I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember. I played in multiple bands and studied at the Berklee College of Music. I was sort of taking a break from music when I moved to Eugene and suddenly realized that I couldn’t live without singing! So I checked out the musician portion of Craigslist and found Alex’s post looking for a singer. A little while later I met up with the guys and the rest is history!

TSW: What’s next for Fortune’s Folly? This upcoming EP will be your fourth, do you plan on release a full-length album? How do you see the band growing into the future?

JS: New music, new outlets. I see the band exploring new avenues of online exposure. I see growth and development musically, socially and financially.We live in a new and different era for musicians, which can be intimidating, but ultimately is very exciting. With our continual effort and the love and support from our current and future fans the sky's the limit for us.

AK: We are constantly bouncing around ideas. For now, we are enjoying self-producing EPs and releasing music videos. The way media is consumed these days, full-lengths seem somewhat obsolete with such short attention spans; the shorter releases allow us to be flexible and keep a steady stream of music flowing to our fans. We have the next EP already planned and will be working on that in late 2017. We would like to continue growing organically and push our reach regionally. Doing everything ourselves is an incredible amount of work, but there are also a lot of perks to DIY and we don't have to answer to anyone except our fans and each other. We like to stay busy.

TSW: FF is often compared to ‘90s-esque bands like No Doubt and The Breeders. What do you guys think about these comparisons? What do you like about this era of music and bringing it back into the rotation?

JS: I think being compared to those bands is great for us right now. If we could find their level of success I know that each of us would be excited. That era of music holds a certain nostalgia for each of us and representing that nostalgia in a new way brings about a level of satisfaction.

AK: Our music is a reflection of our influences and our individual styles. We all grew up with ‘90s music and it comes out a lot in our songs. Since the beginning, we have been working to create and maintain a unique sound that also has a broad appeal. We all want to bring back the excitement and passion that we felt from music we grew up with. The music we write is what we would enjoy hearing, what we enjoy playing and what we genuinely want to express to the listener.

CC: I love being compared to these badass ladies! I grew up listening to what my mom played while she drove me to school and cleaned up the house. Lots of No Doubt, Alanis Morissette, Fiona Apple, Erykah Badu and Tracy Chapman. To this day those are my “go-to” artists.

IM: As an alt-rock guitarist, the 90’s heavily inspired and built the guitar player that I am now and how I hear music. When I get compared to band’s like that, that consumed my development I feel great and full of gratitude and inspired to progress from that and form my own voice/sound that grows from that time period with a modern flavor.

TSW: What is your collaboration process like? What goes into writing and recording a Fortune’s Folly EP?

CC: The guys create the jams and I create the vocal melody and lyrics. It’s always fun and exciting bringing our ideas together into something none of us could have imagined on our own.

JS: There is no single songwriter for the band. In fact, no single song has been written by a single person. Each of us contributes in some major way to each song that is written. A true collaborative group effort. An EP is not so much “written” as it is “selected.” We have a long list of completed songs and when it is time to record an EP we go through that list of songs and choose the five that we think fit the context. The context is a combination of where the EP is being recorded, what songs have been released already, what songs we want to save for future releases, which songs “go together” on an EP, etc. Once the selection is made we begin practicing each of those songs on a whole new level so that when we enter the studio we are confident, able and efficient.

AK: Each song has a unique beginning in that one of the four of us will bring an idea to the group and it evolves naturally into the final product. We all give each other space to be creative and trust each other's' experience and knowledge on the instruments to create something we'll be happy with. Sometimes the creation process is messy and it can get heated now and then; we are all passionate about our art and I'm sure any musician reading this knows what I'm talking about. The EPs are carefully crafted to have a specific vibe and flow. We've spent weeks on end deciding which songs should go on a release and how we want to go about creating the EP. Months are spent in preparation before we ever step foot in the studio, but when you hear the whole thing back at the end, it's all worth it.

Fortune’s Folly and Jive Coulis
Friday, June 9, 9pm.
Volcanic Theatre Pub
70 SW Century Dr.
$8/adv at, $10/door.

About The Author

Anne Pick

Music Writer | The Source Weekly
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