The California Poppies recently worked with famed Humboldt County teenage filmmaker Griffin Loch to create a new music video for their debut single, “Song of the Butterfly.”
The local band was formed in early 2020 at the start of the pandemic by singer/songwriter/rhythm guitarist Dash Rowe, who had been making music with his friend and songwriting partner, Chris Reynoso, for over 10 years. .
Now Reynoso is the lead guitarist for the California Poppies, which also includes the talents of multi-instrumentalist Gabriel Lubowe on drums and William English III on bass. Rowe is the lead singer.
The band describes its sound as “an utterly original blend of modern psychedelia and 1960s rock ‘n’ roll” – promoting “growth, good vibes and peace and love”.
Rowe said: “When you hear one of our songs you find yourself wanting to dance. The music is upbeat, positive and fun.
“Song of the Butterfly” – written by Rowe and originally released on July 3, 2020 – instantly defined the sound and message of The California Poppies, the band said.
“The song was inspired by the beauty of spring,” Rowe said. “One day you wake up and notice that nature has started to fall in love again. Wind and trees, butterflies and flowers. We are so lucky to live in Humboldt County where we can experience this beauty.
He added, “I was surprised by the immediate support from our community after the release of this song. I think our music came at one of the darkest times it could have had, and we gave people something positive to listen to.
After the release of “Song of the Butterfly”, The California Poppies were approached by Loch to create a music video.
Loch has been making films since 2008. His feature films include “Calling the Shots” (2018), “The Adventure of TP Man and Flusher” (2019), which won Best Picture and Best Director at the IFS Film Festival , and “A Spark in Nothing” (2021), which also received myriad accolades.
Loch had previously worked with English III on one of his feature films and quickly became a fan of The California Poppies.
“I had the pleasure of casting talented local actor William English III for my latest film, ‘A Spark In Nothing’. Will and I met over lunch at Los Bagels to start talking about my next film project, “Still.” In chat,” Loch said, Will mentioned a local group he joined. That group was The California Poppies. …As a big supporter of local talent in all the arts, I immediately dove into the music of the Poppies. I was hooked by their unique sound but reminiscent of the 60s and 70s. …I contacted William to ask if I could meet the band about producing a music video. Within days, the band agreed to meet me at their weekly rehearsal.
“We hadn’t met in person before our collaboration,” Loch said, “but I felt like I knew them from their beautiful ‘Song of the Butterfly’. … From our first meeting, I could tell that the poppies were like family. Their music was a mix of friendship, honesty and laughter between sets. Lead vocalist Dash, an intimidating stature, is a caring soul who graciously shares the stage with his band. Each player is respected by the other. They welcomed me as a director/producer with respect and confidence in the vision I presented.
Rowe also sang Loch’s praises: “Griffin and his production team are extremely fun to work with and he’s an incredibly talented filmmaker,” he said.
The video – which also features Sabrina Sobel – was filmed at several local locations.
“From the very first pitch meeting, the video locations were very clearly part of my vision,” Loch said. “During the last film, I was fortunate enough to amass a wonderful collection of visually stunning locations, as well as generous contacts in Humboldt County. …
After a few days of scouting and the help of executive producers Robert McPeters (my dad) and Tonde Razooly (my mom), our production company, To The Moon Filmworks, was able to lock down all the locations. We shot for two weekends at the CR campus, Ferndale, Fortuna and the beautiful beaches of Loleta. Due to the weather, we almost lost our beach photo, but in the end, we risked getting soaked by the oncoming storm to get the look. Have to say the weather added to the location.
Loch says that conceptually, “Song of the Butterfly” spoke to him right away, and his ideas for the videos were quickly conceived.
“The images entered my imagination (and) that’s what I presented to the band,” Loch said. “They trusted my vision. It’s always the beginning of a great collaboration — trust. With their approval, I was allowed to shape scenes freely. … I am grateful for the support my friends and family have given me to create this video. Without them, like all my projects, this would not have been possible.
On March 12 at 8 p.m., The California Poppies will screen the music video “Song of the Butterfly” at the Minor Theater, 1001 H St. in Arcata. There will be a Q&A with Loch, Sobel and the band members. A documentary on the making of the video will be screened and the evening will end with a live performance by the California Poppies. Tickets are $15, available at the box office or at the https://www.minortheatre.com.
The California Poppies now have multiple singles on all streaming sites, Rowe said, and will release two new albums this year – one which was recorded at The Old Steeple in Ferndale.