not for you

ISSUE #55 / April 11, 2019

📷 : Brendan White

Chicago’s Not For You brings an eclectic mix of influences to their off-kilter, post-punk sound. Look no further than new EP Drift for their distinctly heavy blend. Frontwoman Lindsey Sherman was kind enough to answer a few of our questions about the new EP and the history and music of Not For You.

Chicago Crowd Surfer
LS :
Lindsey Sherman

For those who don't know of Not For You, can you lay out a bit of the band’s history?

LS: Pasha and I started Not For You in the winter of 2015. We had a different bass player at the time named Caleb, but he ended up moving to pursue school, so that is when Michael stepped in as our bass player. I know Pasha through some friends I worked and hung out with when I was a teenager, so when he moved to Chicago in 2014 or so, we started playing music together because I had songs that needed accompaniment and Pasha wanted to try playing drums in a band.

Your sound combines several genres into a hypnotizing mix. How do you explain your style, and what influences lead to its creation?

LS: We are all influenced by odd rhythm through many different types of music. The project originally started out as an outlet for my songs, but then developed into a collaboration between the three of us once Michael joined us on bass. Michael brought strong melodies and knowledge of odd rhythms to the table, which allowed us to develop our sound, and he taught me how to play music outside of traditional 4/4 timing. We all write our own parts, which plays into how unique the sound is. We started writing music based on musical ideas, rather than a full song that I had written privately. I've been influenced by noise and no wave music, which has informed my guitar style and playing. I'm influenced by a lot of pop artists for my vocal style and delivery such as Kate Bush and Stereolab. Deerhoof is a big influence for us regarding our sound as a whole.

You have had small label backing before, but your new EP Drift  was self-released. What was the impetus for self-releasing, and what are some of the main differences between the two?

LS: We wanted to keep our momentum going after our last release, and our label had their roster full for 2019 at the time that I announced we will be recording and releasing a follow up EP. I wanted to keep putting music out to make it clear that we are still out there writing and recording. A big difference between not being on a label is that we had to make our own tapes (with some help from friends), and we did not have any additional help with online promotion or distribution. Other than that, there isn't much of a difference.

The subject matter on Drift- all your material, in fact- comes across as highly personal. What drives you to share this particular part of yourselves?

LS: My writing can be very personal, but I do like to allow the listener to make their own interpretations, which is why I have not shared the lyrics for this material... I tend to write about complex topics, like "fear and anxiety," "abuse of power and control and the effect that has on its victims," and "self-image." It's not something I attempt to unpack throughout my writing- I'm just drawing the attention and pondering the meaning of it all.

We ask this of most of the artists we speak with. What Chicago artists do you think are being overlooked right now?  

LS: Toupee has always been my favorite Chicago band since Not For You began. Headache, Forced into Femininity, and Geological are others I adore, as they like to keep it weird and always interesting.