photos & story by Sean Kelly
It was my first time at the Garfield Park Conservatory, a fact that I very quickly came to regret as I realized what I'd been missing out on all this time. There's seriously no ice breaker like a quickly walkable building that puts you into just about every ecosystem on the continental U.S. in the matter of an hour. It was here I met up with Chicago-based noisy/sludgy shoegazers, Not For You (Lindsey, Pasha, & Michael).
My knowledge of horticulture is pathetic at best, bassist Michael filled me in on all the wisdom the small black cards labeling the individual species could not. Knowledgeable or not, it's impossible not to be in awe of what the Conservatory has on display.
It was a beautiful sunny Sunday, Lindsey and Pasha navigated us through the turmoil and various ecosystems, taking extra care to avoid the young children's activity groups that were seeming to sprout up left and right.
We wrapped around to the Show House and sat down to talk about their new record "Drown", out this week via Sooper Records.
Emulsion: I know when we were setting this interview up you mentioned a new record nearing a release, where is that at?
Lindsey: It actually is done, it comes out March 8th and we have our release show that following Saturday. It's all ready to go, we're just waiting to hit that button.
Emulsion: That's so exciting!
Lindsey: It's honestly so great to not have to think about any of the other release stuff at this point. It's a ton of work getting it all set up and that part is done, all we have to do now is wait for the date. Everything came together super well though, the tapes all made it in time, we made a music video. The recording itself went really well too. Our really good friend Nate Amos, who lives in New York now, worked on our last album Flood while he still lived in Chicago. We weren't sure who to look to after he left, we felt like he really knew what we were doing so well. We found out he was going to be in Chicago for a few days in October and I asked him a little beforehand if we could try to find a space and do the record while he was here. He used to work at Pallet Sound and we were able to get back in there for this one. We recorded the whole thing in one day.
Michael: We were almost planning on driving all the way out to Vermont for him to meet us and do it. His parents live out there and his dad is a professional country music writer so he has an amazing studio out there.
Lindsey: All the logistics with getting the gear out, and the crazy long drive, when this option came up we made the decision to try and just do it in a day, which a lot of our friends said was nuts. We were like, "we don't really have more time so... were just gonna do this" hahaha.
Emulsion: That alone i'm sure informs a lot of how the record came out. Not even in a "we didn't have any time to get it right" bad outcome sorta way, i'm just sure you had to make decisions that allowed it to work within that construct. Is it a more "live" sounding record because of that?
Lindsey: It was definitely all recorded live.
Michael: No metronomes. It's raw in that sense but we were still able to really build up the production quality with preparation.
Pasha: Yeah, there was a ton of rehearsal leading up to it. We'd been playing these songs for like a year.
Lindsey: We were able to do some really cool things with vocal production too. Nate was visiting in January and we sat down and went through every single line that I sang and decided what the right effect was for each line. That really expanded the level of what the production ended up being. It's definitely dirtier sounding than our last album but the production is still crisp.
Emulsion: You're working with Sooper Records on this release, correct? How did that come about and how has that collaboration been with them?
Lindsey: We've just known Glenn and Nnamdi for a while, they've both been really supportive of us since we put out our last record, Flood. Around that time, they were coming out to our shows and giving us a lot of really awesome feedback on our music. We bridged the friendship that we already had and Michael had already been working with them with his other band Nouveau. I can't even remember the specific conversation honestly...
Michael: I remember it was a week or two after Nouveau reached out them about a release, Lindsey was talking with them in passing about that record and it just kind of stumbled into a collaboration.
Lindsey: By the time we had concrete plans for making the record we reached back out to Glenn and it was all able to come together. It's been a really awesome experience with them already and the record isn't even out yet. It's a great thing to be associated with honestly.
Emulsion: Yes, agreed. I'm constantly in awe of the collection of artists on that roster.
Michael: I feel like they're always able to find originality in the community. There's something about each project that you can't perfectly describe. Bands like Options and Great Deceivers, they're rock bands but they're not just rock bands, they're emo bands but they're not just emo bands. They each have their own flare. And it's the same with the hop hip projects, Nnamdi's stuff and Dan K.'s stuff, it's totally weirdo hip hop. They have a knack for spotting original composition and unique voices.
Emulsion: Well congratulations on the release and on making an awesome record. To close things out, as you drop this one and others to come, what's your concept of success for this band?
Pasha: To play with awesome bands.
Lindsey: I want to tour and have it not be super stressful because people in different towns know us and want to come out and see us. Haha I don't want to have to convince people to like us. Just give us a chance!
Drown by Not For You is out for the world to hear at notforyouchicago.bandcamp.com
Catch their record release show at Archer Ballroom March 10th