One of Buffalo’s growing bands, Not for Nothing, recounts how they came together, what kick-started their success, and defines what makes them unique
By Rachel Pinti
Special to Niagara Frontier Publications
Not for Nothing, a Buffalo band formed within this past year, is gaining momentum by appearing in local cafes, musical venues and building fans within the immediate community through playing shows one after the next.
The band began in 2018 when drummer Joey Porth, age 17, teamed up with guitarist Adam Barnes, age 21, in search for other musical members. Joey’s mother shared videos of her friend’s daughter singing, the 16-year-old lead vocalist Jaden Brice. Her talent was immediately noticed. With a drummer, guitarist and vocalist on board, all they needed was a bass player. Jaden suggested her friend, Alex Squier, age 17 – whose mother is coincidentally friends with Adam’s – to play in the group. Thus, Not for Nothing began.
“It’s a mom band,” the musicians joke.
The band’s chemistry goes beyond this small-world connection. Its musical influences are far-reaching, with Joey listening to Queen, The Beatles, jazz, and more experimental music. Adam says he is fond of progressive rock and guitarist Greg Lake. Jaden draws inspiration from alternative bands like The Smiths and The Breeders, while Alex prefers rap and post hardcore music. They use this diversity to their advantage, though, claiming, “Part of what makes our band great is the diversity in influence that we have.”
Alex adds, “We all like our own different thing and we try not to let one genre define us as artists as well. … So we just try to make it a big blender of different styles.”
Not for Nothing is, indeed, a blender of different styles. Jaden mixes in the soft vocals typically associated with indie and alternative rock, while Joey demonstrates intricate drum rhythms. Alex and Adam move the band along with powerhouse bass riffs and melodic guitar solos. The band is versatile in its ability to perform well-known and powerful songs like The Beatles “Come Together,” then switch into a soothing original song like “Time Machine,” or the upbeat “Be So Honest.” Not for Nothing is also characterized by their impressively mature sound, produced by such young musicians.
Before going out to play a set on Saturday, the band said it believes the moment that kick-started its musical experience was writing its first song, “Certain.” It made the band realize it has true musical potential and bridged the gap between being a cover band and being original.
Not for Nothing went on to write one of their most fun songs to play, “Keep on Keepin’ On,” where each member sprinkled ideas into the songwriting process in order to create the song’s result. They said they are especially proud of creating something so collaboratively.
Their varying sound makes them believe there is a little something for everyone in their music.
Local fan Emma Jackson, age 19, said she appreciates the band’s thematic variation in an already diverse genre.
“A lot of indie bands rely heavily on romantic love as a theme in their music, but Not for Nothing has totally broken that mold,” she says. “Lately they’ve been writing based on this story of space and time travel … they also write about platonic relationships and individuality.”
The band’s interest in space can be further seen in its logo of an astronaut with “N4N” written in his helmet.
Joey says he and the band members particularly excel at adapting to various venues and being on the same page with one another. He says, “I think we all have a good enough focus and work ethic to also be working on ourselves while we’re also working on the band.”
Above all, the members said they believe their ability to work with each other is what makes them valuable. Joey says, “We’ve grown to be pretty good friends out of the entire band experience, too.”
What’s next for Not for Nothing? They would like to continue playing out at different venues, building a name for themselves in the community, and expanding their audience. They are often found playing at local scenes like Sugar City, Penny Lane Café, Clarence Center Coffee, Batavia Downs, out at local gatherings and the like.
Not for Nothing can be reached via Instagram @notfornothingbuffalo and their music can be found at www.soundcloud.com/notfornothingbuffalo.