CAUGHT UP WITH SHERM AT NORTH COAST
Sherm is a Chicago-based DJ who has garnered an immense fan base from his industry-leading podcast series Sherm In The Booth, his iconic live performances that have earned him direct support slots for Armin Van Buuren and Galan
I had a chance to sit down with Sherm after his set at North Coast to find out how it went and what else they are up to!
YOU JUST FINISHED YOUR SET AT THE VEGA STAGE. TELL ME ABOUT IT.
I gave it my all, and it went great! I prepared for it for a while. I played probably ten different genres and six unreleased tracks in this set, which was nerve-racking! I asked the crowd to let me know their thoughts on a scale from one to ten. I got some eights, which is okay, but I told the eights to become a ten, lol. And they eventually did!
Today was kind of my; I don’t want to say coming out, but a chapter or a stone for me. I played a lot of my own music, and I played whatever I thought would work, and it worked.
YOU’VE BEEN IN THE INDUSTRY FOR A WHILE. WHERE DID YOU START?
I’ve been producing for six years and playing for 8. And I started DJing in college at Indiana University about ten years ago. Then, I came to Chicago to continue trying to pursue it. I got in line in Chicago, which was tough because I thought ‘I DJed in college and didn’t realize how competitive it was here. So I got in line, and while waiting in that line, I started a podcast called Sherm In The Booth, where I was interviewing people in that line.
I made connections and friendships and developed my network. It’s helped me so much over the years. And even though it’s taken me about eight years to get to where I am now, it’s all happening!
So it’s how I got my start and built my way up.
WAS THIS YOUR FIRST TIME PLAYING AT NORTH COAST?
This was my fourth! I played the silent disco in 2018. Then I played in 2021, 2022, and now in 2023. So it’s a significant festival for me, and I have a great relationship with the guys that run it at Collective. And they went all out this year!
It was a good day for me because I got to show who I am, have a blast, and not leave anything behind.
IF YOU HAD TO TELL SOMEONE WHO IS SHERM, HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF? AND WHERE DID YOU DJ NAME COME FROM?
My name is Matt Sherman, but everybody calls me Sherm except my wife, mom, and brother. But they get a pass.
But if you could describe Sherm in a few words, I would say superfluous! I’m not really sure what it means, but I’m good at that moment right now. Love it. Energetic. And unapologetic. I like to be who I am no matter what. All I try to do is spread good energy and love in the world by being myself.
The people I look up to are Diplo and Dillon Francis, who play a lot of different genres. Like I can smash a five-hour underground set. I can also play a one-hour festival set. I can also play like a gay pride parade. I can play a wedding reception, and I’ve done all these different types of shows. So when I do play, I have playlists that I have been working on for the past ten years, and no playlist goes unused. So, every time I have a new show, I think about new songs that I can play, constantly hunting for new music.
AND YOU TRY TO BRING THAT SAME ENERGY TO YOUR SETS?
Definitely, North Coast set was a perfect example of who I am. Every song means something to me. I kicked it off with a custom intro I made where I took sound bites from Dragon Ball Z, not just the voiceovers, but sounds from the show. Then, I transitioned into a 148 BPM techno track.
That went hard as fuck. And then I did techno for a while. They went into trap, electro, then tech house, then underground. I played a bunch of my own music, then some golden-age EDM anthems—even a mashup.
WHAT! HOW DID THEY GIVE THE CROWD GIVE YOU 8’S THEN? LOL
I don’t know. Honestly, I try to be different and unique. You see DJs try and associate with fads or trends and try to make what’s popular, but even when you are popular, you must always be unique.
So, I’m starting right now, even at the level I’m at, putting a line in the sand and saying this is Sherm, this is who I am, like it or not, I’m going to do me.
WHAT ARE THE NEXT STEPS FOR SHERM?
I am going to be doing things a little bit differently moving forward. I will be looking to play fewer shows locally, unfortunately. But it’s part of the strategy I want to put on bigger events. So, one of the songs I played today is called Chicago Handshake. And the Chicago Handshake is an iconic drink in Chicago that combines Malort and Old Style.
OH NO! NOT MALORT!
I love that you don’t like it lol. You’re not supposed to like it.
NO, BUT IT’S THE RITE OF PASSAGE IN CHICAGO.
It IS a rite of passage. So, I made a song called Chicago Handshake. I sampled my own vocals while doing a video explaining what a Chicago handshake is and during a live podcast interview where I interviewed a Chicago legend. Dani Deal and I took a Chicago handshake with her during a live interview.
What I try and do is really give a little piece of me in every set and every song. And the fact that I can give you all five senses, which is literally running in the crowd and giving you a shot of Malort and an Old Style. I can take that worldwide.
You can always get a little taste of Chicago as long as Sherm’s there.
HAVE YOU WORKED WITH MALORT? MAYBE A POTENTIAL SPONSORSHIP?
OF course! I interviewed the CEO. I’m DJing their 90th birthday party on a Monday night in December. The highlight of my career right now!
It will be fun, and I’m just grateful for the community I have in Chicago—fans and people in the food and beverage industry. I’m really passionate about that! It’s kind of my way to get back to the city.
SINCE YOU ARE LOOKING TO PLAY FEWER LOCAL SHOWS, WHERE’S ONE DREAM PLACE YOU WANT TO DJ?
Barcelona! We have a Hood Politics show that we’re doing in Amsterdam in October, but Barcelona is an extraordinary place for me. It’s really where I fell in love with dance music. I studied abroad there when I was in college, and it’s where I decided that I wanted to pursue a career in music, whether as a DJ. You can tell that Europeans know where it’s at.
I went on my first tour earlier this year and went to Denver, San Diego, San Francisco, Miami, and New York City. I went to Champaign, Illinois, for a frat party. That was a great time!
But globally, I want to expand my footprint. I want to challenge myself. Please put me in a city that I’ve never played. I’ll do my research and focus on the fans in that city.
AMAZING! WELL, I AM SURE YOU WANT TO ENJOY YOURSELF AFTER YOUR SET, SO LAST QUESTION. IF THERE IS ONE THING YOU COULD TELL OUR READERS, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Try and be the most unapologetic version of myself. You’ll only be happy if you can love who you are. You have to start by loving yourself before you can love others.
I’m all the same when you see me in real life, on social media, or DJing. And that’s what I try to do and push that energy forward.
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Title: CAUGHT UP WITH SHERM AT NORTH COAST
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Published Date: Fri, 22 Sep 2023 03:11:33 +0000
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