Introducing: Nothing More

By Lais

Nothing More have actually been around for a long time, but not as the machine they are today. Today’s line up – which consists of frontman Jonny Hawkins, bassist Daniel Oliver, Mark Vollelunga on guitar and Paul O’ Brien on drums – are ready to smash up your eardrums and do nothing less than change your life. We spoke to frontman Jonny to bring you their backstory.

Nothing More actually started back when Jonny Hawkins was in seventh grade. He knew guitarist Mark and bassist Daniel from school, but Daniel was a little older. “Our bassist Daniel, who’s a few years older than me, went off to music school in Nashville. He pursued the whole music dream, but got really bummed out because he was surrounded by a lot of people who were chasing the idea of being famous rather than the pure love of music,” says Jonny. “He left school, lived on the side of a mountain in a tent for about six months, cleared his head and realised that he really did love music.”

That was when Daniel returned to San Antonio and persuaded Jonny and Mark not to go to college, but to tour with him instead. “So against the better advice of our parents and grandparents, we rebuilt this old RV from the 1970s in a field somewhere and we just started hitting the road. We had no label and no help, so it was very DIY for a while,” says Jonny. “I was actually the drummer back then, as I’ve played drums since I was 7 years old when my dad took me to a rock concert. I didn’t make the choir when I was a kid so I always had this notion that singing wasn’t for me.”

So how did he end up becoming the band’s frontman when he didn’t think he was any good at singing? “We went for years trying out all these different singers and just never quite found the right one. It never felt right, so at the end of a few years of touring with different singers, we had a particularly bad night in Mexico where we just got to the end of our rope with a bunch of things. I remember looking at Mark and saying, “You know what? Fuck it, I’m just gonna sing”. And he thought I’d had a couple too many drinks. But in the morning I sobered up and deep in my gut I knew it was the right thing to do. At the time I really didn’t have  a good voice but the feeling just wouldn’t go away.”

“Obviously I didn’t sound very good for the first year or two. It was a huge learning experience and transition, especially having been behind the drums all those years. The drums were my comfort blanket between me and the audience, so to come out there and stand at the front of the stage was incredibly uncomfortable, but over time I grew into the role,” says Jonny.

But when your drummer becomes the frontman, then there’s one thing you need to do: find a new drummer. “We used to tour with this band from Louisiana, but they ended up fizzling out. Their drummer Paul, who we really clicked with, still wanted to pursue music so we teamed up with him. He was the missing piece of the puzzle, which is why this record we’re releasing in June is self-titled because even though this isn’t our first record, we feel like it really embodies who we are.”

When asked to describe the band, Jonny is reluctant to name a specific genre. “I’d like to use the word ‘progressive’, because when you use different genre titles it fits you to these stereotypes in people’s minds. I like that word because it doesn’t so much reflect what you sound like so much as it reflects the heart and the mind underneath the music. I think we’re progressive in how we approach our music in the sense that there’s layers to it. If you want to listen to our music on a shallow level then you can do that, but if you want to listen again and think deeper then you can do that as well.”

The band will play Download next month, just before releasing their debut album on June 23rd. These are just two things Nothing More are extremely excited about. But what is their biggest aim in terms of their music? “We just never want to stop growing – mentally, physically, spiritually – as a band and we just want to keep pushing boundaries without ever growing jaded. We want to create beautiful things for as long as we can.”


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