Nothing: “At the end of the day, this is everything”

After going through hell and back, Domenic Palermo and Brandon Setta discuss their soaring new album, 'Tired Of Tomorrow'

Nothing: “At the end of the day, this is everything”

By Glen Bushell

May 10, 2016 15:14

“I’d be careful to say that we are blessed, as I don’t know if that’s the fact, but things could definitely be worse,” says Nothing vocalist/guitarist, Domenic Palermo. After the year that Palermo and his band have had, it’s hard to believe that’s the case. “There were definitely some questionable times, some of which were worse than others,” he continues. “I don’t expect much out of life, and my standards are pretty low, but I have to remind myself that its crazy this band gets to do what we do.”

The questionable times that Palermo refers to could have ended a lesser band. In the wake of their breakthrough album, ‘Guilty Of Everything’, back in 2014, this Philadelphian alternative rock band have endured more strife than anyone should have to in an entire lifetime. From the well-documented controversy surrounding Collect Records and hedge fund manager/pharma-bro, Martin Shkreli, with whom Nothing had just signed, Palermo taking a near-fatal beating in California, to the death of family members. For all intents and purposes, Nothing shouldn’t even be here.

“Never,” states guitarist, Brandon Setta, when asked if there was ever a time Nothing felt like giving up. “This is what we do, and this is all we have. It’s something that’s very important to us, and we care about it too much. We just want to keep doing this as long as we can.”

The truth is, no one ever made really great music from purely being happy all the time. That much is evident in Nothing’s second album, ‘Tired Of Tomorrow’. It is a dynamic, soaring rock record, and one that they have poured every ounce of despair into. “It’s a big relief for it to finally come out,” continues Setta. “It’s been recorded for almost a year, and then with all the shit that went down, it kept making it harder for us release it.”

The main hurdle for the band was the issue surrounding Collect Records. When it came to light that Shkreli was a silent partner in the label, run by Geoff Rickly of Thursday, and he raised the price of the anti-parasitic drug, Darapim which is used to treat those suffering from HIV, by 5000% per tablet, Nothing were one of the first bands to leave the label. Thankfully, the band were able to keep hold of ‘Tired Of Tomorrow’ which had already been recorded, and their old label, Relapse Records, reached out to them. “After the Collect thing happened they hit us up,” explain Setta. “They said we should just come back to them. Relapse took care of us on ‘Guilty Of Everything’ and they are great friends of ours now.”

The reaction to ‘Tired Of Tomorrow’ has been just as great, if not better, than what the band received for ‘Guilty Of Everything’, and justifiably so. From the swooning, immersive opener, ‘Fever Queen’, through the fast paced single, ‘Vertigo Flowers’, the driving riff’s of ‘A.C.D (Abcessive Compulsive Disorder)’, and the haunting piano-led title track, the entire album is an accomplished, self-assured piece of work. “People seem to really like it,” says Setta humbly. “Our fans are super loyal to us, and we haven’t heard any negative feedback on it. Also, a lot more people have heard of us since the last record, and it’s been really positive.”

Of course, for all the brighter, more uplifting soundscapes that make up the backbone of ‘Tired Of Tomorrow’, it is the underlying melancholic narrative that provides the most intriguing aspect of the album. Whereas ‘Guilty Of Everything’ was a redemptive record for Palermo, dealing directly with his imprisonment for aggravated assault and attempted murder some year’s prior, ‘Tired Of Tomorrow’ focuses on the less appetising aspects of day-to-day life. This is something that Palermo has dealt with more than most over the last twelve months. “From the title, through to the lyrics, and the overall feel of the album, it speaks for itself,” he begins to explain. “The substance is all about being sick of the redundancies that every day life brings. You see the same people, you read the same shit on the internet, and you eat the same food. There are days where nothing seems appealing anymore, and you dislike everything. That’s what the record means to me.”

Where some may write music in the hope of saving people, or giving them a degree of comfort, which ‘Tired Of Tomorrow’ will for many, Palermo has channelled his disdain into the album for no one but himself. “I don’t really think about anyone else when I’m writing,’ he admits. “I have an idea what people might get out of it musically, but for me, this is all very personal. I never think what people might take from the lyrics.”

That said, what Palermo has brought to bare on ‘Tired Of Tomorrow’ is what draws people to the band. The sadness isn’t forced, there’s no pretense, and the level of raw honesty in the lyrics is a quality rarely seen in a band. Its real, you can feel it, and you can hear it in Palermo’s voice. “People are very devout to us, which I think comes from us being a very honest band,” he says when discussing that what you see is very much what you get from Nothing. “People are willing to get tattoos and maybe even feel like they are in a relationship with us. Some bands try to be mysterious and act like they have this aura around them. They take themselves too seriously and make out they are cooler than the people that listen to them. We aren’t a band like that. These songs are coming direct from us, and I think that’s very obvious.”

As we speak to Palermo and Setta, they are just wrapping up work before heading out on a lengthy promotional cycle for ‘Tired Of Tomorrow’. They have a mammoth US tour ahead of them, but before that they kick things off in London with not one, but two shows in the nations capital. “A lot of inspiration for Nothing comes from bands in the UK,” states Palermo on the subject of celebrating the album’s release over here. “From the shoegaze stuff, through to the Britpop thing, it’s had a huge influence on us. We thought it would be cool to do an acoustic set, then a club show, party with some friends, and maybe get in a ruck.”

So with that, the future for Nothing looks much more promising that it did this time last year. For all of the negativity that has surrounded the band and the bleak nature of their music, it’s clear Palermo isn’t taking this for granted. “At the end of the day, this is everything,” he says firmly. “While there are other projects we like to work on, at a time like this I want us to put 100% into this. We have to give ourselves to this.”

‘Tired Of Tomorrow’ is released on May 13th via Relapse Records, and tickets for Nothing’s shows at Rough Trade East and Moth Club in London, are on sale now.