by Deb Rao
– Senior Columnist –
Hardrock Haven is always looking for that break out band. This time around Nothing More based out of San Antonio has captured our attention. Nothing More has earned the opening slot on the upcoming tour with Five Finger Death Punch, Volbeat, and Hellyeah this Fall. The band is gearing up for their self-titled release on June 24 via Eleven Seven Music. Nothing More is a cross between Pantera meets System Of A Down. They are huge on lyrics and heart pounding guitar riffs. The music speaks from the heart.
Singer Jonny Hawkins checked in with Hardrock Haven to discuss the upcoming release.
HRH: Jonny, welcome to Hardrock Haven. Tell us about the writing process for the new Nothing More release.
Jonny: We have been working on it for two to three years. It was one we really took a slow cooking approach to. We had about 50 song ideas that we started off with. We narrowed them down to twenty. Then to 17 which is still a pretty long record. We just couldn’t let go of any of them. We are just really proud of it. It was a huge healing process for us because that whole record was written during a dark spell in our lives. It is something we are really proud of.
HRH: What I noticed is that there is no filler tracks on the album. Would you say that the album has a religious overtone to it like on the opening track “Christ Copyright?”
Jonny: Yes, it has a religious, political tone I would say. It was written about dogma. It doesn’t mean that people who are religious or in politics are bad. It is just talking about how a lot of us can be fooled by a lot of people who very well spoken or charismatic on television. They tell us their version of what is going on. It is like with the media if enough people tell us something it is just very natural for us to believe it. Regardless whether it is true or not. When in reality it is a little bit more complicated than that. It may not be true. People behind whatever the message is have incentives. They are kind of invested in that message getting out. At the heart of it, we almost called it “Selling Heaven” when we first wrote it. That ended up being a line in the song. It is kind of like that idea when you look back in the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church would sell these kind of incentives to get into heaven. At the time, it was kind of like a tax on the ignorant. Nowadays, I think the same thing is happening but it is just much more complicated. So that is kind of what that one is about.
HRH: The album is well balanced. You also have a ballad on the album “I’ll Be OK.” Tell us about that song?
Jonny: That one was written out a lot of heartbreak. For me personally, I had a five and half year relationship that fell to pieces. It had very poor timing. A lot of other stuff was going on with the band. The other guys also had some relationships that ended up crashing and burning. That one was written out of that respect. A lot of the emotion and the hurt got vented out in that one. It is like anything in life, you have a turning point. You didn’t really decide it was just laid before you. You start moving forward but you don’t know if it is going to be all right. That song is kind of reinsurance for people that it will be ok. You just have to keep moving forward.
HRH: Another song that I thought was interesting is “Mr. MTV.” Back in the day, MTV played a major role in launching bands. Today a lot of the bands depend on the Internet. Is that what that song is about?
Jonny: You are right. A lot of things shifted to the Internet. The media like MP3, and digital changes all the time. But I think that the central message that we focused on wasn’t so much the change but what MTV changed into. They are a great example of one company that does things that make financial sense but really no substance. Which is unfortunate for a network like that. They used to play videos and have such great things playing on.
HRH: The strongest song is “Here’s To The Heartache.” Tell us about that song.
Jonny: That is cool that you like that one. That one started being written in from an interesting place. Our bass player Daniel, he had a girlfriend throughout high school and college. Kind of like a high school sweetheart. They had been together for many years. That whole relationship kind of ending up kind of coming to a halt. It was at the time where I was talking about “I’ll Be OK.” A lot of us went through heartbreaks. There was time period where he didn’t know what was going on with her anymore. They kind of parted ways. He had these dreams about her where there were all these details. Where later on they were actually true. It was like where she was living, and what she was doing. All the dream details made it eerie. So we started talking about this whole experience where he brought it up. We started writing songs from that starting point. It really involved in this kind of nostalgia. It is about looking back at where you came from. At one time, what you thought would be the end of the world; you look back and see the fruit that it bears in life. And you keep moving forward like I was talking about earlier. Now the band can see how many great new things are happening. You have to go through a lot of dark times to get through the other side of the tunnel.
HRH: Right. Tell us about the history of the band. How long have you been together?
Jonny: I actually met the guitar player and bass player Dan and Mark when I was in seventh grade. They were a little bit older than me. We started playing different projects ever since then; we joined forces together and made one band later on in High School. As time went on, there were many different singers that I had. I was actually the drummer in the beginning. It wasn’t until 2008 that the band went through this very big pruning process where our second guitar player left the band. And we parted ways with our singer at that time. The most important thing for a band in our genre was to have a singer. We didn’t know what to do so that is when I decided to start singing. We decided we could find a drummer to play live. The rest is history. Now we found our drummer Paul three years ago. It has been a complete unit ever since.
HRH: As you mentioned some big things are going to be happening this year. You are going to be going on tour with Five Finger Death Punch. Are you excited? You are going to be launching your metal to the masses on this tour!
Jonny: Yes. I don’t know how long are set is going to be at this point. As we get closer to the tour, I am sure I will find out. I do know every night we are going to be as ferocious as we possibly can. We are going to throw everything at the audience that we possibly can. We do a three man bass solo. The bass guitar ends up being attached to this metal device that we pull a lever on and it spins around. We all jump on the drums and we are all playing the bass at one time. We do these big drum sections in the middle of songs. We all get on drums. Those are some of the things that the people can see at the live show that they won’t get on the record. Whenever you are on a tour with so many bands, the opening band usually gets a shorter set. And with such a heavy bill, we are going to be doing all heavy songs.
HRH: Are you making a music video for the new single?
Jonny: Yes, we made a music video for this is the time. That is out right now. It is on YouTube.
HRH: Awesome, we will see you later this Fall in Las Vegas in October at The Joint
Visit the band online: www.facebook.com/nothingmore