by Kent McIntire
– Photojournalist —
On Saturday, August 9, 2014 Nothing more performed at Dirt Fest 2014 in Birch Run, Michigan. Hardrock Haven Photojournalist Kent McIntire was on hand and hand a chance to sit down with Jonny Hawkins (Lead Vocals & Aux Drums) and Daniel Oliver (Bass & Backup Vocals) and talk about the bands history, touring and the song writing process for the band …
HRH: So I’m here Jonny and Daniel of Nothing More. Guys, thank you for taking the time. One of the things I read about you guys is that you wear your heart on your sleeves when you are performing your music and one of the things I read about was the branded arms. What’s that all about?
Jonny: Yeah. Yeah. Mine don’t look as hardcore as Daniel’s. They’ve kind of healed. I need to redo mine. When we started, we basically all got into a room together and pulled out a map and said “OK. Are we really going to do this? Are we going to tour?” Which was really this guy’s idea (pointing to Daniel). Because he convinced us all to either drop out or not go to college. This was my senior year of high school. So, we decided to take his horribly good advice and just pursue it at all costs and because of that we all decided, OK, if we’re going to bypass college and not go the traditional route in life, we really need to make sure all of us stick this through to the bitter end and we don’t quit until we are successful. So, it was basically, you know, cheaper than a lawyer and less cliché than a tattoo, so we burned the back end of a knife and put a scar for each year of touring. At the end of 3 years, we actually had 5 members in the band when we started. I forgot to mention this. One of my best friends was a guitar player, another guitar player in the band with Mark, and we had another singer in the band. I was actually on the drums then. At the end of 3 years, we parted ways with our singer and guitar player, Josh, left the band and it was just us 3. That’s the year I started doing vocals and looked for another drummer. So, we left it at 3 scars, kind of symbolically for that. The reason we choose to do the scars was also a little bit of symbolism from one of our favorite bands, Thrice, that said “…a scar is a bridge to someone’s broken heart…” Which I think is the mantra and philosophy that we follow with our songs. Everybody loves to have a good time, but it’s the hardship that when you’re there in that moment, it’s just so meaningful and impactful. That’s what music has done for us and what we hope to do for others.
HRH: Yeah! Of the bands I’ve interviewed over the years, I’ve never heard a story like that, so that’s pretty incredible. You guys are currently on tour, obviously. You guys are ramping up for Five Finger Death Punch, HELLYEAH… I mean. How crazy is that?
Jonny: Incredibly exciting!
Daniel: I mean, really! Since we left town like 10 days ago, you know. All the touring ahead of us, we’re just extremely excited about and a national headlining tour. We turned down opening tours to go on a headlining tour. We didn’t know if we were ready or not. I mean. We just started getting the big radio push in February. I don’t know. This run has been amazing to see all the people come out. And to go from this to an arena tour with this bands is … just a dream come true.
HRH: Absolutely. I was in San Francisco this past week and when I came back I was talking with Korynne setting all this stuff up and she’s like “Do you want to get with Nothing More?” I get in my car and you guys are on WRIF which is the big rock station in Detroit. I was like “YEAH! Obviously!” So, some people are saying you guys are the next big thing. How do you react to that?
Jonny: That’s cool! (laughs)
HRH: Have you heard that?
Jonny: From some people. You know it’s a weird thing when you hear people talk about yourself or your own career because we don’t like to talk about ourselves a whole lot. It comes across as funny, egotistical, and arrogant. But to be 100% honest, when we started this thing as punk kids in high school, that was our goal, to be the biggest band in the world. There were no apologies about that vision and so we have not changed since then as far as our goals. So, when we hear that it really … it just excites us and reinforces what we set out to do.
HRH: What’s next?
Jonny: (chuckle) A LOT of touring!
HRH: Are you guys recording while you are touring or just focusing on touring … ?
Jonny: Just focusing on touring right now. We really don’t have any time because we’re so new to a lot of people, we’re spending all of our … like any space in time between playing and setting up equipment to doing interviews, meeting people, doing radio things, and… there’s not a whole lot of room for recording. But, we are … it’s looking like we’re doing this arena tour and it looks like we might be going back to Europe. It looks like we might be hitting Australia for the first time. Trying to even open up the door in Japan. So, we’ve got a lot of international stuff on the horizon. And then of course a little bit further after that, we’ll start working on the next record. Which, I’m already wanting to get to that stage. I just love that part of it.
HRH: So, are you constantly writing even when you are on the road or do you wait to settle down for the tour? How does that process work for you guys?
Daniel: Everybody kind of does their own individual writing. You know… Really we haven’t… we all write together and we all share everything. Nobody goes and writes a complete song on their own. So, most of it’s done not on the road just because it’s more difficult. I mean, we’re still a really lean operation. Like, we’re driving ourselves to the shows and … Like Jonny was saying. It’s really hard to find time to do anything because it’s … either you’re driving or you’re moving … you know… or your sleeping.
Jonny: Trying not to get sick! When we upgrade to a tour bus at some point and we can all agree that it makes financial sense to have a full time driver. Those things start opening up space for you to actually start creating. So, it’s been pretty difficult lately.
HRH: I’ll tell you. You guys are getting a lot of buzz around the publicity circle and to hear you on WRIF was fantastic.
Jonny: OH COOL!
HRH: Best of luck. Again, thank you for taking the time to talk with us. Be safe on the road!
Jonny: Thank you so much!
Visit the band online: http://www.nothingmore.net/