DoubleView ofNothing More
at Rocklahoma 2014
NM is different from your average rock band; they experiment in electronic enhancers while still sticking to their hardcore roots. Their musicianship is evident from the first note you hear and it is clear that the committed quartet values true musicality over simple, headbanging noise that some bands play.
When I talk about NM’s musicality, I am thinking of layers. Layers upon layers of sounds. Different rhythms and chords all interwoven. Sure there is the classic bass line with drums to complement it, lead guitar, and vocals. But there is always something else underneath: an electronic beat or an underlying accent on certain beats. Really, what I am saying is that Nothing More’s music is interesting.
“So, when we constructed this record, we really built it in layers. It’s a record that, if you’re…someone who just likes the melody and you just like the chorus of the song, you can listen to this record just like that and be perfectly happy. But, if you’re someone who likes to dig a little bit deeper and find the meaning behind the lyrics and double meanings and words that pivot off each other and form different interpretations, then this record is for you. It’s got that element, too. We try to make it fulfill both qualities.
“[But], we don’t have a goal—and I think I can speak for all of us when I say this—we don’t want them to think any one thing. We just want them to think. Think and feel. We want them to leave changed, whatever that means.”
Bassist Daniel Oliver adds in with his own view on the album, “I think another really neat thing about this record is that all four of us in the band are writers, and this records is about…very real things that happened to us over the period we wrote it. It was a very difficult couple of years for the band and for all of us as individuals…It’s cool writing because we all connect with each others’ experiences and in some way can relate; to be able to pull all that together to create this unified story is a cool experience and it’ll be a cool album at the end of the day.”
“We have this cool dynamic…when we’re writing,” says Oliver. “It’s like no one person ever just writes a song completely. Like, it’s extremely rare that that happens.
“Someone comes up with an idea and someone else…adds to it and it’s like a perpetual motion machine where you say something…and it suddenly sparks this idea [so] we chase all these trails and refine and refine and refine till all four of us are happy with the message and with the music and with the melody.”
Hawkins adds in, “I think the biggest learning experience we’ve had through it all is that the best songs that we’ve written have usually come out of the times when we…put our egos down and we really were kind of more pure at heart in a sense that we didn’t mind if our idea got shot down because it wasn’t about our idea, it was about this thing that we were all creating together. It’s in that moment where I think everybody kind of aligns and the creative flow just starts happening faster and faster and it gets more powerful. It really is a game of trying to lay down your ego and just be open-minded.”
“I hope this is encouraging to anyone out there who is listening to this who may be looking for band members for their own thing or looking for Mrs. Right or Mr. Right just in relational sense…I think all the winding roads we went down before we found the final four of us, they shaped us in these ways that prepared us and created who we are…We wouldn’t have been that without going down those roads and going through those experiences. Of course we all wish we could have found each other, found that perfect lineup much earlier, but I’m glad that we didn’t because we wouldn’t be who we are today, which we are very happy with.”
Nothing comes easily, and Nothing More sure as heck didn’t come easily. “I was the last to join the band before the drummer and this band has just been so hardcore that people will come in and adopt it, but they would fall away,” comments Oliver. “It’s been a cool ride. Like [Hawkins] said, it’s been hard and f**king amazing and it’s shaped us all…It’s an experience you can’t buy.”
Hawkins throws his whole body and mind into the show. He sweats intensely and stamps around the stage. As he moves, you can see every muscle in his body tense up with energy and love of music. He performs barefoot, and stands and stamps on the eccentric duo of drums at the front of the stage, using it as a platform while temporarily joining the rhythm section.
At one point during their set, Oliver, Hawkins, and Vollelunga dropped their instruments/microphone and picked up drumsticks. Each departed to a separate part of the stage where a drum was set up and booming began to echo across the massive field. Energy buzzed in and whizzed through the air like electricity and shivers crawled down everyone’s spines.
Earlier in the show, a protruding platform of sorts was set up next to the microphone stand and Mark Vollelunga’s guitar was attached to it. The entire contraption including the guitar was pushed so it began to spin in circles; somehow Vollelunga continued to play the guitar despite the motion.
Charismatic and extremely fun, the crowd (and I) had a blast during NM’s set and I was sad to see them walk off the stage.
Nothing More is an AMAZING band. Be sure to buy their album as soon as it comes out!
Zoe Adler is a music journalist from Long Beach, California. Besides her website, which is her pride and joy, she works with the GRAMMY Foundation and the Long Beach Independent. Additionally, Ms. Adler is a musician, spending half of her time playing the flute, piccolo, trombone, and marching baritone. She has been with TeenView Music since the very start and hopes to make something of it in the future.