Having built a grassroots following before inking a deal, Texan hard rockers Nothing More are on the verge of major things. Vocalist Jonny Hawkins tells about not taking the conventional path. By Brendan Crabb.
Fresh from creating a self-titled debut LP which has attained a litany of glowing endorsements from critics, high-profile musicians and assorted industry types, Nothing More frontman Jonny Hawkins humbly, but firmly believes their time has arrived.
“Not only does it feel different, just from the people’s faces in the audience to fans that we meet, but also the data and everything online… It’s this surreal thing where we’ve worked so hard for so long, just to garner the attention of just a few people. And now it’s
“It was a struggle to fInIsh the project, pay our bIlls and really just lIve.” jonny hawkIns
like, we’re seeing all these things pop up all over the country and across the world, where people are getting interested in what we’re doing. It’s pretty amazing.”
The hook-laden Texan progressive/heavy rockers recently issued their strikingly assured platter via Eleven Seven (a division of Sony), but had the luxury of completing it prior to signing on the dotted line for a guaranteed five-album contract. Eschewing hindrances like label execs constantly popping their heads into the studio to offer two cents’ worth, Nothing More raised about $15,000 via Kickstarter to help fund the project.
The singer says certain songs were inspired by relationship breakdowns, as well as relatives grappling with cancer, bipolar disorder and drug addiction.
“The whole record was kind of a healing process, and also a way to give purpose to a lot of things that seemed purposeless at the time,” he recalls. “We moved into a house together, and my room was the control room, Daniel [Oliver, bass], his room was like the amp room. We had the dining room downstairs which was our rehearsal room. We really just lived and breathed everything we were writing for about two, two-and-ahalf years. We had a lot of life experience accumulated, so we had a lot of songs.
“We just decided to say, ‘You know what? Fuck it, we’re not on a label, we don’t have anybody pressuring us’. So we just did it exactly how we wanted to do it. In hindsight, we feel fortunate that we had it that way, but at the time, honestly, we were wishing each step of the way that we had a label or somebody backing us financially, because it was a struggle to finish the project, pay our bills and really just live. Because if you’re not an established artist, the only way you make money is going out and playing shows, and the only way to finish the record is to not be out playing shows and at home in the studio. So it was a struggle… But it really opened us up to experiment.”
The sacrifices are paying dividends. They’ll support Five Finger Death Punch and Volbeat overseas, and play prestigious festivals such as Download. To paraphrase a Victorian sporting commentator, it’s all happening for Nothing More.
“What led us here was just following our hearts and doing what we felt was the right thing to do, regardless of the path that was presented to us. I can honestly look back and say that we’re incredibly happy that we did, that we listened to our guts and hearts, and followed our dreams, rather than going the traditional route. If anyone’s out there reading this at the same crossroads we were, I hope that we’re just an example that it can work, even if you’re not on a label at first, or people tell you that you can’t do it. I hope it’s some kind of encouragement that it’s happening for us.”