When describing an up-and-coming rock band, the easiest thing to do is compare them directly to their predecessors. There are plenty of bands that sound like Shinedown, have a “Nine Inch Nails vibe,” or remind you of Avenged Sevenfold. What is virtually non-existent are bands whose sound you can’t exactly put your finger on.
Nothing More is one of those bands.
The Texas-based alternative rock band has been perking the ears of concertgoers who showed up early enough to catch them open for Adrenaline Mob, Sevendust, Buckcherry, or 10 Years, but Nothing More got everyone’s attention earlier this month at Monster Energy’s Aftershock Festival in Sacramento, CA. The alt-rockers, who opened Aftershock on the tucked away Ernie Ball side stage, were the only artists of the weekend asked to play again on Day 2 — this time on the main stage.
Now, festival main stages are reserved for headliners. Big name acts who draw big crowds and who have the sound and presence to garner the attention of ten thousand fans. Fans and even some artists thought Nothing More had no business being on that main stage…until they saw the set.
I hate the expression, “You have to see it to believe it,” but Nothing More is one of those bands. Their live show is some sort of twisted, rock ‘n roll adaptation of Blue Man Group — if Blue Man Group ever opened for Rage Against the Machine.
Aside from an addictive new album, the live show is what puts this band over the edge.
I pulled Nothing More aside right after getting the big news at Aftershock to ask them exactly how they describe their music and how they conceived of the live show that has the rock world wondering where these guys came from.
Going back to the beginning, tell me the story of Nothing More…
Oh man, it’s a long story with a lot of twists and turns. It’s very difficult to nut-shell, but I’ll do my best.
Basically I met Mark, our guitar player, in seventh grade. We met at a church camp [laughs], and he was playing in one of the dorm rooms. I walked by and was like, “Hey, you’re pretty good. Wanna jam?” We’ve been playing together every since, and then Daniel, I knew through other projects and playing at church. He ended up joining the band towards the end of high school, and ever since then, we’ve been touring.
I was the drummer for about eight years, maybe longer. Then in 2008, I decided to start singing because we went through a bunch of different singers. Mark and Dan and I were always the core of the band, so I started singing. We had some fill-in drummers, then we landed with Paul, who was from New Orleans. He was from another band called Pandemic, who were like our brothers, but unfortunately ended up breaking up. He was a free agent, so we decided to sweep him up — he’s been a perfect fit ever since.
Is that where this crazy drum concept came into play, you being a drummer? It’s like nothing I have ever seen before. In the best way you can, describe how you came up with this percussion section in the live show.
Most of that came from when I started singing. It opened up the ability to do more with drums. Ya know, I’m a drummer first. I don’t even consider myself a singer as much as I do a drummer. It’s where my heart is at. So now that we had two drummers in the band, we were like, “Okay, what can we do with this?”
I was in drum line in high school, and we always did more show pieces and more visual-based elements that were more fun to watch. There was a lot of hand motions and synchronized movements, so you take that influence of the drum line and having two drummers in the band, and Mark and Dan (bass and guitar) both having great rhythm. You add all that together, and you have an open door to do something creative with it. We just ran with it, and like you said, came up with this tribal Blue Man Group kind of rock band [laughs].
You really have to see a live show to understand it, I guess.
You guys toe the line between a few different genres. You’re not active rock, and I know you’re not trying to go that route. You’re a little bit alternative, a little heavy… How do you describe your style, if it does fall into a genre?
That’s a good question. We all have a pretty heavy rock background, but at the same time, we’re all very varied in our influences. We listen to a lot of stuff, and a lot of it is outside the rock genre. What we’re hoping to do is create music that reaches far outside of the rock world.
There definitely are your anthem, hit-selling rock bands out there, but a lot of rock is based around pure energy and intensity. That’s our backbone, but on top of that, we want to write songs that reach past that. I don’t know. I’m always bad at answering that question [laughs].
Let’s talk about your album. Who did you write with (if anyone), and how did it come together?
This album we opened ourselves to writing with this guy named Scott Stevens and a guy named Pace Estrada. Pace was in a band called SouthFM back in the day, and he’s just one of the diamond-in-the-roughs that a lot of people don’t know about. He’s just a beautifully talented person that unfortunately hasn’t really seen the light of day on that level. We teamed up with him because he was kind of like that fifth member of the band.
We also teamed up with Scott Stevens, who is the lead singer of the Exies. He was in LA, so we flew out there and spent some weeks just chillin’ with him. We wrote two songs with him, and he gave us a lot of feedback on other songs.
Other than that, once the songs were all hashed out, we did all the mixing, recording, and production work in house. We did it all in my home studio. We had a band house we were all living in. My room was the monitoring room, Dan’s room down the hall was like the amp room, and Paul’s was the work room. We just had cables running under our doors to each others rooms. We basically lived and breathed it for two years, and that’s how we made it.
Find upcoming tour dates and more information on Nothing More by visiting the band’s web site.