Q&A With Nothing More’s Jonny Hawkins

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As a quick introduction to anyone who isn’t familiar with you, how would you describe Nothing More’s sound?

Good question. I would say, that’s the hardest question to answer even though it’s straightforward. It’s like asking what the color of happiness is. I guess I would say passion and progressive thinking. Look at bands like Pink Floyd and Tool and they are so different but progressive. When I use the word ‘progressive’ it is more about the thought behind the music rather than just the genre itself. We like to put a lot of layers into things. A friend of mine calls it “thinking man’s rock”.  It’s targeted towards those who like to dig deep with their music. It’s multi-tiered progressive, loosely in the rock genre. The sound can appeal to different people on so many different levels – casual listeners and serious thinkers alike.

We understand the last few months have been a pretty eventful time for you, particularly with appearing at events like SXSW – was that beneficial for you?

It’s hard to know what comes from SXSW. It’s very big and unpredictable. You meet so many people from all over the world. This year it was more diverse than it’s ever been. The international people basically paved the way for us to go to Europe, so I’d say ‘yes’ it was really beneficial for us.

Your video for your current single This Is The Time (Ballast) has a very interesting concept and theme to it, was that something you guys came up with yourselves?

Yes. We chose the concept of water and the feeling of drowning because a lot of the record’s songs are specific stories about situations in our lives that were pulling us down.  The “This Is the Time (Ballast)”   video is based upon this Alan Watts quote – “Faith is a state of openness or trust. To have faith is like when you trust yourself to the water. You don’t grab hold of the water when you swim, because if you do you will become stiff and tight in the water, and sink. You have to relax, and the attitude of faith is the very opposite of clinging, and holding on.”

It is about when you are dealing with everything from hardship and death to loved ones with mental disorders and drug addiction. It focuses on what it felt like to go through these hardships and get through to the other side. We had to let go and float to survive both emotionally and physically, rather than letting it all drag us down.

Your album comes out next month, what can we expect from it?

Each song is its own story but together they become something bigger – technically it’s a concept album, but one that is more subtle.  The over-arching concept of the record is the water-to-fire transition.  The reason we chose to do it like that was from what we learned growing up in Church – the metaphors are often biblically influenced.  Water baptism and fire baptism…  Baptism by water is a moment where there is a paradigm shift that sets you off in a new direction on your journey.  Baptism by fire is the trials that one goes through on the journey – how you get past the obstacles in your path.  The heat that we felt during our journey is reflected by the aggression in the music.

Probably a stupid question but are you looking forward to playing Download?

Most definitely YES!!!!!

Are you playing other shows in Europe on the same trip or just coming over to play Download?

Yes. We are playing Rock Im Park, Rock Am Ring in Germany, and a show in Antwerp with Karnivool and Chevelle. We’re excited for the crushing lineups! We’re also playing in Paris, France at Noveau Casino.  I am sure other things will be added.  We are really looking forward to it all.

In the last day or so you’ve announced a huge US tour with Five Finger Death Punch and Volbeat, that’s quite a tour to be a part of, how did that come about?

Well, there wasn’t one specific reason that I can pinpoint. I can tell you how I found out though – I was at Welcome to Rockville (a US festival) in Florida, hanging out in the artist lounge meeting people. All of the sudden Ivan from Five Finger Death Punch asked me if I wanted a drink. That was really cool.  We were talking and he was telling me how much he enjoyed Nothing More. I told him I really enjoyed Five Finger Death Punch. Then he says, “don’t tell anyone, but I think we’re going to get Nothing More on the Five Finger Death Punch and Volbeat tour.” I was so excited – I obviously took another drink. It was surreal!

Do you have anything else in the diary in terms of tours or shows in the UK or Europe for later in the year (perhaps after the FFDP tour)?

We’re trying our hardest to make something happen, but nothing is set as of yet.

We understand that you’re quite an eco-friendly band and that your tour van runs on bio fuel rather than petrol, is being ecologically friendly something that’s important to you as a band or was this just an opportunity to be resourceful?

Right now we’re not running on vegetable oil. We actually just got a new tour bus. Our last van we drove for three years with vegetable oil was a win-win! Not only was it resourceful and cheaper for us, but it was better for the environment as well. We’re hoping that our new bus will eventually run on vegetable oil – it just takes time and money to convert and we are pretty busy these days. As for the new bus – sleeping on couches is much better than bucket seats. It’s a whole new world to get more than four hours of sleep!

Lastly, is there anything you’d like to say to our readers? You can do anything from plug yourselves and your album to giving us a music recommendation (that isn’t yourselves).

For a music recommendation… Well, I’ve been listening to 12-foot Ninja and delving back into The Dillinger Escape Plan’s catalog. Oh, and our record comes out June 23!!!

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