Special Feature: Nothing More’s Jonny Hawkins: “You get to see so much and yet so little at the same time”

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Nothing More 2017 Band Promo Photo

It was a cold, snowy night in London a few months back, and Nothing More were in town. Previously scheduled plans to meet the band had gone slightly awry due to the weather affecting transport, but rather than cancel our scheduled interview, Nothing More, ever dedicated to their jobs and their art did a very classy thing. They invited us along to join them for dinner at a very nice sushi restaurant in Camden, and while assorted dishes came and went from the table, their frontman Jonny Hawkins was eagerly and enthusiastically reporting on the current state of play for Nothing More.

Since the release of their most recent album, The Stories We Tell Ourselves, a few months prior, things have been going very well for Nothing More, culminating in multiple Grammy nominations which Hawkins admits took the band by total surprise and admitted to still being in shock about. “We got a phone call and Mark answered it. The rest of us were asleep in the van because we’d been driving all night and we could hear him getting more and more excited so we thought there might be some good news. We never expected it would be to do with the Grammy’s”.

Conversation naturally turned to the album that had got Nothing More those Grammy nominations, and in particular to the song that had seen things really blow up (in a good way) for them, Go To War, which had featured on the trailers for the third film in the Planet Of The Apes trilogy. The way that occurred was seemingly partly down to the song’s success in their American homeland, and partly down to good luck, something that Jonny was quite philosophical about. “As far as we know, the trailerhouse that were working on the trailer, they found us and I honestly think that we were starting to chart, it ended up getting to number one on the US radio charts. Because we were pushing it at radio and working it with touring, the song was gaining some presence and I think someone just typed something about war and rock music into Google and found us that way. So we helped to create the opportunity but it wasn’t a direct thing. The stars aligned.” Since then Go To War has also gone to be used by the UFC for one of their pay per view events, further raising the band’s profile with an audience who wouldn’t necessarily have heard them otherwise. “We all felt in our gut that this song was gonna do good things” smiles Jonny, but admits the track has far outperformed any expectations.

Nothing More have always been a band to do things their way, even sometimes when those around them would suggest a different path. Comparing their approach with The Stories We Tell Ourselves to their previous, self-titled album, Hawkins talked about the continuity in the band’s thinking in many ways between the two records. “The self titled record, it was a very conscious decision to not cut it down, at the time we had had suggestions to make the record shorter and to cut out some of the transitions, so we were like, you know what, everybody is doing that nowadays, let’s make it longer. We’ve always liked bands who have those life changing records that provide a deeper experience, so we figured we’d keep going in that direction and this record was along the same line”. Life changing is something the final track on The Stories We Tell Ourselves, FadeIn:FadeOut takes in a literal sense, managing to eloquently cover the subject of birth and death at the same time (“I have watched you fade in, you will watch me fade out”). Discussing both this track and another hit from the album (“Do You Really Want It”), Jonny discussed many aspects of humanity, particularly human tendencies for people not always want to put the effort in to achieve the things they want in life. With the track, he displays a large degree of self-awareness – “It was a finger pointed back at me too. I’m as human as anyone else, it’s just an observation about human tendencies. We’re never going to remove our tendencies, but the best we can do in reality is to be aware of our tendencies and work with them.”

For The Stories We Tell Ourselves, Nothing More joined the growing number of bands to try the world of crowdfunding their album. Having been through the process, we asked Jonny if it was something he thought that worked for the band and it was something he was very positive about. “It shows just how much people want to hear another record. it’s a new model for prepping the record, asking people to be a part of the process, it’s like they are shareholders in it in a sense”. When talking about the dedication of Nothing More’s fans to help bring this to a reality, Hawkins was even more enthusiastic. “I think that our fanbase is pretty deep, we’ve been widening over the years, but its always been pretty deep. Even if we don’t have as many fans as X, Y, Z, I think our fans are a lot more deeply invested and because of that each fan really wants to hear the next record and is willing to put their skin in the game to make it happen. I think it does fit with our fanbase really well”.

Nothing More are shortly due to return to the UK, both to support Stone Sour on a short run of shows, and also to make their return to the Download Festival. This was something that was due to happen twelve months earlier, but regrettably the band had to cancel their Download appearance, as well as the rest of their planned Summer 2017 European run. It’s something Jonny was quite philosophical about: “The schedule had got ahead of us. Basically, the label requested a lot of us before the tour started. We had to do a lot of music videos and a bunch of press things and appointments and so on. Long story short, we didn’t know how we’re going to be able to do all of this and rehearse for the tour because the record still wasn’t done, so, that was the nutshell of it. We were all really bummed, there was some really exciting shows that we were booked on, but this Summer *smiles*, we will try again. In terms of how things are progressing for Nothing More on this side of the pond, from Jonny’s perspective it can only be taken as a success. “Honestly every show has been either 2 or 3 or 4 times bigger in terms of the amount of people than the last time we were here” he says with a smile and a laugh. “To feel the energy…it’s really encouraging to finally come over here and see it growing because it takes a lot of energy, a lot of planning, a lot of money to make it work. But to see that, it makes all the sleepless drives and nights and all the back problems worth it”.

With our time together coming to a close, we asked Jonny where he would like Nothing More to be in twelve months time. The answer was a simple, ambitious and honest one. “In twelve months time….Oh man, I think come back and be filling thousand to 2000 cap rooms. Getting more to where the US is at, be touring with more bands that we are excited about whether it’s from the US or UK, just keep growing it. It’d be nice to be able to get to the point where we could have some of our loved ones come out with us and actually get to enjoy being tourists and take a few days off after a tour and just go see some stuff. You get to see so much and yet so little at the same time”.

Nothing More play the Zippo Encore Stage on the Friday of Download Festival 2018. Weekend and day tickets for Download 2018 are still available now. Nothing More will also support Stone Sour at the following shows:

Sun 17 Jun Manchester – O2 Apollo
Mon 18 Jun London – Camden Town Roundhouse
Tue 19 Jun Nottingham – Rock City.

Limited tickets for those shows are available now. Nothing More’s The Stories We Tell Ourselves is out now. A review of the album from Rock Sins is available to read here. Stay tuned to Rock Sins for further updates on Nothing More, including coverage of their performance at Download 2018.

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