Nothing More sits down with UnRated Magazine Prior to Earth Shaking Performance at House of Blues
House of Blues, Chicago, Illinois on February 3, 2015
After being forced to cancel their Minneapolis show due to icy road conditions on their way to east from Denver, luckily, the band Nothing More was able to make their scheduled performance at Chicago's House of Blues on February 3rd. But, before the band took stage, guitarist, Mark Vollelunga sat down with me to talk about past, present, and future of his band, Nothing More. I started our conversation with my own experience, catching their show when they opened for Chevelle in Peoria, Illinois just a couple of months earlier and how my face was blown off once they took the stage. Seriously, there is ZERO messing around with this band, as when they take the stage, the show begins within the very first millisecond of the very first song.
Jenafur Schlangen: How would you tell someone what to expect if they are coming to a Nothing More show for the first time?
Mark Vollelunga: At a Nothing More show, it's a SHOW. Really from start to finish, we have always been under the impression that if people don't know our songs, we have to make sure that they enjoy the show. So, we push ourselves musically and physically to try and challenge each other to do things people have never done before. So, you will see crazy things like a spinning bass guitar or [even] toms (drums) flying through the air. It is sort of a "circus" yes, but through the years, we've managed to incorporate those things with the mood and the vibe of our music so it isn't just a gimmick and is still awesome...and with good songs too. We definitely put all of our heart and soul into all those songs, into every lyric, into every chord change, etc.
JS: When do you think the whole "entertainment" aspect of live music ended, because [to me], it certainly has seemed to die over the years, don't you think? So, in that, what made you realize, this is what's missing and this is what we need to bring?
MV: I think a lot of that has to do with us personally. We see bands that we love and if they only play their songs or if their songs are just okay, or they're just not feeling it, or even seem like they're feeling it. It's a disappointment, unfortunately. It's like, 'I can go home and listen to the CD and that was better than being at the show.' Sometimes that's sad, but that's what happens. So, we wanted to challenge ourselves to do something different, to make it a show. That's why people pay money. Let's give it to them.
JS: What is the most prominent message you think Nothing More is trying put out there via your lyrics?
MV: HONESTY and what it encompasses....as beautiful and as ugly as that may be. Really, as artists, we're here to absorb the beauty and the destruction of what's going on and tell the world about it. And so, that's what we're trying to do with our lyrics and our music. We're sponges and all of the music we've listened to that's changed our lives...all the good stuff. We're trying to soak that up, put our twist on it, and regurgitate it, if you will....to keep progress going. The world is always changing but there's still love out there and we definitely want to spread that to the best that we can.
JS: Do you guys have more theatrical ideas ready to roll out in the near future?
MV: ALWAYS. We have to keep outdoing ourselves and I'm very excited about the next round of things. Come April or May, we will definitely have some new tricks.
After our conversation, the live show that followed was in line with what I had seen before but with even more energy, if that is even possible. Their biggest single, "This is the Time (Ballast)" was expected by me to the be the biggest crowd pleaser but it seemed as though "Salem (Burn the Witch)" might now be taking the lead in terms of fanfare. All and all, a great show and a cool conversation within the warm walls of the House of Blues in the windy city.
Nothing More begins a lengthy overseas tour, beginning in Japan on February 18th and will not return to the States until April 24th, when they will be in Tampa, Florida. More tour dates will be forthcoming, count on it.
Interview by Jenafur Schlangen February 3, 2015.