Emerging onto the scene in 2003 as one of Metal’s unsung heroes that has remained under the radar with a mysterious element, San Antonio rockers, Nothing More, have prevailed as a beacon of consistency. Gearing up to unleash a fiery new beast over their September 15th, 2017 release of ‘The Stories We Tell Ourselves’, the band is continuing their journey with something deeper that lives beneath the surface of this record. I caught up with all of the guys to discuss bringing ‘The Stories We Tell Ourselves’ to life, the heartfelt meaning behind a special track, consistently attending to your passion, tattoos, and more.
Congrats on the upcoming release of your sixth studio album, ‘The Stories We Tell Ourselves’. Tell us about the creative and recording process behind this release.
Daniel – This album was quite a different endeavor from the ground up. The main reason being that our singer, Jonny Hawkins, didn’t touch a drum set throughout the writing and recording of this record. Jonny wrote and recorded all of the drums on the previous records with only a few exceptions. With this one Mark, Ben, and myself actually spent a good amount of time creating the musical arrangements without Jonny being in the jam room. There were a couple of family emergencies that he had to attend to for the first couple weeks of writing so we got started without him. When we were all together it was a really magical little thing happening. Jonny is quite the effects man so he had built himself a cool analog vocal rig that he would mess with as we constructed the songs. It was great having someone coming in with a fresh perspective on the music and also able to lay down some rough vocals that were always pretty sick. At the end of each day we would make rough demos of the material and comb through them the next morning over coffee. All of this was made possible by the addition of Ben Anderson on drums. We had no idea what writing with a new guy behind the drums would be like, but I think we all agree that this is the strongest that the band has ever been.
The mantra of this group has always been “divide and conquer” and that stands true to this day. In the beginning, we did everything ourselves because we couldn’t afford to pay anyone else. But now after signing a record deal, a good amount of radio success and touring the world, we still do a ton ourselves because we know how we want it done. Other than drum tracking, we primarily worked out of two studios: Jonny’s home studio at his place and Ben’s home studio at the “band house.” The vast majority of guitars, bass and vocals were done at Jonny’s place. He oversaw most of the production work for the record including programming and mixing. At the band house, we knocked out all background vocals and secondary guitar and bass work under the care of Mark and Ben. I, fortunately, have gotten to bow out of the production grunt work and I worked tirelessly in the garage building the Scorpion Tail and the catapult to lift Drumtron, Scorpion Tail, and Jonny off the ground each night on tour. We have all been firing on all cylinders for the last 18 months and it’s incredible to see all of our projects end at about the same time. We can’t wait for everyone to hear the new record and see the new show!
Your latest single release, “Go To War”, was featured in the latest trailer for War for the Planet of the Apes. What were some of your favorite Science Fiction movies growing up?
Ben – I’ve always been a big Sci-Fi fan and it all started watching Star Wars episode 4-6 back on VHS tapes. Some other favorites that followed were Jurassic Park, The Matrix, Sphere, Event Horizon, and Total Recall.
Any words of wisdom for kids who are picking up their first instruments in hopes to follow in your footsteps?
Jonny – Dedicate 30 minutes a day to working on proper technique and fundamentals, but more importantly make sure you are having fun before and after those 30 minutes with your instrument. Learning proper technique is extremely important, but having fun is even more important. If you continue to enjoy what you are doing, then that feeling of fun will evolve into love. And as more time passes, that feeling of love will transform into passion. The people in this world who are fueled by passion are like superheroes. Passion is like rocket fuel for the soul. If you have passion in you then you will end up working harder, being more creative, and communicating your feelings through music in a way that resonates with others. Attend to your passion; feed it and it will feed you.
If you could get tattooed by any tattoo artist in the world with no budget, which artist would you choose and what would you get tattooed?
Jonny – I would use an artist named Joanna Swirska and get a design on my back of two hands overlapping their fingers to form a Vesica Piscis symbol with an eye in the middle of it.
If any of our readers were visiting your hometown, San Antonio, Texas, for the first time, what are some must visit restaurants to check out?
Daniel – San Antonio is really great at two things: Tex Mex and BBQ. If you’re doing Tex Mex, you really just need to find a trashy joint and eat until your pants don’t fit. The famous ones are: Mi Tierra, La Margarita, and La Fonda. My favorite dives are: Taco House, Tito’s and Rolando’s Super Tacos. San Antonio isn’t known for BBQ quite like Austin but it’s pretty damn close. For BBQ I would go to: Two Bros, B&D Ice House and the Smoke Shak.
What track from your discography that carries deep personal meaning do you enjoy performing the most and why?
Jonny – “God Went North.” It is a song about my mother’s battle with cancer. Some people go to a lost family member’s grave stone to honor them. I instead listen to this song. To me, out of all the songs we’ve written, this is the masterpiece of my musical career and is something I will forever be proud of. It makes me cry every time I hear it, it never fails.
Photo Credit: Trevor Williams Photography
Any fellow bands and/or releases that you’re really diggin’ at the moment and want to give a shout-out to?
Mark – When we first started touring, we became really good friends with a handful of bands that we would show swap with around our Texas, Oklahoma & Louisiana region. There was such a camaraderie back then when we were all together in the trenches fighting as hard as we could to barely make enough money to put back into the gas tank, and hope we could sleep on some random fan’s floor so we wouldn’t have to sweat it out in the van. Unfortunately, a lot of those bands have broken up, but a few of them became other new bands. Big Story and To Whom It May are bands you should check out and watch. These are the guys that I am excited to see how their journey unfolds. Obviously, I care a little more about them because of our history together, but I do believe they’re tapping into something fresh and a little different that will help strengthen modern rock.
Any upcoming tour or festival appearance plans that you can fill us in about?
Mark – We’re releasing our new album ‘The Stories We Tell Ourselves’ on September 15th and we’ve planned an extensive headline tour in support of the LP. It begins early September and runs through mid-November. I can’t wait to jam these new songs live along with some sick new show elements we’ve cooked up for everyone!
We’re also psyched we were asked to be on the Riot Fest bill on our album release day (September 15)! This a festival we haven’t played before and will expose us to a different crowd of people. Aftershock, Louder Than Life, and Sonic Boom are a few other fests we’ll be playing during this tour too. Festivals are always awesome because you get to play alongside bands you wouldn’t normally ever play with, and you get to play to some huge crowds!
Photo Credit: eplixs
Last but certainly not least, any closing messages for your fans?
Daniel – We love all of our fans so dearly. When we take bands out on the road to open, they all come back with the same statement: “You guys have the most awesome fans in the world”. We are utterly thankful for all of your support over the last couple of years as we have been in the cave creating and we can’t wait to hit the road and share what we’ve done.