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This is their time: Interview with Jonny Hawkins of Nothing More

Nothing More opening for Chevelle at The Fillmore in Charlotte
Nothing More opening for Chevelle at The Fillmore in CharlottePatricia Jones

In the world of rock and metal there is always a new face, a new sound, or a new gimmick right around the corner waiting for any attention or trend onto which they can cling. After Slipknot and ICP everyone wanted to wear masks or be clowns, after Ozzy’s batty brunch PETA had their hands full with ritualistic animal slaughter both real and implied, so it’s easy for bands to take an idea and get carried away, and it’s easy for the public to just stand and watch in awe. Sadly these are not things that make a band talented, unique or worthy of our time, but true ingenuity, creativity and soul should determine and define an artist. One band making sure that we know them from the rest by exhibiting just such qualities is Nothing More from San Antonio, TX.

The road less travelled is often the one with the best vantage point...
The road less travelled is often the one with the best vantage point...Patricia Jones

These guys are adding a new dynamic to the rock world in form of a lively stage show full of percussive tricks, twists and slips that establishes a new standard of talent and dexterity in the rock world and mentally turns it on its head in the process. Without giving away too much, I will say that you won’t want to miss the bass spins, the auxiliary drums and the collective playing that shows the unity and precision these Texans have concentrated into their performance. After their stellar performance which likely garnered them a brand new fandom, I caught up with vocalist Jonny Hawkins to talk about their upcoming album, origins, influences and much more.

For those that may not be familiar with you, how would you describe your sound using only three words?
JH:
Hmmm, three words…Intensity, passion and I think the third one would be a math symbol of some sort. (laughs) I don’t know why, just a curveball.

In your bio you guys state that you ‘want to be a church for people who don’t believe what churches believe.’ Can you elaborate on that?
JH:
Yeah, we all grew up in the church and the good, the bad and the ugly of that experience like anything that you grow up in. As time went on, we kind of felt like there was this “one size fits all” feeling in America…I’ve experienced first hand the sense of community that comes from a church, the support. For example, when my mom had cancer I don’t know what we would have done if we hadn’t been connected to a church because there were so many people that stepped up to the plate, literally helped our family, and made dinners and supported us through that whole process. But there’s almost this deal where you have to pledge your allegiance to this belief system…We want to be a place for people who believe whatever they believe. It’s not about beliefs as much as it’s about coming together and knowing that we’re all human beings and we’ve all had different paths…

“You gotta mix it up. You gotta reach out side to film directors and painters and philosophers, all those things can cross pollinate your creativity.”- Hawkins on the importance of non-musical influences

I really dig that a lot of your noted influences aren’t so much musical as they are very intellectual and cerebral people. What is it about these people that inspire you?
JH:
I’ve known thousands of musicians who are al friends of mine or were in the past and there are so many talented people out there. Honestly, I don’t think our level of talent is what has gotten to where we’re at now as much as the things we’ve gained from people you mentioned- Eckhart Tolle, Carl Jung, some of the morals learned from Jesus. Those are the people’s thoughts that, at some kind of core level in who we are, have allowed us to weather and persevere through all these hardships that would have broken us up as a band as we’ve seen with people more talented than us break apart. The music can only get you so far when life gets really tough and real.

Going back to musical influences, what the first concert attended?
JH:
I think my first concert was Petra and Grammatrain because at the time, like I said earlier, I grew up in the church and my parents only let me listen to Christian music. I wasn’t allowed to listen to a lot of good music. There are some good Christian bands, but most of it’s not very good. (chuckles) We went to the show and it was Petra, who were like this 80s hard rock, almost a ‘hair’ band kind of sound. Then, there was a band called Grammatrain which was a little more like Seattle grunge kind of stuff. That was the day I will always remember that I decided that I wanted to do what I’m doing now. I was like seven years old, and I just remember seeing the drummer and pointing at him and looking up at my dad and having chills. As a seven year old, I remember feeling that and being like ‘I wanna do that.’

What can we expect from the new album?
JH:
The record’s going to be self-titled. It really felt like the first record that all the pieces of the puzzle came together. Paul (drums) was on this record and he was like the final missing piece so that’s why it’s self titled even though it’s not our first record because we feel like it’s just Nothing More, it represents who we are. It’s a thick record. We had about three, maybe even over three years of experience, and even maybe more than that in life experiences, that got poured into the record. It was a lot of struggle and it was just a hard time. So unfortunately, the sad truth, but kind of silver lining to it all is that sometimes you get the best music or art or expression out of those situations, and I think that we got a lot out of those situations. So we’re very proud of it because it’s representative of a lot of sh*t that we went through and it was a healing process for us to finish each one of those songs.

These progressive alt rockers are hitting the road in a major way this Summer leading up to the release of their self titled album including day two of Carolina Rebellion, Rock On The Range, and various dates with Killswitch Engage and Battlecross. Look for Nothing More’s self titled album to hit stores June 24 and catch them on one the many tour and festival dates they have coming up to see the spectacular stage show that exudes energy, passion and definitely separates Nothing More from their peers in both an aurally stunning and aesthetically pleasing way. Having already secured a place with Eleven Seven Music (home of Motley Crue, Papa Roach and Five Finger Death Punch) earlier this year Nothing More is already on the right track to blow minds in 2014 and you don’t want to miss their ascent to world domination.

Check out the video for their latest single “This Is The Time (Ballast)”!