INTERVIEW: Touring, Spirits Era, Upcoming Projects, And More With Nothing More’s Mark Vollelunga
Nothing More is currently touring the world, they just finished their Europe tour and are now on a tour through America. Later this year they still have an Australia tour with Dance Gavin Dance. We got to sit down with guitarist Mark Vollelunga during their Europe tour and we got to talk about touring, the Spirits era, the future of Nothing More, and more!
How are you?
It’s a little hotter than normal, but I’m from Texas, so this is nothing. This is beautiful.
How’s the summer run been so far? Any particular shows or countries you are looking forward to?
Oh yeah, absolutely. Shows have been really great. I was happy to get back to Poland do the Mystic Fest up there. And Nova Rock was cool, in Austria the first time doing a festival there. And first time doing a festival in Czehia which was great too. Rock for People, I got to see Muse and they’re just stupid good, amazing. Which was sick. Other festivals we got Hell Fest coming up. That’s gonna be a killer. Really, really pumped about that. Graspop too. That’s good. We’ll do a festival in Bologna too and a Switzerland festival. So still quite a few left. I’m excited for every single one.
Johnny wears this beautiful paint on his chest During shows. Where does it originate from and does it have any meaning behind it?
I can’t totally answer that question for him, although I will say his mom was an artist. I think he gets some of that from her and there’s no plan originally going into it. Whenever he just kind of starts putting it on himself and just kind of does what he is feeling and makes it to something neat.
Semi-recently, you’ve released Best Times with Lacey Sturm. Can you tell us some about how that collab came to be?
We’ve all been huge Flyleaf fans from back in the day. They’re also a Texas band. And Lacey’s one of those singers. That to me has always been honest and you don’t have to necessarily agree with anything that’s being said, but I just totally believe her from how she sings.
She’s just so passionate and that transcends live too. So when we heard that it was a possibility, cuz we were just kind of naming people on the list and it’s like, that’d be sweet if Lacey could sing on this. And then she was into it. It was hard to me to think, could that song get any better? And she totally took it to 11. And you can hear that passion in her voice.
I also did the spirits test in your website. My result was Tru. Did you also do the test?
Absolutely. Yeah. That’s very cool. Johnny was tru as well. I’m a fuse.
How did that whole website come to be?
Honestly, it had been something that Johnny had been working on for the past few years, he approached us and he was like like: Hey, what do you guys think about this?
We were like, that’s neat, but how does this tie into what the band’s doing at all? And then it wasn’t until we were like, hold on, maybe we can kind of do this whole album artwork makeover and tie it in through that. So that’s how it came to be. And then each spirit type was the word to give everything to make it cohesive and kind of converge all at the same time.
You have a graphic novel that’s, called Spirits vol. 1.
Yeah. We’ve been selling ’em in the States. I don’t think we have any tangible copies over here with us now. There might be some in London. I was a big part of that and taking a lot of this stuff and making it into story form. And just kind of having these four separate stories sort of come together, how you don’t think they’re connected, but then they are connected much like, let’s say you’re a Tru and I’m a Fuse, we may differ on how we see the world in these certain ways, but at the end of the day, we all kind of need each other and we need those differences to form new things and good bonds. If we’re all the same it would suck.
Last month you did a fundraiser for a mental health health awareness month. How much did you manage to raise if you wanna be open about that? And did the winner get to spend their extreme afternoon with you guys yet? Or is that something for after tour?
Right. We haven’t done the extreme hangout yet. So that is to come, that’ll probably be in September. We’re going to announce our headline tour in the States (already happened). It’s like a short three, four week run, but we’ll probably do it then. And we’re always excited for opportunities to, you know, raise awareness, and raise money for charitable organizations, especially when they’re attached to mental health stuff too.
I know we’ve been working with To Write Love On Her Arms for a long time. And the Jed Foundation and organizations like that. Really just getting people to talk about it, have it not be so taboo. I don’t know the exact number but I do know that it’s good.
You mentioned on Instagram that you couldn’t wait for to make a new album after your last album Spirits. And that you guys already started on a new album. How far along is that now?
Actually we know we hope to release a song in the next few months. All the songs are there. A few of ’em are a lot further along than others. But hopefully we plan to finish all the tracks by the end of the year. A lot of touring in tandem with that. So we’re doing our best to schedule recording sessions and whatnot. This is the first album in a long time, actually in like 15 years or so that we haven’t self-produced. So this’ll be with a producer, Drew Faulk, and we are super psyched to have him aboard. He’s a great mediator and brings a lot of great ideas to the table. Mainly it’s just through Covid and that process of self producing while we all lived in different places was very frustrating and difficult and it took forever.
So if we can be better about ourselves and know that it’s like: okay, we need to offload a lot of this process onto a producer, somebody we trust and respect. So we’re happy to have him aboard and kind of see what happens. It will be the first one in a long time that there’s a producer on board.
How did the writing process for the album start? Did you hop right in the studio when you got out?
Through Covid we all had our own home studios basically. So, we just kind of made progress with that. I feel like we finished that in March of 2022. We kind of started December or November 2022. We’re just trying to be productive and just kind of keep things going.
What are some of the sociopolitical issues that are currently keeping you and the band occupied for the next album?
That’s a good question. I don’t know. We’re not a total political band and we don’t like to choose sides. Cuz even in the band, we don’t all think the same and we’re on different sides of things. So to choose one side wouldn’t be honest.
I guess even in like songs like Let ’em Burn or Christ Copyright. Things like that. It’s more just kind of getting people to think for themselves and pull back the curtain to see what’s really there. But sometimes even when you choose sides, it’s like, well, then you alienate your audience and we just make music, you know what I mean?
We’re not politicians and we don’t need to stand for this issue or that issue really. At the end of the day, we wanna stand for truth and love and do what music does best and to help people through hard times and be a shelter for those that need it.
What else can we expect from the current spirits era?
Let’s see. We did this live stream in New York on the last tour that we did pretty recently. And we’re gonna take, I believe, four of those songs and maybe a few other gems and kind of release a quick live album, which would be cool.
And really kind of bring it into like that next headline tour that we do in the States. And make it sort of the other leg of the spirits tour, play some songs from the album we haven’t done yet. And hopefully, drop another song, in a few months.
Coming back to your live shows, you have these massive shows like with the Scorpion Tail. And with the paint that I mentioned. Are there any plans of making it even bigger than it already is?
Yes, absolutely. Dan, our bass player, Dan. He is the mastermind behind all that and had taught himself how to weld. And we kind of take these small ideas and make them huge. And through Covid, he had been working on this. Gosh, maybe it’s 10 times the size of Scorpion tail. It’s really, really big.
I’m not gonna really let you know what it is, but as soon as there’s space for that, when we do play these big festivals or when we can afford to haul a semi-truck to bring this massive showpiece out, we’ll actually be happy to unveil it. But until that time, it’ll kind of stay under wraps.
Lightning round. What’s your favorite European City to visit on tour?
That’s a good one. I had a lot of fun here yesterday in Amsterdam.
It was good. Beer is good here. I’m a big beer snob, a lot of European beer is pretty awesome. Gotta love Italian food. I know I’m not really picking one city. Maybe I’ll say Berlin right now. We had a blast when we were there. It’s such a punk rock town. I love the vibe and the aesthetic of everything. The history is crazy. And just the overall attitude and mantra of the people there.
What’s your favorite song to play live?
Maybe right now it’s probably the song Face It, it’s pretty progressive, pretty long, and I think I finally got to the point where I can get out of my head playing it cuz it’s kind of notey and you really have to think about things or singing and playing be a little difficult at certain parts.
And I think I finally got to the point to where I can kind of let muscle memory do its thing and I can just kind of feel it and it’s been pretty sweet.
What bands do you listen to most?
That’s a good question. I have been on a Doobie Brothers kick last year. That was a big one. That was fun. Let me look on my phone. The new Sleep Token’s damn good. They’re always creative, super, super innovative, and they’re actually playing the show tonight, so it’s good seeing ’em walk down the hall and reconnect, get some hugs in. We’ll see a longer show than we’re normally used to seeing tonight, so that’ll be cool.
Just saw Nothing But Thieves. They did great. They had some cool festival shows. The Used just did a new album, Sevendust. I’m obsessed with this show, Yellowjackets it’s a TV show and Alanis Morissette, does the theme song. Gotta love Alanis. That’s a few things I’m listening to,
Who are you hoping to collaborate with someday?
We’re big Beartooth fans. That would be awesome to get Caleb to do a song with us. We love all the Australian prog bands.
I mean, you’re visiting Australia soon, right?
We are, yes. We will be there with Dance Gavin Dance. Love Atreyu. Man, it’d be cool to get Blindside’s singer on something. We’re childhood fans of theirs for sure. Blue October would be cool. Chino from Deftones, that would be sick.
Anybody from Thrice? I don’t know how we could do something with Gojira, but that’d be amazing. We tried to reach out to him for our song Valhalla on the last record and kind of get him to do that rant at the end but, I don’t know what happened. He wasn’t interested or something, but it’d be really cool to see if they were interested.
The list goes on. A big list that we compile, and we think about for stuff, but we are trying to get ahead of it this time and do it before the song is released instead of after. Like we normally do.
What’s your favorite soup?
Ooh, my favorite soup. I mean, tomato basil is always a jam. I think I love the dip game. And you got a good piece of bread, good roll or whatever, and dipping it in soup. There’s nothing better than that. Italian wedding soup’s pretty awesome. Minestrone is great. I guess those are my soups.
Any specific bread that you prefer to dip over others?
Ciabatta is pretty awesome. I feel like typically over here too, actually, like all European bread is pretty sick. It’s like you guys can just like leave it out and leave it in a basket and it’s fine.
And it may look rock hard, but it’s not. It’s like as soon as you crack it it’s like, oh, it’s perfect. And I don’t know, that doesn’t happen in the States.
Nothing More is currently on tour in America and they will keep touring for a while. Stream their latest album Spirits below!