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Mark Vollelunga: A Rock And Roll Fables Conversation

As we stated in our review of new album CARNAL, when we say we slept on NOTHING MORE we’re talking Rip Van Winkle levels of missing out so we’re attempting to make up for that flub now with ALL the NOTHING MORE love like this interview with guitarist Mark Vollelunga which we recently conducted via email talking up all things related to that aforementioned 7th album, 2024 touring plans, the upcoming Capulet Fest appearance, and so much more! That said, you can head below for more:

In an age where a lot of focus has been shifted to multiple singles not related to a record per se or shorter EP-like releases it seems that Nothing More is still going strong in the album format and doesn’t skimp on the length or track list (Spirits with 13 tracks, Carnal with 15). As fans ourselves of the full-length experience, what are your thoughts on the LP versus EP/single release cycle/debate?

As you probably could’ve guessed we’re all very into full length records.  I can’t even name a handful of EPs that I still listen to or am actually in love with.  Full lengths really give you a complete feel for the artist and what they were trying to achieve with a full body of work.  The albums I grew up with shaped my whole musical coming of age, got me through some extremely difficult times, and paved the way for me to start my own compositions.  I don’t feel like I’ve ever heard any respected artist refer to the playlists they grew up with changed their life. I am a romantic at heart so it’s hard for me to ever buy into doing the exclusive single only release strategy.  

Plus, the way we orchestrate our instrumentals gives us space to lengthen and deepen each record while intertwining parts of philosophy that we all subscribe to.

The new record Carnal is a beast from start to finish featuring some of NM’s heaviest, hardest, and most anthemic works to date with guest appearances from David Draiman of Disturbed, Eric V of I Prevail, and Sinizter. How did such a varied group of collaborators happen and how did each enhance the Nothing More sound on their individual contributions?

We knew we wanted to swing for the fences with the guest artist features on this record.  Fortunately, as your career develops you make more and more friends and even some of your heroes become your peers; truly a milestone spot in life to be proud of.  So we reached out to David & Eric after already being friends and having a great mutual respect for their work.  

We met Sinizter, Scott, because our manager’s son was really the phonk genre of hip hop and turned us all on to it.  So Jonny reached out and pitched the idea of having him collar on a song and he was absolutely into it.  I’m really psyched for everyone to enjoy Stuck as much as we do.  He really takes the heaviest song we’ve ever written and makes it even heavier.  The same can be said for Eric & David’s performances  as well and we’re blessed to have made these pieces of art work together. 

NM went with producer WZRD BLD this time around after self-producing Spirits, what made the band go that route for Carnal and are there benefits to an outside hand as opposed to doing it yourselves?

It really was time for us to go the producer route again.  We’ve been self producing since the Few Not Fleeting (2009) and while it has its advantages it just wasn’t the right move for us anymore at this point in our career.  Logistically it’s difficult to just get us in the same room anymore because we’ve all started our lives and families apart from each other in different states.  The other main reason we chose to go the producer route was because we really starting getting in our own way.  It’s great that we have complete control of every aspect when we self produce, but sometimes things can take forever and we can get into never-ending stalemate disagreements about songs.  So it sends us round and round without an end in sight and that can make the process very frustrating.  

The Spirits record was great for me personally to really develop my artistry even further to go down each and every artistic rabbit hole.  Previously I’ve just had Jonny, Ben or Will (our manager) engineer all the guitar, but for that record I did 90% of it as well as engineering 90% of the bass with Dan too.  While that was fun, it was also a lot of work and an arduous process.  

Basically I’m just illustrating the point as to why it was time for us to outsource a producer.  This way the process will move quicker, we’ll have a mediator to settle any stalemate disputes, and we will all be in the same room together creating music at the same time.  We hit it off with Drew (WZRD BLD) immediately with his positive energy, great ideas, and lightning speed production skills. We’ve have a lot of respect for him as a person, husband, new father, songwriter and producer.

You just announced a headline run for the fall along with dates with Godsmack and various festival appearances throughout the summer (Including Capulet Fest on June 30th), with a 20+ year career still going strong and a bulky body of work, how do you build the perfect set list nightly and with that, how do you create the perfect Nothing More experience for an opening/festival appearance?

You’re right insinuating that it’s becoming more and more difficult to piece together set lists.  It’s a great problem to have… You have to have a strong start, you have to play the hits, and have a strong finish.  Then you just need to think about the ride of the set and make sure it has a little ebb and flow to it.  We like to start with several strong bangers, then get a little emotional, have a live show piece climax, and then finish leaving it all on the stage.

Speaking of Godsmack and the various festivals each with their own diverse lineups, Nothing More’s music seems to sit perfectly between the modern world of your Asking Alexandria’s and Wage War’s while also completely sounding at home next to bands like Godsmack and Disturbed. Why do you think Nothing More’s sound seems to transcend genres and eras the way it does and has that ever been a conscious effort on the part of the band?

We’ve always wanted to bridge the gap in rock music by making cool artistic music while still maintaining commercial appeal.  Sometimes we lean a little more in one direction and that’s what makes a Nothing More album.  It’s definitely been a conscious decision to be able to play with a wide range of bands from brutal metal to light alternative rock.

The record is still less than 2 weeks with touring in full swing and an already pretty packed year ahead but can you tell us at all what’s next? And more importantly, why should fans (Or not-yet-fans) pick up Carnal?

In a lot of ways it feels like a new start and has given us all lots of inspiration for us to even get started on the one after this.   In a completely objective way it’s also just a very strong album.  Each song is a killer song.  I know that I’m biased, but I do believe this will be everyone’s new favorite NM album for quite awhile.

CARNAL arrives on June 28th through Better Noise Music and you can read our review complete with all the links you need to get yours the second it drops when you head here. For Capulet Fest tix, head here and for all the rest of the NOTHING MORE news like links for the latest shows and the such, head here, here, and here.

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