Wednesday, 21 February 2018
Home / Interviews / Interview: Mark Vollelunga of NOTHING MORE

Interview: Mark Vollelunga of NOTHING MORE

Photo © Tara Shea

Texas natives Nothing More released their latest album, The Stories We Tell Ourselves, in September 2017, which was critically acclaimed as one of the best albums of 2017. Jonny, Mark, Ben, and Daniel paved the path of many up-and-coming bands, earning themselves three Grammy nominations for their album.

The band recently joined the journey to the Bahamas with fans and bands alike on board Shiprocked. While older fans fell even more in love with Nothing More, the band captured the hearts of new fans with their wild theater set and breathtaking sail away performance back to our homeland. We had a chance to sit down with guitarist Mark Vollelunga after their performances on Shiprocked to discuss their cruise experience and what to expect on their upcoming tour.

Nothing MoreANTIHERO: How’s it going? Are you enjoying your first Shiprocked?

Mark Vollelunga: I’m loving it. It’s been very great. I actually met my wife on a cruise, and we’re just having a really good time. It’s a bit sentimental for us considering that’s how we met. We’ve seen a lot of good bands love being able to hang out and chill. It’s been a blast.

ANTIHERO: Very cool. You guys did the sail away for our journey back home. It showed on your faces that you were blown away by the fan’s reactions. What was going through your mind during that performance?

Mark Vollelunga: Honestly, that was our first time to play “Fade In/Fade Out,” and I was actually really nervous. Thinking “I need to play the right notes!” (laughs) I was just stoked and honored everyone was there to jam and hang out with us.

ANTIHERO: It’s a beautiful song, by the way. Seeing it performed live had me in tears. I didn’t know you wrote it.

Mark Vollelunga: We all write all of the songs. That one more started with me. I had gotten an idea when my wife was pregnant, and we knew we were going to name our son Phoenix. The “Fade In/Fade Out” idea kind of came to me, just like the story of the Phoenix. In trying to write that took a while; our son is five now. So, we wrote this song five-six years ago. We all have the first lyric in the song, “Just the other day I looked at my father. It was the first time I’d saw he’d grown old.” That moment just happened to me. I had gone out to my parents to visit my dad, and it was just really sad. This once great, strong man is kind of feeble and old. We all feel that feeling. The story just came out in that process, and I connected the two stories together with the help of my other guys. It’s where it’s at now, and I couldn’t be prouder. Especially that everyone seems to be gravitating to it and really hits a note and strikes a chord with them. It’s an honor.

ANTIHERO: Very emotional, for sure. Do you all plan on playing the song on the upcoming tour?

Mark Vollelunga: We do. We didn’t play it on the first show here on Shiprocked; it just wasn’t ready yet. I still think it wasn’t ready yesterday. (laughs) But we did it, and I’m glad we did. We definitely plan to play it on the upcoming headline tour in February.

ANTIHERO: Can’t wait! I’ve noticed in a pair of songs (Still In Love/God Went North) the intros, to me anyway, there are a few parts that sound pretty similar. I don’t know if that’s accurate or not, but how often do you guys recycle ideas?

Mark Vollelunga: I feel like we try not to have stuff sound the same or reuse things. In the same way, it’s like seeing a movie by the same director. Seeing more of his/her movies, you see more of the same techniques and tricks. Those particular parts, Jonny is really strong in and it’s more of his forte creating the texturing with intros and programming. The emotions that come with that. You’re probably hearing a lot of his technique in programming.

ANTIHERO: I just didn’t know if maybe there was a purpose or connection for the two?

Mark Vollelunga: No, that one definitely isn’t. That’s cool, though.

ANTIHERO: Would you ever be open to doing an acoustic album, like the sorts of your Waiting On Rain EP or P.O.D.’s SoCal Sessions?

Mark Vollelunga: Nice. I haven’t heard that. I’ll have to check it out. I love P.O.D. and have for a long time. But yes, we would definitely love to. It would be a cool change just touring like that too and really strip things down. Yeah, it’s definitely possible in the future.

Nothing MoreANTIHERO: Sweet. Congratulations on your three Grammy nominations!

Mark Vollelunga: Ahh, it’s insane. We’re definitely blessed and honored, for sure.

ANTIHERO: Do you guys have any celebrations planned if you win?

Mark Vollelunga: No. (laughs) We haven’t thought that far ahead. We’re just stoked we got nominated. Being in a band, that’s one of the highest achievements you can earn. We’re a three-time Grammy-nominated band! That’s insane. We couldn’t be more honored.

ANTIHERO: Do you plan on bringing the Scorpion out on the new tour, or do you know if Daniel has some new monsters brewing?

Mark Vollelunga: There are a few other monsters brewing, but you won’t see any of them anytime soon. That stuff takes a long time to go through the process of thinking, creating, testing… doing something different. You have to go through the hard phases of it being stupid and dumb looking. It’s a huge refining process. These next tours you’ll definitely see the Scorpion Tail. It’ll be the pinnacle or highlight of the show-piece.

ANTIHERO: I have a question from a fan. He’s a huge music nerd and plays the drums, so it’s a more technical question. He noticed The Stories We Tell Ourselves album is mostly in 4/4 time. Do you plan on having any weirder or harder time signatures or beats for upcoming material?

Mark Vollelunga: Tool is one of my favorite bands for sure, and they gravitate to more odd beaters. To me, it’s whenever it’s called for. Sometimes it works… One of the greatest songs ever written is “All You Need is Love” by The Beatles. It wouldn’t be the same if it weren’t for the 4. If it were in 7/4, you wouldn’t want that extra beat. I love Flyleaf too, and they’re great. Not just being weird for being weird, but really just serving the song. One measure may be in 6/4 and the next might be 4/4. You just have to cater to the melody. I’d say in the future, it’s possible, we’re just trying to serve the song.

ANTIHERO: That’s all I’ve got. We’re getting ready for meet-and-greets. See you guys around the boat. Can’t wait to see you guys out on the road!

Mark Vollelunga: Thank you so much! Thanks for having me.

Catch Nothing More on their The Stories We Tell Ourselves tour across the U.S. starting in Little Rock, AR on February 3rd and ending in Sacramento, CA on March 3rd. The boys will join Papa Roach on the Crooked Teeth World Tour shortly after, with the round of tour dates ending in Oshkosh, WI on July 14th. Visit their website for details on locations and available tickets.

All photos © Tara Shea

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