NOTHING MORE's JONNY HAWKINS Discusses New LP – "It's Got A Lot Of The Heavy Guitar Riffs Back In, And Just Big, Melodic Soaring Choruses"

June 27, 2024, 3 weeks ago

By Greg Prato

feature hard rock nothing more

NOTHING MORE's JONNY HAWKINS Discusses New LP – "It's Got A Lot Of The Heavy Guitar Riffs Back In, And Just Big, Melodic Soaring Choruses"

Nothing More has made a conscious decision to go heavier on their latest album, Carnal – both musically and lyrically. And also, have invited some renowned special guests to partake in the fun – as evidenced by appearances by I Prevail's Eric V on the track “House Of Sand,” and Disturbed's David Draiman on “Angel Song.” And with an upcoming headlining tour on a bill that also includes From Ashes to New, Set It Off, and Post Profit, the band will remain busy for the foreseeable future. Nothing More's singer, Jonny Hawkins, recently spoke with BraveWords correspondent Greg Prato about the new album, upcoming tour, and his thoughts on the Grammy Awards. 

BraveWords: Let's discuss the new album, Carnal.

Jonny Hawkins: "We thought on this album it would be fun to go back to our roots. Like our self-titled album – the album that had 'This Is The Time,' 'Jenny,' 'God Went North,' and a bunch of other songs. We wanted a return to that sound, but modernized and updated to 2024. It's got a lot of the heavy guitar riffs back in, and just big, melodic soaring choruses. I think it's our best album yet."

BraveWords: Is there a specific meaning behind the album's title?

Jonny Hawkins: "The last album we did was called Spirits. It was a concept album and I developed a spirits test. You can actually go to and take it, and you find out which one of eight spirit types you are – from all the artwork we developed. It's actually not random – I spent two years compiling a meta personality test, which is a compilation of all kinds of personality and spiritual assessments, and I applied a lot of logic from those tests, put them into one. And that was the concept for the last album. And then from the spirit concept, we moved into more of an earthly concept, which is Carnal. The word carnal is kind of a biblical word. It's used a lot to describe a lot of your animalistic earthly nature – which is much more centered around fighting for your lot on this earth. Showing your teeth or providing or surviving. It's a little more instinctual/animalistic. So, this album sounds that way – it's a little more down to earth, gripping, and intense."

BraveWords: Let's discuss the song and video “House On Sand,” which includes Eric V of I Prevail.

Jonny Hawkins: "'House On Sand' was probably one of our heaviest steps into the future – in the sense of how heavy that song is. We were kind of touching on more metalcore notes than we ever had – in regards to the guitar sound and the riffs. Even bringing Eric in, he's a very heavy vocalist. It was our take on some heavier stuff in neighboring genres to us. Because we've always rode the line between metal and rock. So, we have kind of a wide spectrum of how soft or how heavy we'll go. And this one, we got to exercise our heavier demons. The video was a blast – having Eric out in LA. It was a one-day shoot. Very tiring – but we got a lot done and had a great time with him. It was a great hang. And then the lyrics came from a period in my life recently when I was just kind of starting my life over. 

“I had built a life in Louisiana, and still had a life I had built in San Antonio. I just basically started over and went to square one. One of the biggest choices you make in life is who you partner up with – whether it's romantically or in business. I made some choices I wish I wouldn’t have made and was back to scratch. The phrase 'House on Sand' was something that came to mind a lot. I was raised in the church, so I was very familiar with Bible stories and parables and all these teachings that had a moral to the story. One of the teachings I think from Jesus in the New Testament was about building your house on sand – if you had the wrong foundation, clearly things would crumble later. And clearly, I went through an experience like that. So, I was just singing the song for myself and really for anyone else there in the world who might have put a ton of energy and time into something and watched it either get destroyed or destroy it themselves – because they knew something was not right about it. It's just a song about starting over."

BraveWords: Other personal favorite tracks?

Jonny Hawkins: "There's a song called 'Stuck' that is probably going to be coming out next. It's one of my favorites on the album. It's kind of touching on concepts before that time period in my life, where before I really reached a fork in the road and a point where I could make a decision. There are these periods in our life where we feel stuck – where there's not really any good choice. It's a rock in a hard place, and you kind of have to work certain things through with time. Time is the only answer in certain situations. So, that song was kind of an anthem to my future self, and how I envisioned going into the future and conquering the things in my life.

"And then some of the other tracks, 'Existential Dred' is going to be a really cool one. It touches on the mental state of a lot of people today. Just what we deal with – sensory overload at all times. And there's so many ways things that can go wrong. I think our minds can just run and race with anxiety. And 'If It Doesn't Hurt' was our first single. It's a real deep, life-learning one, as well – where you realize things in life that mean something to you, usually there is a double-edged sword to everything. When something is worthwhile, it usually takes a lot of work. And when something is not, it doesn't. And in the same way, something that is meaningful to you is going to hurt if it's taken away or destroyed. The lesson I learned in that song is when you're not feeling anything towards it, it probably doesn't mean much to you."

BraveWords: The band has been nominated three times for a Grammy Award. Are you confident that one day the band may finally take home the prize?  

Jonny Hawkins: "We like to tell our friends we are 'three time Grammy losers.' [Laughs] When we went to the Grammys, we went to New York City a few years ago. It was a great experience, but I think it was probably cooler for my dad and my stepmom. But when I got there, I was disenchanted a little bit – I had a moment of the naïve, younger version of myself dying. Where I thought, 'Oh, you win an award because it's the best song or it affected this many people.' But what I learned is there are a lot of artists that lobby people – just like politicians – and I realized, 'Oh, there is a game to this. There's actually things people do to increase their chances.' And there are 'legacy artists' who are going to win no matter what – regardless of whether the song is actually better or not. I guess I have a different point of view of winning one now. For everyone else, it would be a great feather in the cap – since it's such a recognizable name and has such notoriety. But as an artist, I really don't care either way."

BraveWords: What can fans expect on the upcoming tour?

Jonny Hawkins: "We're going to be playing a lot of the new stuff, but we're also going to be playing some of the old stuff – all the way back to the self-titled album, and songs we've never played live before. The fans who have seen us a handful of times, they may hear a song they've never seen us play live – because we're going to rotate them every night in each city. We're going to have two slots in the set where we rotate songs. So, that's going to be fun. It's going to be very intense – we have From Ashes To New with us, Set It Off, and Post Profit. All great bands, great live bands. So, it should be a really high energy night, where we're going to leave with an adrenaline rush. But we're going to go out there like we always do, and give it everything we've got. We always give 110% and make it a night to remember. So, it's going to be our best tour yet – because we've been building and growing. Every tour has been better than the last. So, this one is going to be right after the album has come out and it's going to be incredible."

(Photo - Travis Shinn)

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