On May 2016, the Philadelphia band Nothing released their second album Tired Of Tomorrow for which they reached a critical acclaim from many fans and medias. In case you haven’t heard of Nothing, DON’T. You will get hooked, fall in love, and curse them for creating such beautiful songs. The band sounds like shoegaze/alternative, but not like any other bands in that genre realm, there’s also a heavy element in their songs. They’re loud, captivatingly dark, and splendidly beautiful all at once.A twister of guitar fuzz and heavy distortions are also spicing up the beauty of Nothing’s songs. Probably a shoegaze band with a punk attitude, which is amazing in some way. And also, the fact that this band is the one and only shoegaze creature on the extreme metal label Relapse Records is pretty interesting.
They are also raising people’s awareness to some social problems through simple things like selling records. They have released a limited 12″ pressing called the LGBT Awareness Edition and $1 from each sale goes to “It Gets Better”, an LBGT awareness project. On 2014, they reissued Guilty of Everything (their debut album) on pink vinyl to support the fight against breast cancer. Not only that, earlier this year they sold 10 special edition Tired of Tomorrow hand drawn covers with clear vinyls on eBay, with all proceeds going to a special charity. They’re good lads, aren’t they?
As the tunes hit your ears, we know that Nothing’s songs are gloomy. Lyrically, too. It is kind of dark. All of the lyrics was written by Domenic ‘Nicky’ Palermo, the vocalist, guitarist, and founder of Nothing. He wrote all of the lyrics on his notebook that got stolen (and yes, we’ll get to that). Guessing by the things he wrote, he might be a super sad person. But, no! He surely is a lovely person. He’s funny, hilarious, super kind and a twitter beef. If you’re sad, follow his twitter account, you’ll at least have a reason to laugh.
We sent Nicky several questions via e-mail. No, we don’t want to talk about his past life like violence, prison, serious injury, and anything else he had been through. Let’s bury them, it’s so last year. We just want to know some things about Nothing and also random simple things around his life. So, enjoy our talk with him.
Your instagram and twitter feed are hilarious. It seems like you’re a funny person. Yet your songs are so serious and depressive. Even some people said that Tired of Tomorrow is a depressive album. Are you trying to cope the anxiety by spilling it to Nothing’s songs? What song affected you the most emotionally?
Life is a painful joke so instead of melting away in a corner everyday crying my eyes out I try and bask in the utter evil humor of it all. About the only time you’ll ever see me spilling anything emotional is when I write music, or words, or if I’ve had too much to drink while on pills.
Your lyrics are poetic. I have watched videos of Nothing’s gigs and live sessions and found out that you played a poem voice over like Allen Ginsberg’s “Song” & Richard Brautigan’s “Love Poem” and “Gee, You’re So Beautiful That It’s Starting to Rain”. It seems like you’re influenced by poems on writing lyrics. What’s your favorite poem and what makes you interested in poems?
FOR A RAINY DAY
We tried to save
Pressed in books
Like flowers from
A sun warmed day
Years later to
Open yellowing pages
To find those same kisses
Wilted – and dry
This makes me interested.
Tired of Tomorrow was recorded with Will Yip, while Guilty of Everything was with Jeff Zeigler. Was it because Will Yip knows which sounds to aim at? Since he produced Whirr, Title Fight, Braid and even Nothing’s split album with Whirr, and he’s well known as the “punk producer”.
Those bands and everyone that Will records try to sound like us at the end of the day. We’re friends with a few of them so it’s all good. We chose Will because he’s brilliant but also really skinny so we knew we could shake his ass up if he didn’t do what we told him to do.
“A.C.D. (Abcessive Compulsive Disorder)” is one of my favorite song from Nothing (well I really couldn’t pick which was my favorite tho, I like all of your songs). Was it about OCD? Or was it about a fear of having an illness?
It’s about illness. A mash of an abscess tooth, mixed with OCD, mixed with the lack of empathy we can have when it comes to being fair to another human being who is offering love and compassion in your general direction.
Did the “Whirr twitter incident” affect Nothing? Seems like Nick Bassett went missing for a little while back then, he wasn’t even in the band’s photo shoot and the promo video for Tired of Tomorrow.
Is this even a question? Nick is alive and well. He’ll always be a part of Nothing when he has the time away from his four children, wife, and six (yes six) lovely poodles.
Apart from music that influenced Nothing, what music you enjoy the most?
I’m currently listening to Al Green – How Can You Mend A Broken Heart but this music heavily influences me when I’m writing, but I follow where you’re going.
How’s PP doing? He’s part of the band, right? Are you going to include him in one of your songs someday? Let him bark.
He doesn’t bark much. He kind of whimpers a little when someone rings the door bell. He’s very excited for company since I rarely have it.
Since a long time ago, a lot of people are associating shoegaze and drugs. Any thoughts?
I’ve personally associated drugs with everything I’ve done in life pretty much, not just music. Since a long time ago.
Nothing has released a lot of different vinyl versions of each album. Both albums has more than 10 versions. What’s the reason behind that?
I want to make the record nerds happy first and foremost. The one thing you can’t take away from punk rock is that we were the original nerds. People can go up and buy $400 Cro-Mags and Misfits shirts and pose for Vogue but they would never invade the awful life of the record collector. It’s also nice selling more records.
You lost your clothes and notebook with original Guilty of Everything and Tired of Tomorrow lyrics on it when you guys were touring in Chicago because someone broke into your god van. And it’s cool that you asked fans to bring you weird t-shirts. What’s the weirdest shirt you got?
You’ve done your research. Well I must say firstly that it was a real nice gesture considering I was highly upset about losing my notebook. It’s great to know there are people out there who care enough to help you out just for making your music. That said though, definitely the ‘I Love Sleep’ shirt. Not very weird I guess but it really spoke to me.
You’re claiming that you guys are “the loudest band alive”. Did anyone compare your live set to My Bloody Valentine or even Sunn O)))? I heard that MBV is not that loud except the holocaust session. How loud were you?
This was a thing early on for sure. Was mainly because we couldn’t figure out how to get the records sound identical so I figured I’d just try and make everyone wobble. It was there I found our live sound, which is the other dimension of what your hear on vinyl. I like writing sad music to melt away to when you’re at home, but live I want it to feel like you’re in the middle of a political riot.
Any further plan to play with Horror Show again?
Not a chance.
Eric Kenney made artworks based on Nothing and you guys worked with several tattoo parlours so everyone can make a tattoo based on his artworks. Where did the idea come from?
We have a somewhat, “cult” following with tattoos now. We figured we could really reel some more in with this. I enjoy people having words that means so much to me carved into their skin. It gives me a balanced sense of accomplishment and connection with people who get it. Was so great to have Eric take part. His work makes my writing seem much better. We will be releasing a book soon showcasing everyone’s amazing art as well sometime
If you’re not in your position as you are now (playing in a band, touring, living life as musician, walking with PP), what would you think you’d become?