Bassist Daniel and guitarist Mark of NOTHING MORE sat down with me in their cozy tourbus to have a chat about their band and the current tour with headliner HALESTORM, as soundcheck was going on in the venue and the backstage area had been too crowded.
Having not really known the band before, I did not only find my love for their music on this day, but also learned to enjoy the humor and kindness of the people behind this music.
Alright, as you are not that well known in Germany yet, please tell a bit about yourself and NOTHING MORE as a start…
Daniel: Hello, I´m Daniel Oliver, I´m the bass player and I sing some harmonies on stage and I create all the metal work that people see when they turn up on our shows.
Mark: And I´m Mark, I play guitar. I, too, sing some harmonies, but I don´t create a bunch of metal stuff, but I play guitar, I play mean guitar (laughs)
Daniel: …he plays the metal! I create the metal and he plays the metal…
Mark: Yeah, we´ve been touring the past ten years – more in the States, but this is our second time to Europe, we´ve done “Rock am Ring” and “Rock im Park” last summer, it´s been a blast! Amazing festivals, very well created and staffed – we´re proud to be a part of it. But we´re relatively new over here as you were saying, we´ve been going for a long time, Jonny (vocals) used to play drums and now he´s singing and has been doing so for seven years…help me out here, Dan!
Daniel: Yeah, as Mark said, we´re new to the area but we´re looking forward to making Germany our home just as whole Europe and the UK, so…we´re happy to be here!
So you´re now here on tour with HALESTORM – how are your experiences on this tour so far?
Daniel: It´s been awesome, they´re an awesome band, they´re awesome people and their crew is really nice to us. The bus that we´re speaking in now actually is shared with the other opener, WILSON, so it´s kinda like summer camp on the bus. They´re awesome dudes, everyone´s just getting along swimmingly and that makes the whole touring experience way more fun. It´s a good tour package, everyone appreciates each other´s band and all the music seems to flow together well enough so that the bands really like it. We´re having an absolute blast!
As you mentioned already – you´ve been playing “Rock am Ring” and “Rock im Park”. I can image that the audience there didn´t really know you, what´s your experience been like?
Mark: Ah we played…I think we were first up, so a not that nice spot and there weren´t too many people but we won over those people that did watch us and everyone still treated us really well. It´s interesting, the culture difference, I remember several people coming up to us and telling us “great show” and wanting an autograph – and then they just left (looks puzzled). They didn´t want to chat or have any sort of conversation, or just hang out – they just were like they´re having a duty, go and get the autograph and then I´m out. So it´s…kinda funny.
Sounds like it is much different in the US…
Mark: Ah yeah, you might get caught in conversation for a little while longer and we´re all about conversation, hanging out and having a good time, getting to know the people and establishing a relationship. That´s definitely what this band is about. So it´s really just different, we never really experienced that. So it was interesting.
Are there any more differences you were spotting so far when it comes to mentality and such?
Daniel: One weird thing I actually noticed last summer in Europe was that it seemed like a lot of people were singing along to our lyrics but I knew they didn´t know them. Or…in some countries they didn´t speak English either, so…it was just kind of weird but it was cool as it was their way of rocking out, I don´t know. It´s been quite strange, I don´t know if that´s a common thing – or if I was hallucinating, I am not sure either. (grins) Maybe I was pretending to sing our songs in German and what it might sound like, I don´t know.
Mark: People do seem much less reserved over here – it doesn´t feel like they have a chip on their shoulder hindering them to rock. They let loose, and it´s good, I enjoy that.
Doing that band for quite a while is one thing, but how does it feel for your friends and family that you are now going more and more abroad?
Daniel: I mean, we started a long time ago and we´ve been touring for about ten years. The way we did it, we´re just very independent and very DYI – we´ve booked our own shows and we were self-managed for years and years and years and I think everyone saw how hard we were working on it when we were kids like that – and they totally encouraged us, you know. And now we got signed a year ago, ah, a bit more than a year ago, and we´ve been touring…I think today last year we started touring this tour cycle and we´ve played about 200 shows in I don´t know how many countries. In twenty countries or something like that, and it´s been crazy to just being gone. 200 shows – like, we don´t play a show on every day – so 200 shows means we´re probably gone like 280 days or something like that. But yeah, it is stressful on relationships and family, but everyone knows that it´s our life´s work and that it´s what we´ve been wanting to do forever so it´s great to have the opportunity to be across the world like this – making new friends and building a fan base and just having a blast.
So you´ve always had full support from the people around you?
Daniel: Yeah…pretty much.
Mark: Yeah… Of course you have the more realist type of approach from your parents when you first start, before you´re any good and you still suck (laughs) and they just want you to make sure that you´re gonna succeed and do well. As the days and years went by, they sort of saw the fruits of their labor, so they began to believe in it too. And now we´re really proud of what we´ve built and even more proud that we made them proud. For them to tell us…it´s every kid´s dream to make their dad proud – so that´s really cool. We´re really blessed and fortunate to put all this work in and be where we are right now…in Germany!
Before you hit Germany, you´ve been to France where you also have been on a TV show…First time on a TV show in Europe?
Daniel: Yes, we´ve been only very few times on TV in the US…There is not much TV for music in the US, really…
Mark: Yeah, if you´re not counting music videos and “Music Choice” , that channel, but they just play videos…not MTV, as they don´t do that.
How do you feel about music videos as such?
Daniel: When I was a kid I loved them and when MTV was all fresh, and they played music videos all the time I thought it was really cool. You know, people like Janet Jackson making five million dollar music videos and it was an art form and an incredibly impressive thing. Also, back then the internet didn´t exist so literally looking at a picture of the band on a CD or you bought a poster or you waited for the music video to be on TV. It was cool, seeing like “wow this is what they look like”. Nowadays I don´t know, I never watch music videos – they´re just not the same they used to be.
Mark: We´re all just tired of seeing bands come together, playing in a warehouse – we´ve all seen too many. Really oversaturated. But speaking of music videos, we´re actually releasing one very shortly! Jonny just finished editing and producing and directing the most current video for “Jenny” and we´re really excited about it. We just saw the first draft and it´s great. We stood behind him and his vision as he was really close to this one. So it´s really cool to see the product and we´re excited for everyone else to see it too. It´s a little different as we aren´t in the video at all, so it is not a performance piece, it is more story based and …I think it´s good! (smiles)
So you´ve been using your own idea from scratch on and are you planning on keeping it that way?
Daniel: With the last two videos we had someone doing it for us, so this one – he just wanted to do it and have it as an experiment…
Mark: We had some people submit ideas for it and they were good but as I said, Jonny was just really passionate about this particular song and kinda had some dreams and a vision about it so we supported him, stood behind him and it´s been a cool experience seeing him do that.
We already hit the topic of you being in France – I saw a video on Facebook of you pushing a car…What is the story behind that? (everyone laughs)
Daniel: We couldn´t get the bus pass. We lifted two cars, and with the first one we tried to park the bus at the TV studio. We had to park it, there was nowhere else. Spending the night there and performing there, so we were like “oh let´s pick up the car, it´s small!” (laughs) so everyone got out – I got a hurt back so I didn´t – but it was funny. Same thing with the other one, we couldn´t make it around the corner.
Mark: Yeah, we couldn´t make a turn and just …and after the first one we had a lot more confidence, we knew we could also move this other one…
Daniel: And we did!
Mark: All of WILSON and all of NOTHING MORE came out and moved the car.
Daniel: We thought about putting the car back where it belonged but I think someone, a French man, told us to not do it. “Nah, just leave it”…
Mark: It was interesting though – The bystanders just came and helped us move the car, so they took part in this illegal activity.
Daniel: At least I think it´s illegal…
Since we already moved on to the fun part of the interview, in some way: There is a fairytale and you need to put all band members into suitable roles. Which fairytale would it be and who would take which role and why?
(shocked faces and silence)
Daniel: That´s interesting…I can´t remember any fairytales…
Mark: Oh no…I try to think…I just thought about “The Neverending story” (laughs) and Daniel is the horse. (Daniel laughs) There´s Artax, Atreyu, there is a rockman, who else do we have…Paul is totally the Rockman…I don´t know (everyone laughs). Do you have any other stories, Dan?
Daniel: Man. I…I can´t remember any fairytales right now…That´s a great question though! […] Our band doesn´t have a fairytale yet…
It´s that time again – some last words to our readers?
Daniel: Thanks for checking us out, we´re excited to be in your country for the second time and plan on being back soonish so keep your eyes peeled!
www.nothingmore.net photos: C.Ullmann