The last year has been a sort of living hell for Nothing. From disparate connections with the infamous pharmaceutical price-gouger Martin Shkreli, to sudden deaths in the family and a near-fatal beating, it has been a tumultuous time — to say the least.
As if that’s not been the story all along. It seems the band is always running into a constant flow of unfortunate occurrences. Yet they are always able to push on through their music — their only solace, a source of sanity.
Fittingly enough, the Philly band’s recently released second full length LP came out on Friday the 13th. Tired of Tomorrow, as the name suggests, is a brooding examination into the darkest of human emotions — themes which singer and guitarist Nicky Palermo knows all too well.
Nicky formed Nothing in 2011 fresh after a two-year stint in prison. Their first full length, Guilty of Everything, came out in 2014 with overwhelming comparisons to shoegaze bands of the ’90s. Now on Tired of Tomorrow, the band maintains their dreamy soundscapes all the while implementing new variation in instrumentation and song structure. Both records, however, address similar ideas.
We got together with Nicky to talk about Nothing’s dark lyricism, Coronaritas and how to move forward after loss.
How’s it going? My name is Michael, I’m a DJ here at KCPR.
I guess my first question is related to Tired of Tomorrow — it sounds like somewhat of a departure from Guilty of Everything in the fact that it’s slightly more dynamic. There’s some different sounds going on, rather than just atmospheric sounds and the more shoegaze-y label it gets attached to. Was this a conscious decision? I watched the Tired of Tomorrow documentary and you guys mentioned it’s a much more mature record. I understand there were some personal events surrounding the members of Nothing. Were there any other influences with this direction?
Oh, I mean — this project has been a progressive thing since I recorded some demo stuff and decided that I wanted to let the public hear it. With every release, we try to better ourselves in ways and learn a little bit. Guilty of Everything was a big deal for us. It was our first time in a studio recording that many songs.
And when we were working to record Tired of Tomorrow, in spite of all the stuff that was going on, we had a pretty clear idea of what we wanted to do, and had some better equipment. The most tracks we put on Tired of Tomorrow with guitar was like three tracks, I think — that’s the most we have on one track. Whereas with Guilty, I think on one track we used like 11 guitars. So, I mean – as this band progresses and everything, we start to learn how to achieve the sound that we want and keep it to where live performance will kind of mimic it.
There’s different inspirations for anything, whether it be musical or life-things, that directly influence the music. I would never expect the same record to come out twice from this band for sure.
So I think Nothing is known to express this contrasting combination of the beautiful sound with dark lyricism. Even on your Bandcamp it states that the noise is “the only way the band has been able to translate the difficulty of real life into musical form.”
[Laughs.] I’ve never even seen that.
[Laughs.] So, are there any other influences on the lyrics besides personal experiences?
I mean, what’s always been a huge part of this project for me is the lyricism. This whole thing only happened because I was going through so many things in 2010 — my friends had passed away unexpectedly. I’d just come home from a trip to LA to kind of escape Philadelphia for a while… everything was just closing in on me, so this became like a vice for me.
And when someone finally convinced me to take the songs and you know, like I said, make them public, it became like a new way for me to deal with things that were going on. I’m not a guy that plays guitar very often — I usually only pick up a guitar when I’m really at my end and that’s what this project has always been. It’s been a way for me to dump everything that’s going on that I can’t really handle or can’t block out without getting messed up or anything.
It’s just turned into this vessel where I can spew all this stuff into, for sure.
If Nothing could share the stage for a show with any two bands — active or disbanded, who would they be? It’s a loaded question.
Uh — I mean, this could change for anybody but I would say – can I make it three?
All right. I’d go Oasis, Stone Roses, Smiths.
Love it. Good choices. Is there any music you’ve been listening to lately that you’re really into?
Um, yeah – my good friend Tony Molina sent me his new record that’s coming out on Slumberland at some point in time, who knows — that guy’s crazy — but I’ve been listening to that pretty much non-stop. He’s a brilliant guy.
I enjoyed some of that Japanese Breakfast stuff, that was pretty cool. Culture Abuse beast record, that was pretty cool. The new Wrong record is a slap, for sure.
It’s funny, I kind of find myself not paying attention to a lot of the music that’s coming out recently, especially when we start getting into a record cycle or something, I kind of just focus on what were doing. But, currently I’ve been listening to a lot of new music, which is pretty strange, so it’s kind of cool.
Very cool, yeah. Tony Molina is great and you guys are going on tour with with Culture Abuse and Wrong so that should be an awesome tour. A few more quick questions for you: either/or questions. Boxed wine or Coronaritas?
Mmm, man that’s so hard. It really depends on the day. Like right now I’m drinking wine, but it’s not out of the box. There’s a really nice wine shop near me that sells really good, like 10 dollar bottles of wine — like actually decent stuff that doesn’t rot your stomach away. I gotta say wine. I’ll take wine over anything, pretty much. I’ll take wine over music.
All right. My Bloody Valentine or Slowdive?
That’s so weird I literally just did this question, like right as you guys were texting me, I’m going this ‘90s thing – this kind of thing – all ‘90s questions, but I knew it was going to come to this: My Bloody Valentine or Slowdive.
I have to say, Slowdive. They literally were with me in some of the darkest points of my life and they’ll always have this special grasp on me – MBV too, obviously but they’re really clinging on to me, for sure.
Okay, well that would be my pick, so. Last one for you: Brandon Setta or Kurt Cobain?
Kurt Cobain! Easiest question I’ve ever answered.
Michael Viera is a KCPR DJ and Cal Poly microbiology senior.