Nothing More’s Mark Vollelunga Talks New Album ‘Carnal’ and Band’s Evolution

Carnal' Set for Release: Nothing More Guitarist Shares Insights on the New Album...

Interview by: DJ

 

MGM: Today, we’re hanging out with Nothing More guitarist Mark Vollelunga. Here he is, live in the flesh! Hey, howdy, howdy, how are you?

Mark: I’m good, man. Thanks for taking the time. We appreciate it.

MGM: Of course! I want you to get into the history of the band for first-time fans who might not know your background. Nothing More has been around a long time now and you guys are well established in the rock and metal community. Can you take us through the history of the band, how you came about, how you all met, and where you are now?

Mark: Of course. We really became a band in 2005. I feel like you really become a band when you finally play outside of your hometown and start touring. Our first release was in ’04, a full-length, and Jonny, our singer, was actually our drummer. We did that for a while, then in 2008, things shifted. After several different singers, we decided Johnny had the best harmony voice out of all of us, so he took over vocals. We decided to find a different drummer. He was a very good drummer, so it was hard to replace, but we found a few different guys and kept it going. In 2013, we got signed and made a more national and international name. Since then, we’ve had several records leading up to our latest, Carnal, which will be out June 28th. We’re so pumped!

MGM: Excellent! I have to say, our magazine has been around since 2008. One of the first records we reviewed from your band was back in 2010 with “The Few Not Fleeting”. It was still pretty early for you guys, but my writer gave it a perfect score. That’s actually how I started listening to your music.

Mark: That’s awesome! I remember touring around that time. We really kept things regional to grow the buzz there and get people excited. It’s great that you found out about us back then. I still like that record and put it on from time to time. There are some good jams on it.

MGM: That leads me to one of my questions. You always get asked about your progression from earlier records to where you are now. What do you recall from the recordings of that earlier record compared to now?

Mark: Both that record and this new record are similar for opposite reasons. Up until that point, we had been working with producers, but we decided to self-produce. Fleeting was self-produced, as were the self-titled, Stories We Tell Ourselves, and Spirits. Now, with Carnal, we’re working with a producer again for the first time since then. We found Drew Fulk, also known as Wizard Blood, and hit it off immediately. He’s great at mediating when we have disagreements and is lightning-fast in production. At this stage in our lives, we have other commitments and don’t have as much time, so working with a producer has been a great help.

MGM: Two follow-ups: How does one get a nickname like Wizard Blood?

Mark: I don’t even remember the story, to be honest. I think I asked him the same question, and his answer made sense at the time, but I’ve totally forgotten it now.

MGM: And you mentioned you have a kid as well. Balancing family and music must be a challenge.

Mark: Absolutely. I’m married, and my son is 11. He’s starting middle school next year. We all have other commitments, but we know what we’re doing after 20 years. It doesn’t take us as long to get where we need to go with writing and recording.

MGM: Let’s talk about the new record, Carnal. I’ve listened to the promo a few times. Your songs always have these great anthems that play well live. “House on Sand” has a great chorus, and “If It Doesn’t Hurt” is a deep, catchy song. Can you talk about the lyrics for “If It Doesn’t Hurt”?

Mark: Absolutely. We usually start with how everyone’s feeling in a session. Someone shares something, and it starts a conversation. For this song, the line “It doesn’t hurt at all, and it doesn’t mean a thing” stood out. It’s about failed relationships and holding on to hope, which can be a different kind of pain. It’s a really sad, desperate place to be, but sometimes you just have to let go. Breakup songs connect because they’re relatable, and people need them during tough times.

MGM: That’s one of the reasons fans connect with your music. It’s relatable and raw. “Angel” is another standout song with David Draiman from Disturbed. “Freefall” and “Existential Dread” are also excellent. Can you talk about “Existential Dread”?

Mark: That song started with riffs we wrote back in 2019. We couldn’t figure out the verse or chorus, so we put it to sleep for a while. In late 2022, we revisited it and found new energy. The idea of existential dread, the fear of the inevitable, inspired the song. It’s about making the most of life despite that fear.

MGM: Your music is hard to categorize because you blend so many styles. For example, “Run For Your Life” has a trippy vibe, almost like Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. How do you feel about interludes in your songs?

Mark: They absolutely play a part in the bigger concept of the album. Some of our favorite records take this approach. It’s about the ride, the ebbs and flows of the listening experience. Interludes help break up the album and give the listener a break. We try to reinforce themes and motifs lyrically and conceptually with the record.

MGM: Let’s talk about your influences. You mentioned Dream Theater earlier. Who else has influenced your guitar playing?

Mark: When I first started, I was a big Mark Tremonti guy. I learned all of Metallica’s songs. I studied classical guitar in college and loved composers like Leo Brouwer. Mike Einziger from Incubus was a big influence, as well as Joey Eppard from the band Three. Modern progressive rock bands like Karnivool and Dead Letter Circus also inspire me. We try to absorb good aspects of all music and put our spin on it.

MGM: Interesting. One of our original writers was from Australia, and he introduced me to a lot of great progressive bands from there. Let’s talk about your live performances. I’ve seen you a couple of times, and your shows are electric. You give 120% every time. How do you keep that energy?

Mark: We don’t believe in filler or mailing it in. It’s important for us to put on a good show, challenge ourselves musically, and keep it fresh and exciting for the fans and ourselves. It can be hard when you’re playing the same set for weeks, but you have to search for new ways to keep it interesting.

MGM: Your live shows definitely resonate with fans. They connect with your energy. Do you have any songs that surprised you with how well they were received?

Mark: Absolutely. “This Is The Time” is our closer, and none of us thought it would do what it did. It became the song that introduced us to the world. “I’ll Be Okay” and “Fade In Fade Out” are other songs that connected with fans in ways we didn’t expect. “Fade In Fade Out” especially resonates with families. It started as a personal song for me when my son was in utero, but it became so much more.

MGM: That’s a great story. Congratulations on “Go To War” going gold. That’s impressive in today’s music industry.

Mark: Thank you so much. We’re really stoked about that. It was a shock and a blessing when it happened.

MGM: Thanks for your time, Mark. The new record comes out on the 28th on Better Noise Records. I know people are going to love it. I wish you guys continued success and hope to catch you on the road soon.

Mark: Absolutely. Don’t be a stranger. Let’s get a beer together.

MGM: Sounds good. Take it easy.

Mark: Take care. Much love. Bye.

 

https://nothingmore.ffm.to/carnal

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