The classic whale penis switch-a-roo! This week’s guest on Discover New Music is Johnny Hawkins of Nothing More. The band’s latest album “Carnal” was a chance to get back to their heavy guitar-driven roots, reminiscent of the 2014 self-titled record. With star-studded colabs, a producing/mixing dream team and much more Johnny says this truly is Nothing More’s best album yet! Plus, Brock & Johnny Play a quick round of Rapid Fire that gets outta hand fast!

NOTHING MORE combines the cerebral and sublime. The music Jonny Hawkins, Mark
Vollelunga, Daniel Oliver, and Ben Anderson make together is primal, elemental, and even
carnal. Their foundation is heady and heavy, filled with creative nuance that rewards repeated
listens, while the catchy hooks always soar, intertwined in a delicious dance between
accessibility and experimentation.
They’ve already earned three GRAMMY nominations and two gold plaques along the journey.
2022’s SPIRITS, which produced songs like “YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT LOVE MEANS”
and the Top 5 smash “TIRED OF WINNING,” indulged the outer edges of NOTHING MORE’s
esoteric leanings without sacrificing melody. Two years later, CARNAL brings them full circle
with focused precision.
CARNAL harkens to their breakthrough 2014 self-titled set and the bombastic energy of songs
like “This is the Time (Ballast),” while powerful interludes and trippy transitions anchor it all
together. If SPIRTS was water, CARNAL is fire. NOTHING MORE sound biting, visceral, and
“We wanted to go back to our roots a little bit on this one and see what that sounds like in 2024,”
Hawkins explains. “SPIRITS was an introspective, deep dive. We wanted this one to feel
immediate. CARNAL is a bit harder and more guitar-driven. There’s still a lot of depth in the
musicality. We maintain the niche, fringe, progressive elements, but we also made sure every
chorus is a banger.”
Kerrang! named NOTHING MORE one of 22 Artists Shaping the Future of Rock, alongside
Nine Inch Nails, Twenty One Pilots, and Bring Me The Horizon. And frontman Hawkins, who
met guitarist Vollelunga before they were old enough to drive, appeared with Billie Joe
Armstrong, Dave Grohl, and Hayley Williams in the English tastemaker’s Top 50 Greatest
Rockstars in the World.
“A real rock star should be someone who is a leader of culture through music,” Hawkins
thoughtfully demurred when bestowed with the honor. “They steer the world in some direction.
They can shift people to think in a different way. For a long while now, there has been a void of
bands of substance. Now, people are coming out of hibernation. They want something
philosophically minded.”
“IF IT DOESN’T HURT” became NOTHING MORE’s next Top 10 single in early 2024.
CARNAL also boasts the big and vibey “ANGEL SONG” (featuring Disturbed’s David
Draiman). “STUCK” “is probably the heaviest song we’ve ever written,” Vollelunga says of the
CARNAL’s diverse tracklist. “On the other end of the spectrum, ‘DOWN THE RIVER is very
singer-songwriter. ‘FREEFALL’ is an emotional ride.”
Confessional authenticity and passion bind all the songs together. The lyrics sprang from a time
of upheaval in Hawkins’ life, which eventually saw the singer relocate from Louisiana to
Tennessee. “My life pretty much went through a full reset,” he explains. “Everything got turned
upside down.”
“IF IT DOESN’T HURT” and “FREEFALL” address that season of turmoil. So does “HOUSE
ON SAND,” which draws inspiration from the Old Testament story about Joseph’s “coat of
many colors” and the New Testament parable about the wisdom of building a home on rock vs
the folly of building on sand. “I kind of built my whole life around a person and circumstances,
and it all crumbled,” Jonny laments. “It was a huge learning lesson, which I think many people
go through at some point in their lives.”
Rather than self-produce, NOTHING MORE sought out a producer for the first time in years.
They hired fellow GRAMMY nominee Drew Fulk, aka WZRD BLD (Motionless In White, Ice
Nine Kills, Wage War), after a single meeting because the chemistry between the five of them
was just that good.
A handful of diverse collaborations further enhance CARNAL, including phonk star Sinizter
(“STUCK”), I Prevail’s Eric Vanlerberghe (“HOUSE ON SAND”), and Draiman on “ANGEL
SONG,” which touches on “the eternal struggle between the free and rebellious spirit of the
individual vs. the crushing entanglements of the inevitability of societal systems,” Hawkins
explains. “While some of those systems are necessary to some degree in a civilized society, there
is a point where they ensnare as many people as they help. This song taps into that rebellious,
free-spirited instinct or hope in us all.”
“GIVE IT TIME” and “DOWN THE RIVER” are unapologetic messages of hope. “Those songs
are for anyone who finds themselves in a worn out or beaten down point in their life,” says
Several interludes appear throughout – “| CARNAL |,” “| HEAD |,” “| HEART |,” “| SIGHT |,”
and “| SOUND |,” which mirror the icons and psychometric markers Hawkins used to build his
SPIRITS TEST. The 25-question quiz is a meta personality test inspired by the Myers-Briggs
personality test, the “Big 5” personality traits, the Enneagram, the work of Alan Watts, and a bit
of the Zodiac and spirituality.
Oliver hails SPIRITS as “probably the most progressive record we’ve released – dense songs
with lots of musical exploration, which has always been a big part of the band. Everyone fears
that a producer will make things too straight-ahead. But I’m doing a lot with effects on my bass,
letting it carry some of the grit. The musical identity of NOTHING MORE wasn’t neutered.
CARNAL is just focused.”
Similarly, Vollelunga points out that the progressive element was there from the beginning, with
a rhythmic crunch akin to Tool or Rage Against The Machine and a love for huge melodies.
“Jonny and I started jamming 20 years ago,” the guitarist recalls. “We played around town
locally in San Antonio. When Dan joined, he encouraged us to play outside of our city. We
became a ‘real’ band.”
Club shows, DIY releases, and a “battle of the bands” victory that landed them a few dates on the
Vans Warped Tour in 2007 gave NOTHING MORE the space to forge their unique identity.
Hawkins switched from drums to singing before 2009’s The Few Not Fleeting. Buzzed about
performances at major festivals earned the attention of Better Noise, who reissued 2013’s
self-titled album in 2014.
Songs like “Here’s to the Heartache” and gold-single “Jenny” made early splashes on the radio
before “This is the Time (Ballast)” became the No. 1 song of the decade on Sirius XM Octane.
2017’s The Stories We Tell Ourselves produced the Top 10 single “Do You Really Want It?” and
earned three Grammy noms, including Best Rock Album, Rock Performance, and Rock Song
(for the gold-certified “Go to War”).
Crowds who’ve seen Hawkins wrestle with the band’s self-made 14-foot-tall Scorpion Tail Midi
controller attest to NOTHING MORE’s uniquely immersive power. They’ve earned new acolytes
on the road with hard rock titans, including Shinedown, Five Finger Death Punch, Breaking
Benjamin, Papa Roach, In This Moment, and co-headliners Asking Alexandria. The Guardian
observed: “There’s a sophistication to NOTHING MORE’s angst that raises them above the
tumult-tossed pit.”
Musically, lyrically, and creatively, the band embodies determined evolution and a resilient spirit.
“It’s my time,” Jonny belts out in “Stuck.” “This is for the people who can’t break through / I
used to feel just like you.” He claims the next phase of his life with an anthem, encouraging
others to do the same.
NOTHING MORE charms and attracts fans of Linkin Park, Muse, Incubus, Deftones, and
like-minded acts that conjure genuine feelings with immediacy and integrity. Memorize the
arena-ready hooks. Get mesmerized by the intimate, communal live show. Dig deeper down the
rabbit hole into the work of philosophers and artists like Watts, Eckhart Tolle, and Carl Jung,
who inspire the band because there’s a place for every type of rock fan with NOTHING MORE.
Built to last, here to stay.