Nothing More is flying high with two amazing sets from ShipRocked 2023. Before the cruise, we chatted with bassist Daniel Oliver who spoke candidly about their latest record “Spirits.” The band kicks off the “Spirits” tour on March 31st in Richmond, Virginia, and it runs through May 6th in Phoenix, Arizona. Supporting acts on the tour include Crowd The Empire and Thousand Below.
In part one of our interview with Oliver he spoke about crazy tour stories welding and much more. Check out part two with Nothing More’s bassist Daniel Oliver below:
What was the process of working on your latest album, “Spirits”?
“Spirits” began pretty much like how the other albums began. We have Mark (Vollelunga). Mark’s kind of a magical musical generator, and usually, most of the songs will start with just a riff that he’s come up with. There are other starting places. We’ll start from programming ideas that Jonny has, sometimes even just lyrics.
But this time, me, Mark and Ben got together in San Antonio for about six weeks before we really got Jonny involved. Just going through some pre-recorded riffs and things like that, just trying to put together about 12 to 15 musical ideas that are complete, that you could call verses, choruses and bridges.
After we did that, we brought Jonny in, and started adding lyrics and melody to it. We just kind of start chopping the songs up as we went to fit the lyrics and melody, and trying to think from there. After we got all the demos made, we did all the real drums in a big, professional studio to get the right room sound.
For this album, we cut all the drums at Sonic Ranch in El Paso and that’s where things kind of changed. We were self-producing this record, which we’ve done on the last two, but for this one, we were split up for most of it. Jonny was in Baton Rouge, Ben, our drummer, in Phoenix, and me and Mark were in San Antonio.
After we got all the drums down, we took on all the rest of the production. Mark and I did all the guitar stuff. I did all the bass stuff with him in his garage. Jonny did the vocals separately. Some of them he did by himself in Baton Rouge but he also did a lot of them with a guy named Sahaj Ticotin. He’s the lead singer of the band Ra and that was really cool to work with them.
Going in to write a record, you know what you’re going to do, but you really have no clue what is going to happen from start to finish. Anything can happen. The songs change a bunch. Nothing really ever stays the same from when we started to its completion.
I think it’s interesting that you guys write all the record as a whole band, it’s collaborative and kind of equal among everyone.
Thank you. I met Sahaj for the first time a couple of weeks ago. I got this great video of him saying how annoying it was to work with us because of how conscientious Jonny was of all of his other band members when it came to the lyrics because we do write all the lyrics together. (Laughing)
So, when they were cutting the vocals, they’re changing stuff and they’re calling us. We’re getting on these like four-way, five-way Zoom calls to change sentences and songs. But at the end of the day, that is harder to do because it’s more filters. And if someone has a problem with something, then you have to potentially write it again. But I think at the end of the day, it absolutely makes for a stronger album.
Do you have a favorite song to play live off the album?
Off this one, definitely “Tired of Winning.” I mean, we’ve only played a couple of songs. I guess we’re playing four songs off of it now at shows. And yeah, it’s true, “Winning” is my favorite. It has a lot of interesting bass stuff, like a lot of bass chords and I’m playing in an alternate tuning.
Tell me about the group’s #LoveMeans campaign.
It just kind of a campaign to spread positivity as the simplest way to do it. And I really like that take on things, because most of the time when we’re writing songs, most songs come from a negative place, especially when it comes to writing songs about love. Often, it’s just nothing but negativity. We know what love is and we’ve defined that really well. So on this one, we wanted to do something different and I think it’s neat.
Something happened to me the other day at one of the last shows on tour. It was just like a great example of this campaign. I was hanging out with a friend of mine. She’s a crime scene investigator for the Kansas City Police and we’re hanging out after the show.
We got on a couple of scooters and went to a diner to grab burgers for everyone. We got to the diner and one of her colleagues, another cop on patrol, was hanging out outside. While we were just standing there talking to him. This guy’s truck gets robbed and these guys were all upset.
They thought the thieves stole the dude’s stereo. Anyway, the cop goes away, talks to him for a minute, comes back and starts talking to us again, and he’s kind of telling us what’s happening. The people are obviously upset because they know that there’s likely no recovering their things.
But this cop just straight up offered these guys his subs. He was like, “I have a couple of subs at my house. You know, they’re not doing anything. I was just going to put them on Craigslist, but they’re yours. I’ll have my girlfriend drop them off right now.” And he did.
I thought that was the most remarkable thing. Could you imagine it’s 1 a.m. and you’re a police officer standing outside of the diner? There’s just drunk people everywhere. Like what level of seriousness or care would you give to that crowd? It just really spoke to me.
He went out of his way to give up something that he did love just to help someone. It’s not anything serious, you know? It’s just subwoofers, but still, it was amazing. I think we’ve all kind of become enemies in a way, you know? And when someone is in need, our first reaction is almost a retract. And it’s really just cool to see that we shouldn’t be doing that, like under no circumstance should we be doing that.