On the radar: Nothing More

It should be writ large in every band's handbook: 'back thyself.'

"We'd approached labels before and it was always 'What can we do with it?'," says Mark Vollelunga, guitarist with San Antonio heavy rockers, Nothing More.

"We decided we would just keep going, build our fanbase and keep going back to places, because we believed in it. We did this last record on our own in pretty much every regard and we're really happy with it."

"A lot of people we've been involved with [in the past] have given off that, 'You gotta dumb it down'-vibe'"

That record is a self-titled fourth album that saw them get signed by Eleven-Seven, break the Billboard top 40, and score a hit with the awesomely infectious This Is The Time (Ballast). It's clever, original-sounding rock music - part Coheed, part Rage, part Fall Out Boy - that's not content to settle. But then this is a band that always does things their own way, even when it raises eyebrows.

"Dan [Oliver, bass] got this idea that he could get our van to run on vegetable oil," chuckles Mark. "Lo and behold, it was successful. We found Chinese restaurants are the best places to go, but most of the time they don't speak good English, so it's hard. It works out, though - most of the time they have to pay people to get rid of their grease!"

It's not just the eco van, even Nothing More's instruments are forward-thinking. Mark's recently been pairing his Axe-FX II with an Aristides 020, a guitar constructed with a man-made resin dubbed Arium. "They sent me one and I was blown away," says Mark. "I really thought I was gonna send it back, but I plugged it in and it's really perfect, which is crazy. It's such a great guitar."

It's a wonderful flouting of the rules of modern musicthat a band who, lyrically, challenge politics, organised religion and quote philosopher Alan Watts; play plastic guitars and drive a van that runs on used spring roll juice can be a chart success.

"A lot of people we've been involved with have given off that, 'You gotta dumb it down'-vibe," explains Mark. "But as a band have always believed there's a balance between commercial appeal and artistic integrity. And if it's bad-ass, then it's just bad-ass - you can't deny that!"

You'll see, er, a lot more of Nothing More, starting with their UK tour with The Pretty Reckless this month.

For fans of: Coheed And Cambria, Fall Out Boy
Hear: This Is The Time (Ballast)

Matt Parker

Matt is a freelance journalist who has spent the last decade interviewing musicians for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.