To follow-up their stellar debut, Guilty Of Everything, Philadelphia-based quartet Nothing was originally set to put out Tired Of Tomorrow, their highly-anticipated sophomore effort through Geoff Rickly’s independent label, Collect Records. As news began to spread nationally of former Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO, Martin Shkreli, this past fall—who increased the price of Daraprim, a drug used to treat AIDS and cancer patients, from $13.50 to $750—it was revealed that Shkreli was also a silent investor for Collect Records.
Faced with a moral dilemma and an immediate sense of shock and outrage in response to Shkreli’s devious price gouging, both Geoff Rickly and Collect Records, in support with their artists involved, severed all ties and associations with Shkreli completely. After terminating their contract with Collect Records, Nothing regrouped to eventually re-sign with Relapse Records in December, with the intentions to put out Tired Of Tomorrow in the spring.
For Nothing, releasing Tired Of Tomorrow was a personal weight off their shoulders. In the midst of the chaos that the band had to endure leading up to its release, Tired Of Tomorrow proved to be a well-received success. With leading singles like “Vertigo Flowers,” “ACD (Abcessive Compulsive Disorder)” and “Eaten By Worms,” Nothing’s alluring delivery continues engages listeners with a heavily fuzzed-out sound that blissfully replicates the influence of ’90s shoegaze, grunge and alternative rock.
A few days after Nothing celebrated the official release of Tired Of Tomorrow in May, I had the pleasure of talking to guitarist and frontman Domenic “Nicky” Palermo about having the album finally see the light of day, the band’s transition back to Relapse Records, and Nothing’s summer tour with Culture Abuse and Wrong. Palermo also shared his take on seeing bands and colleagues who are categorized under the genre-label, “shoegaze.”
First off, I’d like to congratulate both you and the band for officially releasing Tired Of Tomorrow. How does it feel for this record to finally see the light of day?
It’s a great feeling. It was a bit of a blur, but it’s really nice. So now, I’m finally back to reality again.
After all of the headaches, stress, and unpredictable turn of events that unfolded leading up Tired Of Tomorrow’s release, what would you say is the most rewarding experience of seeing how well this album has been received?
I think ultimately, the most rewarding thing is just seeing the record, like you said, see the light of day. There were so many speed bumps and roadblocks that it started to feel like someone was submerging us under water, and trying to drown the whole band to extinction. Every turn you think you would get past something, there was another fucking thing. Just having this record come out, and then having it be successful as it’s been so far, it feels nice to fight through the adversity.
When it came down to re-signing to Relapse Records, what was the transition like coming back to the label? With the supportive relationship that you’ve had with them since releasing Guilty Of Everything in 2014, how did Relapse help make Tired Of Tomorrow’s release a comfortable and stress-free process for you?
I mean, we had offers from other labels. As soon as we were finally able to get the record out of the hands of Martin Shkreli, and with a lot of help from [founder of Collect Records] Geoff Rickly, we had another important decision to make. It was an important one because there was definitely a lot of variables, you know?
A lot of labels wanted to do it, but there were time restrictions—you know, this is out of the blue, and we have record that is done and ready to go, but they [the labels] had other things lined up on their schedule. There was unpredictability with a new label and lots of things like that, and for me, it was kind of a no-brainer to go back to a label that was ultimately pristine and perfect. I am very hands-on with this project. I always have been, and they’re [Relapse Records] the first people that I’ve worked with outside of myself or anyone in the band that offered opinions to me.
Whether it would be art direction or creative outlets or promotion and stuff like that, I felt like I can actually listen to [Relapse]. It’s usually like, “No, I don’t want to hear it.” But with Relapse, they have such a creative staff and team. They really do help and make my job a lot easier so I can focus more about music instead of being all over the place. Even though that’s never going to stop for sure.
Definitely! It seemed like it made a lot of sense for you to make the move back to Relapse Records. I can image it was a very natural process in the long run.
They’re the best people too, you know? It was just a pleasure doing the last record [Guilty Of Everything], and this record [Tired Of Tomorrow] was even better. They [Relapse] really went far beyond my expectations. They really believed in this music, and they really believed in the band since day one, so it honestly only made sense.
It was a little bit of a financial gain to leave [Relapse] in the first place to be perfectly honest. I had a conversation with Geoff at Collect Records—he really had his heart into it, and it seemed like, “Okay, if we’re going to roll the dice with anyone it’s going to be with this guy,” because he does really believe in what he’s doing, and he really believes in this band. It was like what Relapse did the first time—not to mention that there was a financial gain since we managed to get the record out. We’re all trying to eat out here, you know?
Right. Considering the amount of time that has past since putting out Guilty Of Everything, how do you think Tired Of Tomorrow reflects where the band stands right now, both musically and personally?
This thing has always been the same for me personally. It’s been a way for me to deal with the outside life, and everything that is not this band. Not to be like cliché or dramatic, but it’s sort of a diary, and it’s been that way for a while. Whatever I am going through, when I am at my worst, I try to dump it into this.
I mean, things change, influences change, and everything changes a bit, but at the same time, everything stays the same. That’s what this band has always going to be for me—a place for me stick all of this unwanted stuff that’s going on around me. Luckily, there’s no shortage of that, so I should be able to write some songs for a long time I think.
From a lyrical standpoint, are there any specific themes that have carried over from Guilty Of Everything? Or would you say that record sheds a lot of light on some of the inescapable tragedies that have surrounded the band more recently?
Yeah, Guilty Of Everything is my first real divulge back into songwriting and expressing what’s been going on in the past decade in a half in my life. My hardcore band [Horror Show] that was I was in, in the early 2000s, was very much the same thing, but just a different version of me. There was a big time-gap so Guilty Of Everything really packed into that part of my life that was missing.
Tired Of Tomorrow was potentially some of that originally, and then it kind of shifted after the last six months before we went to the studio. It began to have some new visions of what this record should be about, and it was very much in the now for sure.
While you’ve been classified as a “shoegaze” style band throughout the years, at this point, do you feel that Tired Of Tomorrow stands out in a way where critics may think of it as something more than just a “shoegaze”-influenced album?
I don’t know, I kind of hated the whole genre-tagging thing. I’ve been saying that since Downward Years To Come that Nothing isn’t a shoegaze band. People just have become in love with that term now that you see so many bands that aren’t shoegaze as well, calling themselves shoegaze. Of course, when all of these young kids are hearing bands like Turnover or a lot of Run For Cover Records bands that are our homies that get the “shoegaze tag.” So, the next thing that you know it, with Title Fight’s last record [Hyperview], which I really like, it seems that everyone was like, “Oh, Title Fight turned into a shoegaze band,” and it’s not shoegaze at all (laughs).
We have a lot of fans that crossed over from that genre as well as people that actually understand the original sets of shoegaze bands from the ’90s. They would the change from Guilty Of Everything to Tired Of Tomorrow, and would be like, “They’re not shoegaze anymore.” (Laughs) No, we were never a shoegaze band. Obviously, we have a lot of shoegaze influences, and there’s a lot of other influences too. There’s also ’90s alternative rock influences, there’s been grunge influences, and there’s punk rock influences and influence from everything, you know? This is a band that’s always been a mixture of things that inspired me, and I try to take as much as we possibly can because it’s inspirational to me. That’s what [guitarist] Brandon Setta and myself strive for.
Moving forward, now that the record is out, is there anything that you look forward to the most about your upcoming tour with Culture Abuse and Wrong to support the record?
I’m so excited. To me, it’s definitely the best tour that I’ve seen this year so far for bands our size. You’re really going to go in there, and there’s not going to be one boring part of that whole show. We toured with Wrong before. They play their set, a set that’s like 20 minutes long, and it feels like it doesn’t stop. It’s like you’re watching… I hate to say it because they’re way more than a Helmet cover band, but their record is unbelievable. It’s way heavier than Helmet than I could see.
I remember seeing them [Wrong] rip through a set for like 20 minutes, and just three-pieced it. They were just the heaviest fucking shit ever, and have to play after them and be like, “How the fuck am I going to play this set right now after just seeing that happen?”
Then, you got Culture Abuse, who just put out one of my favorite records of the past two years [Peach]. I love the last EP that they had on Bandcamp [The Day Dreams Of Nothing], and that’s why I reached out to them, and their new record is great too. I’ve yet to see them live yet, but I know that they put on a really good show as well; it’s wild. Then you have our old asses go up there and try to match up with this shit (laughs). It should be good. We’ll probably be the worst part of the tour (laughs).
Now that Tired Of Tomorrow is a completely fresh entity, what are your plans to support the record after this initial tour on this upcoming album cycle?
I think we’re just going to be play a whole lot of shows everywhere just like what we did the last time. We have this tour coming up, and it ends in mid-July. Then, we have Forecastle in Louisville, and we have Lollapalooza in Chicago, and also two shows that we haven’t announced right before Lollapalooza with a really, really fucking sick, awesome ’90s band that we’re going to be doing direct support for. We’ll probably have a couple of little plans in August, and go out to Europe in September or October. We’re hopefully working on going to Japan at the end of the year, so it’s going to be pretty busy I think.
Nothing is currently on the road with Culture Abuse and Wrong on selected dates. The band will be playing at Union Transfer in Philadelphia on July 8, the Bowery Ballroom in Manhattan on July 9, Market Hotel in Brooklyn on July 10 and at The Amphitheater At Coney Island in Brooklyn on July 15. Nothing’s sophomore full-length, Tired Of Tomorrow, is available on Relapse Records. For more information, go to bandofnothing.com.