“Every one of these artists is in my Spotify Liked songs!"
(Pic by Jonathan Weiner)
Joe Mulherin, aka nothing,nowhere. has come a long way from his emo-rap beginnings. On his new album, Void Eternal, he couldn’t be further away from the lo-fi, trap music often littered throughout the genre.
His new record is far closer to Linkin Park - loud, dynamic, emotionally heavy - than anything quieter and more subtle. Yes, he’s a proud fan of the nu-metal legends and wears his many influences on his sleeve, but nothing he does feels contrived; it’s all real.
Upon announcing the record, Mulherin cited Linkin Park as a significantly influential band in his career, writing in a previous statement, “I want to be what bands like Linkin Park were to me. I want to provide that level of inspiration and comfort and I want to be a safe haven to a kid who is struggling. I made it exactly how I wanted to with zero outside influence. This is the purest expression I could put down in audio form. This is the music that made me, and I want to return the favour."
Signed to Fueled By Ramen, Void Eternal is a collection of Mulherin’s heaviest, boldest songs to date. One of those is the newest single, VEN0M featuring Underoath, which came out on the album’s release day (31 March). He said about the track, “VEN0M is about being in a mentally abusive relationship - not just with a person, but also with bad habits and negative thought patterns... a mentally abusive relationship with yourself.”
Mulherin continued, “I vividly remember writing this song not long after spending a night at a party in LA. As a sober and mostly introverted person who has never really been to parties, that was a hard time for me. I felt like an outcast and I felt overly self-critical in ways I didn’t know possible.
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"I’ve always had trouble fitting in, and in that moment, I was 13 years old again, unsure of myself and where I fit in the world. I hope people can hear this and realise that these thoughts are universal and that your self-perceived shortcomings are often what make you unique.”
VEN0M follows a string of ripper singles, including THIRST4VIOLENCE featuring Freddie Gredd and Silverstein, CYAN1DE featuring Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy, and M1SERY_SYNDROME featuring Buddy Nielsen of Senses Fail. Other collaborators include Will Ramos from Lorna Shore, SEEYOUSPACECOWBOY and Static Dress. In other words, a majority of this album is heavy as hell.
Nothing,nowhere. recently toured Australia for the first time and calls it an “amazing experience.” Chatting over Zoom a few days before the release of Void Eternal, the man behind the music and the ideas shares, “Australia is an amazing place - it’s somewhere I’ve wanted to visit for a long time.
"I was just so interested in everything - the culture, the climate, and the weird animals,” he laughs. Having such a positive debut Australian tour was beyond Mulherin’s expectations. The audiences took the experience to a whole new level.
“When we played the new songs live, there was such a massive shift in energy, and it was really reassuring for me because as soon as we played a song like THIRST4VIOLENCE, the crowd would just go crazy,” he says, beaming. “It was really special to see because I definitely wrote this album with the live aspect in mind. And Australia was the first place to hear the songs, and they loved it.”
Bringing his visions to life on Void Eternal - the callbacks to Linkin Park, the sonic diversity and all - was inevitably challenging, but Mulherin was too excited about the journey to let any hurdles get in the way.
“I approach the challenge with a natural, flow kind of perspective. I try not to overthink things and let ideas come to me naturally,” Mulherin explains. He can’t quite explain where the ideas come from, they almost come from some out-of-body figure.
“I don't take credit for any of the ideas or anything that I do, they just come from somewhere in space, then I'll try to be a conduit for them and catch those ideas whenever I can. Music, for me, is an escape from reality.”
Music has always been an escape for Mulherin. He recalls playing the guitar as a kid and allowing music to soundtrack his life while seeing doctors about anxiety and depression. “I distinctly remember them [doctors] asking me, ‘is there a time in your day-to-day life where you feel like you have less anxiety or you don't have anxiety?’ And I was like, ‘yeah, when I'm playing music.’”
He continues, “I remember my doctor at the time was like, ‘well, keep playing music because that's telling you that music helps.’ I definitely never forgot that, so I'm just really grateful that I have an outlet to use as catharsis, and I really sympathise with people who maybe haven't found that outlet yet.”
Music, to Joe Mulherin, is everything. It’s the equivalent of having a soulmate; “it’s medicine. That’s why the alternative music community is such a tight-knit thing,” he says, knowing full well that every person in the alternative music community likely shares similar feelings. But, how many people are lucky enough to collaborate with their idols who happen to be their ‘liked’ artists on Spotify?
“I had a relationship with a lot of the artists on the record already. And I just went, ‘nice, these are great people on the record.’ But the thing that ties it together is I'm just a fan of all of these artists on my record,” Mulherin states, floored by each different artist showing a different side of their abilities on his album.
“I think any musician can relate - like, who do you want on your record? You know, who doesn’t want people that you admire, you look up to, and people who inspire you?,” he continues. “Every one of these artists is in my Spotify Liked songs [laughs]. I was like, ‘What's the coolest music that I like to listen to?’ And then I reached out to them and was like, ‘Hey, you want to get on this record?’ And thankfully, everyone was down and excited to be a part of it.”
Void Eternal was created in Mulherin’s home barn studio in Vermont. He was comfortable in his introverted tendencies, and it became his “favourite recording process yet,” Mulherin says.
“Previously, I would demo at my house, but I would end up going to LA or New York City to record, and I'm not a city person,” he admits (“And I be alone/Introverted leave me alone/The trees they be telling me stories” he sings on F0RTUNE_TELLER featuring Static Dress).
He adds, “I prefer it out in the woods; it's just easier. It feels like you can really focus - there's no distractions, no cars, and no road rage incidents happening right outside your window… it just allows you to fully tap into whatever you're trying to tap into.
"I'm really grateful to be in a position where I built my own studio, and I don't think I will ever go to any other studio. I think they're gonna have to drag me out now; that's how it's gonna be,” Mulherin laughs, but something tells me he’s serious about that.
Like many who have enjoyed flexible working conditions since the Covid-19 pandemic, Joe Mulherin has embraced new ways of working. He seems uninterested in the music industry's glitzy sides - it is about simply writing authentic songs for him. But he’s also come a long way since releasing his breakthrough fourth record, Trauma Factory, which he didn’t have the chance to tour as it was released in February 2021. Mulherin had to relearn things like touring.
“It's funny, sometimes when we start rehearsing or something, I'll go on YouTube and look at old videos of me performing, and I really cringe at how rough some of those performances are. It's kind of trial by fire, you know, and I had to learn how to perform and how to be a performer and what that means,” he shares. How do you find your way through uncertainty?
“When Trauma Factory dropped during the pandemic, I didn't really know what would happen,” he admits. “But as soon as we started playing the first shows, I was like, ‘Oh, we went up a level; it's just completely different’. Going somewhere across the entire planet, like Australia, and having 1,000 kids or so know all the words, jumping off stage and running into each other is an amazing feeling.”
nothing,nowhere.’s new album, Void Eternal, is out now. You can listen to it here.