When Joe Mulherin was first starting out as Nothing, Nowhere he worked with producer John Feldmann, who mentioned that Travis Barker really liked his stuff. "I didn't believe him. Like, no one's heard of me," he explains. A few years later, and with more mutual friends in their social circles, Joe heard that Travis wanted to work with him. "It was a no brainer. I showed up at his studio in LA, and he was even more chill than I thought he was going to be. We just made music for hours. It went so well I went back. And I kept going back. I even went out to see him while he was on tour with blink-182 and we'd be recording in his green room. It was sick." They didn't set out to make an EP, but this month they're releasing their collaborative 'Bloodlust' EP.
Inspired "by a little bit of everything" it sees Nothing, Nowhere telling stories. "I was having dreams about being a vampire. I thought about killing your past self but framing it as actually killing someone. I just got burnt out from talking about me. I get tired of talking about my personal emotions. Even though music helps, sometimes I just need to take a break from myself, from my own brain, so I've been really into stories lately. Taking my emotions and putting them into someone else's story."
It follows two albums, 'Ruiner' and 'Reaper' that saw Joe tear himself apart in the spotlight and took him from no one knowing who he was, to opening for Fall Out Boy on tour and signing to Fueled By Ramen. Last year he cancelled a string of dates due to severe anxiety.
"It's a double-edged sword. It feels good initially to get these emotions out, but then, you play them every single night on stage. You've gotta talk about what you've made and what the inspiration behind the lyrics was. Right now, my mental health is chilling. I'm doing pretty good, so it was easiest for me to be like, I'm a creator, I'm an artist, and I want to tell stories. I want to take these feelings and put them into a character. I can talk about my past, and it still hits close to home, but I can take a step back."
Nothing, Nowhere can still be as honest, as vulnerable and as real without giving every inch of himself away.
"I just realised within the past year or so that I don't have to write every song like it's a therapy session. And that's probably a good thing. I got it out of my system. Believe me. Anyone who's listened to 'Reaper' or 'Ruiner' knows. I've always been about experimentation and right now, I'm having the most fun ever experimenting."
And he's just going to keep playing and adventuring.
"I feel like once people hear 'Bloodlust', they'll understand that it sounds nothing like anything I've done before. And the next album or whatever comes out next, that's going to sound nothing like 'Bloodlust', and it's going to keep going. I look up to David Bowie; I look up to Prince, I look up to The Cure. None of their material ever sounded the same. And if it did, they wouldn't be as legendary as they are now.
"I'm not saying that's my end goal, but that's what keeps music fresh, and that's what keeps me sane. I have so many songs that I cannot wait for people to hear. I know 100% that the songs people haven't heard yet, whether that's 'Bloodlust' or whether it's the stuff that's coming after, they're the best artistic endeavours I've ever been involved in."
Later this year, he's touring America with Grandson on their 'The End Of The Beginning' run.
"His music is awesome, and it's really important right now. He's not afraid to say exactly what's on his mind and I'm not either, it's just in different realms, so I feel like it works. There's no sugarcoating in my music. There's no sugarcoating in Grandson's music. We just tell it like it is. And anything goes. He could put out a metal song, and then he could put out a reggae song, and it'd make sense. I'd like to think I could do the same too. That's what's fun about music; you just do what you want to do. As soon as you tell everyone that you're this or you're that, then you kinda put the nail in your own coffin."
"I just hope my music helps people," he continues. "I hope if they can take anything away from my music, it's just to be yourself, as corny as that sounds. Don't be afraid to speak out and say exactly what's on your mind. You've only got one life, so do what you want to do. Say what you want to say. Otherwise, before you know it, you'll find yourself on your deathbed, and it'll be too late."
Taken from the October issue of Upset. Nothing, Nowhere's new EP 'Bloodlust' is out 27th September.
Featuring blink-182, Of Mice & Men, The Faim, The Menzingers and more.