Photo: Fox Beach
nothing,nowhere. is a rare blend. He's a vegan rapper to start, on top of being covered in tattoos which he uses to hide his face in photos. A minimalist in most things, from artwork, to production, to music video style, it seems that his Spotify bio, "it is what it is," accurately sums it all up. nothing,nowhere.'s latest album ruiner is drawing major attention, already having amassed millions of streams two months after release – so clearly this guy is going to be somethingbig,somewhere. Get it?
We sat down with him to catch up on his crazy life and dig a little deeper into the mystery that is nothing,nowhere.
OTW: You were raised in Massachusetts but also spent your summers in Vermont – how has that influenced your musical preferences? What kind of music did you grow up listening to? I'm aware that you were in a few bands growing up.
I think growing up, there was a strong scene in New England and Massachusetts specifically. There were always small VFW shows to go to, and it seemed like everyone you knew was trying to start a hardcore band or something. I had a group of friends from the skatepark and all we would do is talk about new bands that we found on pure volume or myspace. It was a great place to grow up… there was a lot skating and jamming at friends houses.
OTW: How did you begin rapping? Who are some early rap artists that drew your attention to the genre?
I had a couple of friends who rapped (shouts out to Duke Washington and E aka Young Pharaoh). I remember I played a show with E and after the show we went to the local Dairy Queen. E made a deal with a guy in the parking lot that if he beat him in a freestyle battle, the other guy would have to buy his mixtape. Needless to say he won. It was insane how good he was at rapping and freestyling, I think I started writing raps the next day. Some artists I remember being interested in initially were: MF Doom, Del Tha Funky Homosapien, Atmosphere, De La Soul, Eminem, and then other artists like Gucci Mane or even OJ Da Juiceman. i was all over the place.
OTW: A lot of your fans have beautiful nothing,nowhere. inspired tattoos. Do you remember how you felt the first time that you saw a fan with a tattoo that YOU inspired? Do you have some personal favorites out of all of them?
It's hard to wrap my head around. They are all equally amazing, whether it's a logo, lyrics - or a reaper…I'm so humbled and honored to have such beautiful supporters. I can't believe I've had that type of impact on anyone.
Photo: Fox Beach
OTW: You donate a portion of each of your merchandise's profit's towards the environmental nonprofit organization The Trust for Public Land – can you tell us how you got into that? What made you start donating?
I grew up in a very outdoors oriented family. We would go on hikes and go camping all of the time. I have just always been infatuated by nature and it's sort of been a natural anti depressant for me. I feel centered and at peace whenever I'm in the woods, and I want to protect these places.
OTW: I think it's important to point out that in an industry plagued with drugs and alcohol, you're a straight-edged vegan. What inspired this specific lifestyle?
I just grew up seeing the negative impacts that drugs and alcohol had on people. I never was into the culture of substances and I figured out from a young age that I would rather seek healthier alternatives and ways to have fun - so I got into music and skateboarding. At the end of the day, people are free to do whatever they want to do - that's the human experience, I just chose not to get into that stuff. I got into veganism in 2012 after watching a lecture by Gary Yourofsky. It really resonated with me, and then I read about the environmental impact of the standard American diet versus a plant based diet, and it was sort of a no brainer for me.
OTW: Has your recording process changed at all since your last interview with us back in 2015? Do you still forget to eat or leave the basement for extended periods of time?
It's pretty much the same process honestly; the only difference is that now after I record the songs in my basement, I'll take them to a studio after sometimes and re-record on something nicer than my $200 dollar mic. And pretty much…same basement, still forgetting to eat…classic.
OTW: Before you began your music career, you had an interest in filmmaking and attended film school in Vermont at Burlington College. You actually won a number of awards with your films One Day and Watcher at The Vermont International Film Festival and the Cannes Film Festival in France. Is that something you're still interested in? Do you have any big film projects in mind for the future?
I'm always interested in film. I would love to make a feature film at some point and create the music score for it. Whenever I can find the time, that is. We will see.
OTW: There are some pretty big fans of your music in the emo and rock genre, namely Chris Carrabba of Dashboard Confessional who featured on your song "Hopes Up" and Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy, who eventually signed you to his label. Have these relationships changed your outlook on the industry in any way? How has the whole experience been with these two powerhouses?
It's just nice to meet your idols and have them exceed your expectations. Chris and Pete are the nicest guys ever, and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to converse and create with them. They have been through it all, and they are always down to give me advice and guidance.
Photo: Fox Beach
OTW: People credit you for bridging the gap between modern day trap and emo alongside a number of other talented artists such as Lil Peep, Shinigami, Lil Lotus, and more. Is this something that you've been consciously working towards or did it come naturally while creating your own sound?
In my opinion, I'd say within the Soundcloud realm, the first one to ever actually post the emo influenced "trap" sound was Bones and Teamsesh. In terms of my own music - I'm not sure. I've always experimented with the blending of genres since I was around 13 years old. It just took me a while to get the confidence to post any of it.
OTW: Soundcloud artists tend to catch a lot of flak by people around the world. As an artist that emerged from the Soundcloud space, do you find yourself trying to escape from the "Soundcloud Artist" label?
I feel like i was always pretty removed from being "in" the Soundcloud scene. I mostly just used it as a platform to put my music out into the world. I feel like a lot of Soundcloud has sort of become a meme, and all you can do about it is laugh I guess.
OTW: You've had a busy year with your first North American headline tour and signing with Fueled By Ramen. What's next on the list for you?
I think i'll just make a ton of new music, play some shows and work on my garden. Just trying to take it one day at a time.
OTW: Who are some of your Ones to Watch (up and coming artists)?
Bogues, Juice WRLD, Lil West, Sanction, Sheck Wes.
Can't get enough of nothing,nowhere.? Watch his interview with our sister blog, The NOISE, below: