“After every song we rehearse, I just look at my bandmates and laugh, because I’m not used to playing music this heavy live,” Joseph Mulherin tells me, prepping for a run of US shows supporting Wage War under his nothing, nowhere. moniker.
The heaviness he refers to is a common occurrence on his newly released album VOID ETERNAL, which leaves the sombre guitar loops of his lo-fi, Soundcloud-dwelling hip-hop behind, ushering in smashing drum patterns and heavy riffs. Joseph is still as versatile as ever behind the microphone, toggling through an array of raps, screams, and ear-catching melodies alongside guest appearances from legends like Pete Wentz (‘CYAN1DE’) and upcoming prospects like Static Dress (‘F0RTUNE_TELLER’).
To learn more about the album and this evolution in the nothing, nowhere. sound, Joseph and I talked through the benefits of recording music at home, why dark music provides comfort, and how the scenery of his Vermont residence lead to his hardest-hitting record yet.
Congrats on the new album! How are you feeling about the release?
I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I spent a year writing this record in my own studio, which is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. It felt like I was a point in my career where I had the resources and connections to do it finally. So overall, I’m feeling pretty great.
Did recording this album at home, in a studio you built in your barn, alter your creative process in any way?
It was like a protective blanket from outside influences and distractions. There were no sirens or people arguing outside my window; it allowed me to lock in fully. Ideas would appear out of thin air, and that sort of seclusion gave me the opportunity to catch them. I don’t think I’m going to record anywhere else from now on.
I feel like there’s a sense of isolation when you’re creating and working at home. How do you come to a point where you’re confident in what you’re making, when this new process is so insular?
I know a song is good when I don’t have to second-guess it. If there are any “I don’t know” feelings, the song doesn’t make the record. If I can listen to something I’ve made 20 times before I’ve even exported it, I know that’s the one that I’m confident in. Starting out, I struggled with impostor syndrome, and I found it hard to have any self-confidence in general. I’ve learnt how to look at my music objectively, and that allows me to determine whether or not something rips.
Speaking of impostor syndrome, I feel like we all have a voice in our head that tries to diminish anything we create or achieve in life, especially coming into a place of success like where you are now. How do you quieten that internal detractor?
I think I’m just really fortunate to have a close network of friends and family. I’m really blessed to have a supportive mum and dad. I’ve had those thoughts wondering whether all of this is a fluke, but I have people around to remind me that I’ve been at this in my room since I was 12, practising guitar and recording ideas. It took me a while to listen to my peers and realise that I do deserve this. I can appreciate my position now, and the hard work I put in to get here because this wasn’t an overnight thing. Also, I credit a lot of my current state to therapy, because I learnt that these distortions I have about myself is something that everybody goes through.
You’re currently based in Vermont, which scenery-wise, is beautiful and calm. What is it about this setting that led you to making your heaviest album yet?
For all the beauty that exists here in Vermont, it also gets down to -40°, which is insanely cold. Also, I’m fascinated by American History, particularly the Salem Witch Trials that happened in New England around the time of the Puritans. Just last October, I went down to Salem and looked at all the historical sites, and they all had this really dark, ominous aura. Seeing my surroundings through those lenses lends itself to writing heavier stuff because New England has an eerie history.
I feel like as people, we try to surround ourselves with scenery that we associate with something we love, or a memory we hold dear. With that in mind, what is it about you that prefers living in the cold?
I grew up going to the mountains with my dad. Before I even knew how to walk, I was skiing. It’s just in my DNA; I can walk outside in the coldest of temperatures with a smile on my face. That sort of weather forces you to really be in the moment. Not every day in life is sunny. Much like the weather, our emotions go through seasons.
Referring to the album title, what is it that made you want to explore this idea of an eternal void?
You know, I can’t say this album offers any sort of introspective answers to any existential questions. It really is me putting all my negative energy, doubts, and darker parts of my consciousness into the songs. It led me to explore the thought that besides human existence, is just an eternal void of nothingness. I wish there was something more for me to say that refers to the fact that everything is going to be all good, but that isn’t the case. As humans, we don’t really have the capacity to grasp things like this. It’s normal to be scared and uncertain, and sometimes the best course of action is to scream those thoughts into a microphone.
I also feel like in shouting those thoughts, your unfiltered expression and vulnerability help others keep that lurking feeling of the void away.
That’s a really great point. I have noticed on tour, running into the fans that we perform to, that it does help people. I’ve always listened to sad or dark music because I don’t want to hear somebody tell me everything is going to be okay, I want someone to tell me that everything is fucked up, but that it’s okay because everyone is going through the same thing you’re going through. It’s cool to be in this position where I can present my fucked up thoughts, and have people relate to them.
Just lastly my friend, how do you want to spend the rest of 2023?
I think I’m touring until Christmas, so my year is booked up! Other than that though, it’ll be nice to find moments to relax, maybe hang out with my chickens back at home. I don’t even know what free time is anymore, but that’s okay, because it means I’m doing something right.
Interview by Henry Owens @woahhenny
Stream VOID ETERNAL here
nothing,nowhere – VOID ETERNAL tracklisting
2. TRAG3DY (FT. WILL RAMOS OF LORNA SHORE)
3. PSYCHO_PSYCHIATRY (FT. SEEYOUSPACECOWBOY)
6. THIRST4VIOLENCE (FT. FREDDIE DREDD & SILVERSTEIN)
7. CYAN1DE (FT. PETE WENTZ)
9. F0RTUNE_TELLER (FT. STATIC DRESS)
10. M1SERY_SYNDROME (FT. BUDDY NIELSEN OF SENSES FAIL)
11. VEN0M (FT. UNDEROATH)