nothing,nowhere. AKA. Joe Mulherin has dropped his new album TRAUMA FACTORY. The Fueled By Ramen artist never leaves us long without new music but this is a particularly swift follow-up to last year’s one takes vol. 1. While that project was raw and unedited, TRAUMA FACTORY delivers the full expansive experience, beginning with a spoken word opus before opening up into rap, punk, emo, post-hardcore and more.
There’s plenty to unpack on this record from the modern rap influences to the early ‘00s pop-punk so we’re going to dissect it by looking at the influences. Below are the bands, genres and religions that are in the DNA of the new nothing,nowhere. album.
nothing,nowhere. projects have always been heavy but there’s a quiet optimism to this one that seems to be in part inspired by his interest in the notions of Buddhism. “The philosophy that human life is a trauma factory stems from my interest in Buddhism and accepting that human life is suffering,” he told New Noise Magazine. We’re aware that it sounds pretty bleak but it’s the next quote that encapsulates the essence of the project.
“But not seeing this in a bleak and hopeless way and finding peace in knowing that others are also suffering and everyone needs to support each other to help survive the emotional process of life."
Taking Back Sunday
Taking Back Sunday has been an influence for nothing,nowhere. since the very beginning. Taking Back Sunday were a potent force in the early ‘00s US rock scene and you can hear it on this album in the form of the rollicking drums and crunching guitars, particularly on songs like pretend. “Hearing their lyrics, which are so raw and vulnerable, assured me I was just going through life and not losing my mind,” he told New Noise Magazine about the band’s impact on him.
“I want people to hear my music and play that role in their life.”
Most emo-rap these days focuses heavily on the emo side without detouring too far into the heavier side of things. That’s exactly what sets nothing,nowhere. apart. He pushes himself into heavier pockets particularly on moments like death which combine Rage Against The Machine with the screamo of Alexisonfire. Mulherin noted the impact of Alexisonfire’s self-titled effort on Music Radar saying, "I just love the rawness, of this album...I love the screams, I love the fact it wasn't overly produced.”
American Football are a long-lasting influence of Mulherin’s. On nearly every album cycle, he’s noted the impact of the band and even covered them on last year’s one take. You can hear American Football’s sound in some of the gentler moments on the record. Barely bleeding, the stirring closer picks up on the band’s sweeping sound while the brooding, spoken-word opener features an atmospheric instrumental that harks back to them.
Into the hip-hop influence and there’s plenty to unpack. The late MF Doom is one of the most experimental and inventive rappers of our time fusing many different genres into his often dark music. The jazz influence is missing from TRAUMA FACTORY, but you can hear a fascination for the way Doom effortlessly pulls together sounds without setting a clear path.
nothing,nowhere. may have been around long before Juice WRLD rose to prominence but it’s hard to not acknowledge how much Juice grew the emo-trap sound. Mulherin has also been using elements of it since the start but it’s perhaps more prominent on TRAUMA FACTORY than ever. You can almost hear Juice hopping on a song like Lights (4444) or turning Crave into his own.
Fall Out Boy
It would’ve been hard to get through the early ‘00s without being influenced by Fall Out Boy. The appreciation between both acts is mutual. Mulherin has remixed Fall Out Boy’s Church while Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz has called nothing,nowhere. “a true alternative.” You can hear FOB’s appreciation for a slick melody on some of the more accessible pop-punk moments on the album like Fake Friend.
According to Mulherin, Barker was the reason he started playing instruments. The pair worked closely together on 2019’s collaborative EP BLOODLUST and if you’re a fan of that project, you’ll find plenty to enjoy on TRAUMA PROJECT. Pretend has the brooding energy of some of blink-182’s darker songs while we’d kill to hear Mark Hoppus offer up a verse on blood.
Last year, Hyperpop duo 100 Gecs teamed up with Fall Out Boy and offered a glimpse into the collision of hyperpop and punk-pop. “I’m loving it. I definitely have a hyperpop playlist,” Mulherin told Underground Underdogs and you can hear the influence in some of the more experimental beats like on pain place.
There are many parallels between the music of alternative artist Grandson and nothing,nowhere. which is perhaps why they made perfect tour buddies. Their music is bound together by its unfiltered fearlessness rather than genre. That’s why Mulherin can move from an emo-trap song into a post-hardcore track without any of his fans blinking an eyelid. “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,” Mulherin told Upset Magazine.