Where Is My Mind?: Nothing's Domenic Palermo
- by Q.D. Tran
If you didn’t know or haven’t listened already, Nothing
put out a fabulous new full-length album entitled Guilty of Everything
, which is also The Deli Philly’s March Record of the Month (you can read our review HERE
), via hometown independent powerhouse Relapse Records. I ran into the band’s frontman Domenic “Nicky” Palermo the other week after DIIV’s show at The Boot & Saddle, and suggested that we should do another interview together. It had been almost three years since our last one for his Suns and Lovers
release. He was down with it, and said that I “had to be able to come up with more interesting questions” than what he’s been getting lately. The pressure was on, but I was up for the challenge. I was pleased to get a message from Nicky the other day saying that he thought the questions were “great.” Mission accomplished! You can view our recent Q&A below.
The Deli: You’re a bit of a perfectionist. I’ve heard it before, and I remember sitting with you after a release show of yours. It was a successful evening, but you were upset about a cord not being plugged in correctly at the beginning of your set. Is it hard for you to be in the studio dealing with all the takes to choose from, and how do you deal with that process?
Domenic Palermo: The last time we hung out, I was sucking the life out of your small Jameson bottle in an alley in West Philly. That's probably the furthest thing from perfection. We took performance enhancing drugs to record this record - cigarettes and adderal and red wine. It made everything that was wrong super annoying no matter how small. It was hard to sleep. It was hard to wake up. It still is.
TD: You worked with producer Jeff Zeigler on this album. What did you learn from him that you’ll take with you into future recordings?
DP: Jeff is brilliant. His knowledge of equipment and sound and hot sauce is something that of a super alternative specie.
TD: Do you like performing live or recording more, and why?
DP: Anything that makes me feel like I'm not dealing with actual life or what life presents itself as is an easier breath to swallow.
TD: You said that you went back to some of your writings from prison, used some lines for the LP and thought a bunch of it was “bullshit.” What was the most ridiculous thing that you came across in them?
DP: I think some of it came across too dramatic. Everyone is a young writer at some point. I still feel as though I am. I was for sure at that time, and had too much heavy material on my hands. So I tried to get everything out at once, and just jumbled it all. I think I was trying to copy Camus too much in the early prison writings, and it just came out so wrong.
TD: From your interviews, you certainly paint a negative picture of how you see the world. What helps you get out of bed, or keeps you from blowing out your brains?
DP: I paint a cynical portrait, but try to avoid the unnecessary negativity. That just may be me trying to be a good person. I believe I can be, even though I truly believe that truly no one can be a good person.
TD: I noticed that people misspell your name a lot in interviews. Does that annoy you?
DP: It's got me into Canada so...
TD: What’s harder for you to do for a whole set - scream at the top of your lungs in a hardcore band or sing falsetto?
DP: The hardest thing has always been keeping this mouth closed.
TD: You said that you are fan of Slowdive, but you think Neil Halstead is “kind of a fucking cunt.” If you were booked on a bill with them, would you try and talk to him? If you could say one thing to him, what would it be?
DP: It was taken extremely out of context. In the interview, I talked about an email that had been sent to Neil asking to open for his solo act a couple years ago with a stripped-down acoustic set of Nothing songs from Brandon and myself, which we had done successfully before. The email was very flattering mentioning about how Neil's music, through several projects, had touched myself and gotten me through some of my toughest times. Further on, how much of an inspiration he and his projects have been, and how we'd be honored to open his show. We received a short response saying that they were straying away from anything that would be related to shoegaze, and they were on a different route. This struck me odd considering I had seen Mojave 3 and Neil several times, and he was always covering Slowdive songs. Not to mention - he is now finally successfully touring again with his shoegaze band only because a sudden scene of youths is bringing it to be relevant again. It was a cunt response. I'd probably say something like that to him. I'm still a fan.
TD: What inspired you to name the album Guilty of Everything?
DP: I was reading a bit of Herbert Huncke at the time. While the premiss of the record strays from anything in particular that he wrote, his life is another bucket of cement to throw in the foundation of what I was trying to convey with GOE. The earth is overcrowded with cancerous humans. We may be able to build and create and fuck and reproduce, but all we’re really doing is using, ruining, and reproducing. We’re all guilty, and we're all the same.
TD: In a previous interview with me, you said that you have always felt like you were “covered by a wet blanket of isolation.” That doesn’t sound like someone who would enjoy a job dealing with people. You help manage a few bars, which probably calls for a decent amount of social interaction. What helps you cope with your job?
DP: I'm pretty miserable at work, but people have grown to accept it. Sometimes being over the top cynical and pessimistic can be a colorful character to people - I suppose.
TD: I really love the new album, and expect big, positive things to happen to you this year, and moving forward. What could possibly happen that would finally make you happy?
DP: Thanks. I'll never be totally happy, but being content can be relieving.
TD: How do you picture yourself dying? :o)
DP: I picture myself dying a slow, miserable, cancer-related death. There's no way I'm getting out of this life easy.