How do you make it in the music business these days?
That’s something Putnam County native Alex Noles and his bandmates with NothingKnown are trying to discover as they strive to be discovered.
On a good note for the hard rock band, more music streaming services are available than ever to provide up and coming artists with multiple platforms to reach potential fans.
Then there’s the bad note, one that isn’t as easy to fix as a broken guitar string. The COVID-19 pandemic has squashed live performances. No playing in small venues or being part of a festival lineup to promote an album or gain recognition.
“Hopefully within the next two years we’ll be able to play some shows,” said Noles, who is from Crescent City. “Obviously there hasn’t been any big music festivals. Maybe by the end of 2021, we can start playing festivals. That would be cool.”
Meanwhile, NothingKnown is doing what it can to become known. Band members released their first single and video, “Save Me,” in December. You can watch the video on YouTube or on the band’s Facebook page.
The genre? It’s definitely hard rock, if not pure heavy metal. That may not suit everyone’s taste in music. It does mine. I was impressed after watching the video. It was professionally done. And it rocks.
I reached out to Noles to learn more about the band and discovered it has Putnam County roots. In addition to Noles, three more members are from Putnam. Bass player Troy Allison is from Palatka, as is his brother, Trevor Allison, and Trayton Grass – who both play guitar. Drummer Cody Paige is from Tampa.
NothingKnown’s initial single and video have landed the band on some online playlists and radio airwaves featuring heavy rock.
Noles, who is sales manager at Beck Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Palatka, said, “We wanted to make sure everything we do is quality, with the song and the video.
“We want to push our online presence higher because people get their music online through Spotify, Amazon or something like that. I heard it on a random Spotify playlist and it’s gotten played on some new rock stations.”
Noles, 27, said he has known the Allison brothers for a few years. They invited him to rehearse with the band in 2018.
“I did and we sounded good,” Noles said. “But our schedules could never link up and we just never did commit to it. Trevor and I reconnected in August and we just started talking about some ideas and if we should bring the band back. If we were going to do it, we wanted to do it the right way.”
“Save Me” was recorded in Kingsland, Georgia. There wasn’t a lot of rehearsal time, with individual parts of songs mixed together instead. Further hindering practice time is the fact that Trevor Allison is in the Marines and currently stationed in Spain. He returns home for a month in April during which time Noles hopes the band can make another video.
Noles said the band has enough songs recorded for an entire album, but in another way the music industry has changed, it will likely release the songs one at a time.
And then came the video – which was filmed in Palatka.
“Luckily for us, Beck now owns the old Rochester building,” Noles said. “Trevor had a spot in Jacksonville where we were going to shoot it, but it fell through two days before we were going to shoot the video.
“Since I work for Beck, we were able to get the parts warehouse and filmed the video in the very back room of the building.”
Noles started playing the guitar at 10 and was with several bands before losing interest in playing in 2014. Now he finds himself as a lead singer for the first time with NothingKnown.
“We went into this on a time crunch,” Noles said. “I had never met the videographer (Michael Leach) before, but I’d seen his work and I knew he was good. We were trying to figure out how it would all work and then it came together, the song came together and then the video.
“Since I had never sang before, I was a little nervous hearing my voice, not knowing if people would love it or hate it.”
From early indications, people have loved it.
“The response has been incredible,” Noles said. “Tons of people started sharing the video on Facebook, our views on YouTube kept going up and up and we’ve just had a lot of positive feedback. Radio stations have reached out that are now playing it in rotation.
“It’s cool because we didn’t really have any expectations for it and we didn’t really spend any money advertising it or pushing it. It’s all been organic to this point – from Spotify streams and Amazon and iTune sales – it’s just been going up every day.”
Noles said NothingKnown doesn’t plan on letting off the gas when it comes to sounding different, producing quality music and videos and building its fan base.
Noles knows the music genre won’t appeal to everyone. It’s heavy instruments mixed with melody. How does he describe the sound?
“That’s always a hard question trying to pin it down,” Noles said. “It’s not heavy enough to be heavy metal, but it’s too hard to be rock. It kind of blends the line somewhere between the two genres. Music has evolved so much and it always does. It’s constantly changing, especially in the rock and metal community.
“You just kind of have to jumble it all together, put it in a blender and make your own style to create what’s going to separate you from all the rest.”
For NothingKnown, it sounds like they’re on the right track to becoming known.
Wayne Smith is the editor of the Palatka Daily News. His email is email@example.com.