Latest release: The Return (Metal Blade)
Band site: www.nonpoint.com
One of modern hard rock’s more prolific outfits since forming in 1997, Florida’s Nonpoint recently issued eighth studio album The Return. They will also make their return to Australia as part of the mammoth Soundwave Festival, so vocalist Elias Soriano gave Loud the lowdown.
Q: This will be your second stint on Soundwave. What are your recollections of the previous visit?
A: It was amazing. We’re happy to get invited back; the fans there were excited, it was our first time there, so people came out early to see us. It’s exciting to get invited back. We’re going to be adding a bunch of new stuff to the set this time around. We’re definitely going to play new stuff.
Q: Despite having an early slot at the Soundwave shows, you seemed to attract sizeable crowds, and the response both live and on social media was positive. Were you taken aback by that?
A: Yeah, that’s exactly why we’re excited to get back. Getting up that early and starting that early in the morning we wouldn’t have expected the reaction that we got, but it was great every morning.
Q: You’re about to head out on tour in the US – is it increasingly difficult for the band to make a living via touring these days?
A: No, it’s as hard as you make it. We choose our bands wisely, we play places that we know definitely want to see the band, and we nurture places that we know we haven’t played before. At the end of the day it’s still a business, so you adjust your business to survive in markets where it needs help, and you use your strong markets to help those other markets. That’s pretty much how you do it.
Q: You’re touring with Hed PE, another band strongly associated with the nu-metal movement, but more than a decade on, both acts are still around. What do you attribute that to?
A: I think staying smart with our music, and just trying to write really the best records that we possibly can. That’s all you really can do. If you keep writing good records then people will keep buying them, and you’ll survive, and hopefully that’s what we’ve been doing.
Q: Did you resent being afforded the nu-metal tag?
A: No, that was a really great and fun time for music, so I don’t see any issues with that being that during that time. At a time, Deftones were considered nu-metal, you know? Bands grow, and bands try different and new things. Luckily we’ve been blessed with the opportunity and the fan-base that allows us to do that. So we’ve been able to change our music with the times, and we’ve had our successes and our failures with it, ‘cause we’re fucking human (laughs). So you do the best with what you’ve got, you give it the best that you can and you do it for as long as you love it. People are going to call you what they call you; I never started doing music or singing in general going, ‘man, I’m gonna be nu-metal’ when I was 14 years old… I didn’t start in Nonpoint until I was 25, so I’m 39 now. People change, lives change and the world changes so you can’t be nu-metal forever, because nu-metal isn’t around today (laughs). We’ve been a rock band our whole lives.
Q: If you’re seeking a simple umbrella term to define your music, hard rock would likely be it.
A: Yeah, right now that’s definitely what we’re doing. And back then everyone was pretty much tied into nu-metal. You’ve got to think, at one point Tool was called nu-metal. Those guys aren’t even close to nu-metal (laughs). So people are going to call you what they call you… Whatever’s hot, that’s what you are at the time.
Q: Tell me about this new album – has Nonpoint’s song-writing process altered much throughout the years?
A: It’s changed in the sense of the way we transfer music back and forth. It used to be a lot more face-to-face. Right now, being together and being a band as long as we have, you don’t live your whole entire lives in the same town for the rest of your life. So we’ve moved to different states, some of us, and it’s very expensive to travel and stay when it’s really us just sitting in a room, or sitting in a garage going, ‘yeah, that’s a cool riff, alright I’m gonna go home and get McDonald’s’ (laughs). If I can do it over the internet and spend more time with my daughter and my wife, who I see three to four months out of the year because of how often we tour… You change your formula to stay successful, and make sure that it doesn’t hurt the end product. Considering that the internet is pretty much the way I’ve written the past two records and the past two records have been probably our highest, critically acclaimed records to date, shit, man, technology’s great.
Q: It’s clearly enabled a more efficient work-life balance for you.
A: Yeah, I feel blessed. I look at the past and look at our past and think about people that did it in bands that didn’t have FaceTime; that had to look for a payphone. I mean, in the very beginning I had a really crappy cell-phone, because it was in the beginning of really crappy cell-phones before smart-phones blew up and all this started happening, it was still hard. It definitely makes family life easier with the technology. I feel extremely lucky to have that opportunity to stay face-to-face and connected with my family, having to be away as long as I have to sometimes.
Q: Is Nonpoint still a full-time career for you – are you able to make a living from the band?
A: This is it. This has been my only means of livelihood since 1999, so for 15 years it’s been my only job, thankfully. There’s always tough times in any business situation; anyone that owns a business… Even McDonald’s has its tough months; that’s why they have the McRib. So that way they can every once in a while release something that makes them a tonne of money so that way they can get ready for the snowy season. They’re packing away nuts for the winter, and that’s what we try to do. Rock music isn’t always a hot commodity. In 15 years I’ve seen three different format changes, where it went from tape to CD to MP3. A lot of things have changed, and if you want to do this for a living you have to learn how to change the infrastructure of the business side of this enough, just enough that it doesn’t tear the heart out of what you’re doing. But enough that you don’t get left behind because you’re stubborn against what technology is obviously moving towards. People can piss and moan and complain about the way things have changed, but as a human species we’ve only been selling music for like 70 years, man. It’s like, come on, you’ve gotta have a good time. Things have changed because things change.
Q: It seems like a matter of adapting while staying honest and true to yourself, which isn’t always easy. If you can manage that you can’t go too far wrong though.
A: Exactly. That’s what people miss the most, is that it really boils down to a fucking song. And if you write a good song, and you can stand on-stage, get behind it and sing it like you fucking mean it, people are going to know it. People are going to see that, and they’re going to be able to get behind you. But if you get up there and you try to do something that’s not you, or you get up there bitter and angry because things aren’t what they used to be, then it’s going to be written all over your face. People don’t want to support that. You’ve got to be smart about life, and even smarter about your business, and it starts with just being honest about what you’re doing.
Q: Any famous last words?
A: Just stay connected with our band. Not only online, but really, it’s about learning what our music is and the message that we’re trying to send, because we really are trying to send a message.
You can catch Nonpoint at Soundwave 2015:
21/2: RAS Melbourne Showgrounds, Melbourne VIC (Day 2 line up)
22/2: Bonython Park, Adelaide SA (Day 2 line up)
28/2: RNA Showgrounds, Brisbane QLD (Day 2 line up)
1/3: Sydney Olympic Park, Sydney NSW (Day 2 line up)