Nonpoint have spent almost twenty years in this rock n roll game and each time they have released a new album, their latest The Poison Red on Spinefarm Records, the song-writing only becomes deeper and more reflective. It is a richer, deeper sustaining that brings their longevity forward, tried and true, again and again. Hailing from Ft.Lauderdale, Florida—Elias Soriano [vocals], Robb Rivera [drums], Rasheed Thomas [rhythm guitar], Adam Woloszyn [bass], and B.C. Kochmit [lead guitar]— are lit with an ignition of energy that will not be extinguished. Together they continue to crack the riffs with the same intensity, crank the grooves in the bass and drum rule and vocally relay their own recounting of life. Nonpoint is a band that everyone can relate to, they connect.
Song River: Reading post after post there is a connection Nonpoint makes with their fans. Is it unusual or common do you think for bands to resonate so deeply with their fans?
Elias Soriano: Just by the reaction of fans when they do get to meet us at the merch table or when one of us answers a question online, I can tell not many bands engage with their fans as regularly as I’m sure they would like them to. We just happen to see what kind of connection it makes with someone who has to listen to the music and get some sort of physical contact with the person that they connected with so deeply through a song that we just so happened to write.
The fact of the matter is I would love to meet and have conversations with some of the bands that I love and have had the luck to actually meet some of them and unfortunately it’s not the best experience all the time. Some people in bands just want to play the gig and get paid for doing it. I enjoy seeing people get excited to engage and connect with the members of our band. Doing this is a blessing and I feel like it’s the least that I can do for the support they give us. People that don’t feel the same that do this do this for a living are just made of different stuff.
Song River: While watching and photographing one of your recent performances you could hear fans comment that they felt like you care and appreciate them. How have you created this respectful connection?
Elias Soriano: I think just by trying to stay as honest about who we are and what we’re doing out here. We’re just 5 dudes in a band trying to entertain the masses for a living and to do it at a high enough level that we are respected and appreciated for what I believe we do pretty damn good. Put on a show.
We don’t ask for much, just for people to come to a show once and if you like it to buy the music. The rest we leave up to our show, cause if you give me 30 minutes I’ll get you. You give me an hour I’ll have you kicking yourself in the head for never having seen it sooner.
Song River: A sound seemed to break through during those early days of Ozzfest. With time shifting and changing though there doesn’t seem to be any stopping what Nonpoint creates. Timeless seems to come to mind in describing Nonpoint… just like Judas Priest. What do you feel it is?
Elias Soriano: I think we still have successes and goals to achieve so we keep going. I say it all the time I still haven’t written my greatest record. And I think the universe around us can feel that radiating off of me and the rest of the guys when we perform.
Song River: Nonpoint has been through its fair share of lead guitarist. What is it that B.C. has brought that the rest just couldn’t quite deliver do you think to your sound?
Elias Soriano: I think every guitar player that is played in this band has brought their talents in the best way they could, but being in a band is not just about talent. There are millions of guitar players out there but not everyone is made to be in a touring band as there one soul path to livelihood.
This business takes a lot of sacrifice and isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be once you find yourself in the gig. Family, friends and significant others all learn very quickly that this is a different job than your average 9 to 5. If you treat it that way you tend to find out very quickly that you will soon be at odds with more aspects of the business that won’t allow you to continue wholeheartedly… and that is the only way any band will survive. So sometimes a tough decision has to be made by either the band or even the person who ends up leaving. Again this job isn’t for everyone. B.C. is a talented performer who we’ve been friends with for over 15 years… so he brings himself, which is exactly what we need to put on a great show and to put out great music.
Song River: I had read that it has been said Nonpoint’s music is ‘therapy.’ Has Nonpoint decided to hang out its shingle and take in patients?
Elias Soriano: Nah, we let the music do that. Thankfully people are connecting with what I have to say and understand that I’m just trying to make the world around me a decent place. Not really even a good place because good and bad can have its perspective. So I’m just trying to make the world around me a little better hopefully with the music that I write.
Song River: What to you has changed during the course of musical development within Nonpoint since your first self-release album Separate Yourself?
Elias Soriano: It’s become more of a craft and more important throughout the years to me of what is played and what I’m saying. In the beginning, it was just about having fun with a message peppered here and there. Cut to almost 20 years later and I have too much that needs to be said to waste the opportunity to send a message. Not to mention just a general growth in the art of writing music is really what drives me forward now. Writing a song is as life-changing as finding true love. It’s indescribable and keeps me waking up every morning.
Song River: The band has signed under a few labels over the years. What is the biggest reason given usually for a band to switch labels?
Elias Soriano: Honestly a lot of times it has nothing to do with us. We just so happen to be around long enough to watch the business go from over a dozen major labels to the big three. I mean it’s really just what happens if you look at it over 20 years.
Check it out, after our second record, Development MCA/Universal folded, so we got picked up by Lava/Atlantic which a year later was absorbed by another major label, then we self-released one of our biggest records of all time To the Pain with our managers at the time. From the popularity of that record, we got signed to Rocket Science that folded the following year. Then we got picked up by Razor And Tie which we decided wasn’t the right fit for us both at the end of the day. And now we find ourselves back where we started in the Universal Group and Spinefarm Records which I can honestly say I’ve never felt better about. It feels like we’re home, and at this point, in my career, that’s what’s important. My happiness.
Song River: Together what are Spinefarm Records and Nonpoint creating that maybe was missing before?
Elias Soriano: It’s back to days of transparency and conversations about creating art that was missing from our last two releases. We all understand that this is a business but if you don’t care for the artwork and the artist creating it as much as you care about your investors, then you are going to find a lot of unhappy bands and shitty records on your roster. I believe Spinefarm is in the business of making sure that never happens especially with our band. So I ain’t going nowhere.
Song River: It almost seems that every genre of music has been splintered into subcategories after subcategories. A thousand shards of labeling. Where does Nonpoint place itself today in a description?
Elias Soriano: We’re are a metal band with a purpose and a bounce. I don’t know what genre that puts us in, but that’s who we are and have always been. We’re a band that likes to have fun but gives a shit about what it plays and says.
Song River: Along the way, and having traveled around the world co-headlining and headlining along the way- you must have a few stories that still fill you with laughter when recalling them. Can you share any particular instance of a story with your fans?
Elias Soriano: Basically a few of us got trapped in the back lounge of my tour bus with a bunch of us drunk after a show and dared our tour manager Derek to shit in a shoebox which he did entirely too confidently and too quickly. This, in turn, made my guitar tech Brandon who has the weakest stomach and gag reflex known to man, start to throw up from the smell into the back lounge garbage. Which then, in turn, made Derek jump up and puke on Brandon’s shoulder and hand, which made Brandon throw up even more… it was fucking awesome. [Elias grinned from ear to ear. Personally, I almost gagged just reading it again. :)]
Song River: Reading over some of the album reviews for this last album release, “The Poison Red,” was it do you feel lyrically the presentation you were searching for? Is there anything you as a band would have done differently? Why or why not?
Elias Soriano: You can’t really look backward at work that you did with regret.. because there’s always going to be things in songs that in hindsight you may have done differently. Eventually, the song has to get finished and you have to walk away from it. If not no song would ever be finished.
If you were to ask Prince if you could change one thing about Purple Rain, I guarantee you he would give you 10. So I never look backward always forwards. I write all the lyrics so lyrically I said exactly what needed to be said in the way that I could say it at the time. It’s a different time now so of course, I would do things different if I have that opportunity. But you and I both know there are no second chances. The record is what it is and I’m proud of it.
Song River: Did you yourselves perceive the album to be more directed towards radio play or is that something you even thought about when writing it?
Elias Soriano: No because at this point in our career, we are who we are. We have just always had one or two songs on our record that labels feel like the world should hear so they release them. But however you want to slice it and whoever signs this band is going to get a Nonpoint record. That’s it.
Song River: Is it a challenge to find that balance between the rough gritty almost guttural at times vocals emanating and the distortion coming from the guitars?
Elias Soriano: What are you talking about bro???? That is the balance, that’s fucking metal. Music isn’t something to be weighed or balanced. Songs are created and truly just happen. Five dudes reach up into the ether and see what they can pull down. There are no balancing dreams.
Song River: Everyone has an opinion, just like everyone has a nose to pick. The reviews/critics are who they are- yet, here is Nonpoint how many years later still drawing huge crowds, still touring and still making albums. What do you say to your critics?
Elias Soriano: Try creating something to be judged and see how judgmental you are at the end. Because regardless of what you think of my band, you can still have a moral compass. I don’t even read reviews because I don’t let my happiness and my willpower be affected by judgments.
Like you just said, it’s just someone’s opinion and all that shit is relative. Seriously a review from a guy who has 50 albums on his playlist that all sound like the same band isn’t going to keep me up at night because he doesn’t like the style jeans I wore during a show. Critics who get excited about writing negative reviews aren’t journalist or seekers of art, they’re failed wannabe musicians.
Song River: Is it in February 2017 that you head back out on the tour road? Who will you be touring with?
Elias Soriano: We have a couple major shows celebrating our 20-year career in South Florida. We are also doing a Shiprocked after party at Club Revolution in Fort Lauderdale. Then House of Blues in Orlando and The State Theatre in St. Petersburg with 10 Years opening. Then we’ll be on our way to meet up with Alter Bridge for about six weeks. Afterward, it looks like maybe doing a couple weeks with Shinedown. There also talks about Mexico, Central America and Australia around summertime, so it’s gonna be a busy year for Nonpoint.