“It’s the fact that we rely on us, and only us, and our fans. Those things that matter. The music, the band, and the fans.” - Elias Soriano on keeping it "Real" over an amazing 20-year career with Nonpoint.
For those who have followed Nonpoint over the years, it should be no surprise that Sunday’s show opening for Alter Bridge would be one for the ages. The band, consisting of Elias Soriano (Vocals), Robb Rivera (Drums), Rasheed Thomas (Rhythm Guitar), Adam Woloszyn (Bass), and BC Kochmit (Lead Guitar) left it all on the table with an incredible 45-min set in front of a near-capacity crowd. Those in attendance were treated to Nonpoint classics such as “What a Day”, “Breaking Skin”, and “Bullet with a Name”. And if that were not enough, fans got to hear some killer tracks off their 2016 release, The Poison Red, including “Divided, Conquer Them…” and “My Last Dying Breath”. Both songs are amazing and even more powerful when performed live by this group of amazing musicians. If you have not picked up this album, do so. It simply rocks from beginning to end!
Prior to the show, Hunnypot Unlimited’s Matthew Belter recently had a chance to sit down with frontman Elias Soriano to discuss all things Nonpoint. He shares some amazing insight into the origins of the band, their latest release, The Poison Red, along with a ton of exclusive insight that you won’t read anywhere else.
Elias Soriano Interview - Let's Get Started...
Matthew: Good afternoon Elias, my name is Matthew Belter, Editor at Large for Hunnypot Radio here in Los Angeles, CA. First off, I wanted to thank you in advance for taking time out of your extremely busy schedule this afternoon to join me in what we call the “Hot Tub”. It’s truly an honor to be speaking to you today.
Elias: Of course, of course. Not that busy.
Matthew: Let’s get this started - The late 90’s was a booming time for metal across the country. Bands like Linkin Park, Sevendust, and Disturbed were just beginning to take over what many considered the “nu-metal” scene. Tell our listeners how Nonpoint got started during this crazy period of growth across the metal scene?
Elias: I was hanging out with a couple of boys in the local scene in South Florida. They were part of the Latin community and I'm Puerto Rican Dominican. A couple of them were into rock music at the time and invited me to hang out once we became friends. They introduced me to a couple of bands, and I went to see them live. I got invited to see Korn, Helmet, and Limp Bizkit at the University of Central Florida, and really got into it. Next thing you know I was doing the same thing you were doing, buying records of some of the bands that I saw that night. That’s how it all started.
Matthew: How would you characterize your sounds evolution since 2000’s album “Statement”, and your first major single, “What a Day”?
Elias: We’ve grown up a lot. And traveling the country and the world you see a lot of things, and a lot of things start to change your opinion. You see certain parts of the country and it evolves your way of thinking. And as an artist, I draw on my environment and my experiences to fuel my creativity. It influences what I do.
On Social Influences...
Matthew: There is a strong relationship between Nonpoint and its fan base, and It’s clear that your music touches many in a deep and meaningful way. This connection (through your music) has seemed to help many work through some extremely dark times (drug abuse, social injustice, etc.). Do you take that into consideration during your writing process?
Elias: Oh absolutely. It's a rare case to have such a platform. Unfortunately, artists aren't treated as equals when it comes to politics. But, I always remind fans that I'm as much of a citizen and as much of a voter as anyone else. A lot of people get angry when they get an artist or actors or anyone for speaking out politically. You can't get angry because this is “my” platform and I have so many listeners. I still have an opportunity to share my opinion with people that are listening. I think it's unfair and it’s an injustice to the blessing that you've been handed doing something like what I do for a living, and not speaking out against some of those injustices.
Matthew: Agree 100%. I find the context of your lyrics relevant and very inspiring. The things that you're talking about are taking place in the world and hearing about them makes you think. You begin to look at things differently and start to think about more important topics than then just the material stuff we are bombarded with daily. There's people that are suffering out there…
Elias: Then I’m doing my job!
On The Poison Red and Keeping it "Real"...
Matthew: “The Poison Red” is Nonpoint’ s 9th Studio release and was one of my most anticipated releases of 2016. It rose to #2 on Billboards US Independent Albums Chart and #7 on the Top Rock Albums chart. What was the initial reaction from your fans?
Elias: We have our base, and we have our critics, and thankfully this time around both groups were very open to the new record. We got some great reviews. Our fan base grew with a lot of the tours that we got because of that record. But at this point in our career, I think we really don't try and wrap our heads around anything outside of the things that we can really control. We put out records and we do tours. And outside of that we really don't try to let things that aren't in our control dictate where the business goes.
Matthew: This was your first album featuring B.C. Kochmit on Guitar (after the departure of Dave Lizzio in 2014).
Elias: Yeah, but he also wrote “Pandora's Box" on the self-titled record. That's when we got reconnected. We then invited B.C. to join the band again during that time, but it just wasn't in line with where he was schedule wise. But, things finally worked out great because "The Poison Red" is a great record.
Matthew: Has the bands chemistry changed at all as a result?
Elias: Definitely. You’ll see it tonight on stage. And if anyone has ever seen us before, not seen this lineup, they’re going to be really surprised because I'm blown away.
Matthew: How have you kept it “real” over the past 20 years?
Elias: It comes to sustaining the band and I think that's one of the smart things that we've done over the years to keep us as sustained as we've been. It’s the fact that we rely on us, and only us, and our fans. Those things that matter. The music, the band, and the fans. And hopefully people will want to interview us and hopefully people want to play our songs on the radio. But, people tend to escape the fact that I'm buried in a lively hood that's based on opinion. You know whether somebody thinks I'm fucking wearing something cool or singing something the right way. This is what feeds me and my family. And you must treat it respectfully and pay attention to it enough and care for it enough that you don't make bad decisions and you don't become a rock cliché.
Matthew: Exactly, and because of that focus I think you have done a fantastic job keeping your music pure over the years. You just do what you do and it resonates with the fans and more importantly gives you and your family an amazing livelihood.
Elias: Yeah, well I feel like if you can ... Especially me because I'm the dude sitting there yapping all the damn lyrics. If I can't wear it on my face, I won't sing it. They will notice it.
Matthew: They’ll know.
Elias: Oh they'll know in a heartbeat. I'm the type of person that I wear my life on my face. Especially when I'm on stage because I know most of the eyes are on me. It's only when the guys are jumping up in the air or flipping their hair that it's not – it’s kind of all focused on me. When I'm singing, what I'm saying has to be honest. At least for me.
On Phil Collins and Miami Vice...
Matthew: Your cover of Phil Collins “In the Air Tonight” off the 2004 release “Recoil” is a fan favorite and was even featured in the 2006 movie, “Miami Vice”. What was your thought process for covering this classic song?
Elias: It was an idea of a friend of ours and we were tossing around some ideas for cover songs. I grew up in South Florida, so the song was massive with Miami Vice and everything that was going on at the time.
Matthew: How’d you get it into the movie?
Elias: Getting it on that movie was pure luck. We released that song 2 1/2 years before the movie even hit. And it somehow got on Michael Mann’s desk through a fan of our bands, who happens to be on his music team that would pick out songs for his movies. And he is the type of person that a pretty much approves everything that happens in his movies. So, the first time he got a hold of this song he turned it down because he didn't want anything associated with the old Miami Vice to be associated with the new one. And she kept pushing and ended up just putting together a trailer with our song as the trailer song and left it on his desk. So, he's like, "What the hell is this?", put it in and it ... He immediately had to re-score the movie because of it.
On the Current Tour with Alter Bridge and Doing Things Differently...
Matthew: How'd you team up with Alter Bridge with this tour?
Elias: We're friends with Tremonti, and have been for years. Robb is really social and keeps in touch with a lot of bands. When he heard they were going out, we knew we wanted to get together (as we had thought about it for almost 6 years now). And when the opportunity came we jumped at it. They're hands down my favorite band I have ever toured with.
Matthew: Looking back over an amazing 20-year career with Nonpoint, is there anything you would have done differently based on what you have learned or experienced to this point?
Elias: Yeah, you don’t fix what isn’t broke!
And Finally, Hunnypot Rapid Fire Fan Questions...
Matthew: As we wrap up an amazing interview with Nonpoint’ s Elias Soriano, do we have time a few rapid-fire questions from a couple of our Hunnypot listeners?
Matthew: Are there any charitable causes or movements that are near and dear to your heart right now?
Elias: Right now, Planned Parenthood. I'm a huge supporter and it's one of those things that people don't realize. When your mid-teenager to your mid-twenties, there's not a lot of social programs and places that someone can go to ask questions.
Matthew: Tell me more.
Elias: It's more than just abortions. It's not even half abortions. They deal with a lot of other things that really help women deal with a lot of things that they have questions about when they can't afford regular medicine.
Matthew: Away from their parents?
Elias: Yes exactly, exactly. Because sometimes you can't ask those questions. Every single time I've had to deal with Planned Parenthood it's always been a very, very level playing field and very understanding across different and complicated scenarios. I urge people to get educated on the actual Planned Parenthood community.
Matthew: Your favorite artist of all time?
Elias: It's changed over the years. Right now, it's probably a toss-up between Prince and James Brown. James Brown was just amazing. Man, he loved music and it oozed out of him. And Prince, seeing his story and watching how serious he was with his band. As far as overall encompassing hero of music, hands down it's Bob Marley. His music is moving.
Matthew: One last question, what’s your “favorite” Nonpoint song?
Elias: Off The Poison Red, it's called "Last Dying Breath."
Matthew: That was one of the songs on the album that really jumped out at me as well. You can absolutely feel it. You walk away from that track and say, “That's deep". And I think that's what your intent was, correct?
Elias: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I'm just you know giving it 110%, and that's all.
Matthew: On behalf of Hunnypot Radio and all our listeners, I once again would like to thank Nonpoint’ s Elias Soriano for taking the time to join us in the “Hot Tub” today! We are super excited to see your crush it tonight when Nonpoint takes the stage here at The Wiltern.
Elias: Thank you. Hey, God Bless and again thanks.
Matthew: Thank you!