They’ve made nine albums throughout the rise and fall of cassettes, CDs, MP3s, and now Nonpoint proudly mark their survival in the age of streaming with an ‘X’. It’s the title of the South Floridians’ tenth album, which will be released August 24. Vocalist Elias Soriano, who just moved from Michigan back to where it all began in Fort Lauderdale, recently spoke with Overdrive about the new record.
Soriano, who is joined by drummer Robb Rivera as the only other founding member, says being in the game for 21 years allowed them to get away with more on this release. “It’s really just about deciding ‘hey, we’re at record number 10 and we’re going to do what the hell we want to do. Let’s get everything that we’ve always wanted and always loved about our favourite records and things that we really never took a chance with’. I think everyone gets a little more creative freedom as their careers go on – with their successes and even with their failures. In the beginning we were a new band and we were on a major label. You get advice from people on who to work with and who might make you sound good. You get on the phone with people and you have conversations that excite you and shoot creative ideas back and forth, and you try to go along with the process and trust in professionals and people that you work with.
“If you’re lucky enough to do it long enough to do a bunch of records, you’re going to find yourself wanting to see what you can do all on your own. Then sometimes with the successes and failures of that, you decide to go back and revisit things that you may have missed and then find relationships with producers that is a little bit of a marriage of both. But in the same sense, you feel that there’s what we like to call your ‘Jack Sparrow’ – somebody that’s behind the wheel making sure that everyone who does their job the best keeps the ship on course.”
Soriano has said in the past that some of his favourite Nonpoint songs were from their 2016 album, ‘The Poison Red’ – in particular, My Last Dying Breath and Divided… Conquer Them. He’s happy to report that songs on ‘Ten’ might knock them off the podium. “If you’ve heard Nonpoint before… you’re gonna be surprised about what you hear. If you’ve never heard Nonpoint before but you’ve heard of us, you’re gonna be surprised by what you hear. The whole album is a banger. We’re really proud of it. There’re a couple songs that we pushed not only our musical limits, but really said some things that needed to be said. Empty Batteries is the track that starts the record and that was quite an undertaking… a lot of tempo changes, a lot of long parts … so we really tested our limits on what we thought was either going to be somewhat timeless or at least very effective. Milestones is a really great song.
“Fix This is a song that I feel shows every part of our band and really shows where we’re going to lead with our newest incarnation of Nonpoint and the sound that we’re going for. Fix This is that rapping your head up against the wall moment; coming back to the same problem; wanting to change everything but either you’re not changing or the person or situation that you’re dealing with never changes and how the internal struggle between what you feel like is you trying to work through a problem or a problem that is unrepairable.”
As the band members age, they’ve realised that making rock music can be a balancing act of appealing to younger listeners and retaining original fans. “We’re growing as a band and as men. It’s definitely true that it’s always a young man’s game when it comes to being a new band and being up and coming. If we’ve gotten this far, we need to try and even surprise our hardcore following with something fresh; that even they feel like it’s fresh; that has a new energy and even more energy as the last record did. Hopefully we’ve ramped it up every single record. At the same time, we want to connect on a level where they feel like they want to play it again and possibly get through some things in their lives … or in their good times.”
During the making of Ten, there were some tense moments between Soriano, Robb Rivera (drums), Rasheed Thomas (guitar), Adam Woloszyn (bass), and B.C. Kochmit (guitar), but Soriano insists it’s perfectly normal. “The arguments are always juicy gossip titbits … we always want to talk about those tense moments, but … the exciting ‘magic was made’ moments happen way more often than those other moments. You’re not going to agree with everyone’s vision and sometimes you get very precious with your ideas because they do come from you, so saying that ‘my idea is better than yours versus your idea is better than mine’ is always a slight tug of war in some cases.” He says there are times when bandmates need to put the ego by the wayside. “There are more cases where you immediately know that their idea is better than yours and when you’ve been doing it as long as we have, we don’t want to hurt the song or hurt the process for the sake of holding too hard onto something that no one should ever hold on that hard to.”
When it comes to the compositional aspect of an album, he’s a “a student of allowing people to do what they want to do and what they do best.” “Normally my guys write stuff to impress each other and to impress the band … so it’s not like they’re going to come with shit … they’re going to come with something good and I’m going to try it. I want to be inspired by something that they were inspired to write, so I try to find amazing parts of what they send, and if it leads to a vocal line, then they turn around and completely write new music underneath it. That’s been a lot of the process as of late. They allow me the freedom to write what I want but at the same time, I’m writing over something that they feel like they’re excited about and are going to be really proficient in executing on stage.”
Soriano is in a positive mood about the album, the move back to Florida, their current label and producer, and says they hope to be around when the next thing replaces streaming. “Our career being at the tenth record is a milestone. It’s a huge milestone for any band and for us, you’re lucky enough to do it this long, it’s like ‘hell man’, why not be proud and name the record Ten? We’ve gone this long. It’s good for people to know. We’re not trying to solve any math riddles, we’re just trying to put out great music to fans and people that are asking for more music from our band. When they stop asking, we’ll stop making.”
‘X’ will be released via Spinefarm Records on August 24. Pre-order it here.