Altwire recently had the privilege of speaking to Elias Soriano, the indomitable frontman of the alternative metal band Nonpoint. Known for their relentless energy and pioneering spirit, Nonpoint has embarked on a new chapter in their musical journey with the recent release of their latest single, “A Million Watts,” under their independent label, 361 Degrees.
Over the years, Nonpoint has carved out a unique niche in the alternative metal landscape with its distinctive sound and high-octane performances. From their humble beginnings to the launch of their own record label, Nonpoint’s journey is a testament to their resilience and commitment to their craft. In this interview, we will explore their journey to get to this point and hear anecdotes from Elias about his experiences as the frontman of Nonpoint.
So, buckle up as we take a dive into the world of Nonpoint with Elias Soriano and uncover the stories behind their music, their journey, and their unwavering dedication to breaking the mold.
Derek Oswald/AltWire: After over 20 years in the game, you guys have gone independent with Ruthless, and your most recent works self-released via your label. In many ways, this has you guys coming full circle as you first self-released Separate Yourself, aka Struggle, in 1997. What has been the most exciting part about transitioning back into an independent act?
Elias Soriano / Nonpoint: I think the education that I’m getting from all the new team members, I’m having to onboard and watching all these new models and different types of releases and ideas get shared amongst the new team. You know, it’s fun talking about strategy and the business side, and I really enjoy that side of it. Once things get organized and set up in a way where you can really make things happen and make things move. So I think just building the infrastructure out, I think was the most fun.
Derek Oswald/AltWire: I know your time being on record labels was challenging, especially with the higher reps at the label trying to push you to go into a more melodic direction with Development. What were the biggest challenges you faced in the early parts of your career, and how did you overcome them to keep the music alive?
Elias Soriano / Nonpoint: Early in our career, I guess the biggest challenges were hand in hand, things moving at the pace that you want them to move – with industry, timing, releases, labels, tours, and everything. It’s hard to make it all happen all at once. And that’s what you really try to go for. So that way, everything is kind of supporting each other.
In the beginning, it was a struggle. Budgets were tight. People really didn’t want to take a lot of risk(s). So, that’s what you can do when you’re independent. You can stretch budgets and take bigger risks.
Derek Oswald/AltWire: What do you see about the music industry today that you wish was there when you got started and why?
Elias Soriano / Nonpoint: – I- whoa, that’s a good question. I mean, the internet is a really great tool. It’s a double-edged sword, definitely, because so much negative stuff can happen.
But being able to contact, engage, and inform with your fan base is really easy with the net. So I’d say that’s the biggest tool and takeback. You know, if I look back on how many years we’ve been in this social media game, I mean, we had a MySpace page.
Derek Oswald/AltWire: Something I saw looking into your band when I was doing the research that I found very discouraging, and I wanted to touch base on was, unfortunately, it’s no secret that members of your band, yourself included, have faced racial discrimination on multiple occasions in the past. As a person of color, were there any incidents, pressures, or even flat-out roadblocks you dealt with in your experience working with record labels?
Elias Soriano / Nonpoint: With record labels? No, not really. The record labels were always really good about, you know, not really seeing it as a huge topic. It’s more traveling the country, getting into tough parts where you’re around unfamiliars and, you know, where they do see that. That’s where it can feel kind of touch and go.
But I think with as tough as it’s been lately, the conversations have been more frequent, which is where change comes: through conversations. So I feel it moving.
Derek Oswald/AltWire: And I’m glad. Unfortunately, I do still see it. This one band has got their start on TikTok, but they’re starting to get record play, radio play, and everything else: Magnolia Park. They are constantly highlighting the absolute abuse their lead singer gets on social media because he is a person of color.
Elias Soriano / Nonpoint: Yeah, it’s a very inclusive community, and there are, unfortunately, people who are just out there looking to get a reaction. To stir the pot, and those people do it behind the mask of the internet more so than in person. So, you know, you’ve got to take it with a grain of salt and realize, you know, look at the source, man. You’ll be alright.
Derek Oswald/AltWire: Going along those lines. What are some causes that you, as an artist, are currently passionate about? What do you think needs more recognition right now in the world?
Elias Soriano / Nonpoint: I think kids, more than anything. I think there’s a lot of focus on hot topics and subjects that don’t matter to the future of our future, our well-being, our kids, the country, the world, and the climate, and all of these things. And I think if we all focused on, you know, taking care of our next generation, I think things would really start to work better.
Derek Oswald/AltWire: And when it comes to our children, too, especially the teenagers, I was talking to somebody about this the other day. I feel like in the wake of COVID, it’s been more and more difficult for me, and I’m in my 30s, to navigate my mental health over the last couple of years. It’s been, at points, a pretty dark time, not just for America but for the world at large. How have you navigated your mental health these last couple of years, and what advice would you give to your fans who might be struggling with how the world is right now?
Elias Soriano / Nonpoint: I had my family. That helped. My wife and my daughter really made it, though it was quite the adventure [with] being locked down and the whole pandemic. Having that time with my family was actually really great. I enjoyed being in close proximity for those long, extended periods of time because, doing what I do for a living, I really don’t get that often. You know, that was cool. That was cool for me.
So that’s that’s what we take away from it, though. It was tough homeschooling. And, you know, even though we still homeschool, it feels like, as bad as it was, it wasn’t that bad.
Derek Oswald/AltWire: And you’re right. I think what COVID did when we had the lockdowns is it brought everybody together. With my now fiance, then girlfriend, we had only been dating for a couple of months, and, of course, the lockdown started. So we figured, well, how are we going to handle that? And what ended up occurring was that I moved in with her for a couple of months during lockdown because I thought it was only going to be a couple of weeks, and it ended up being seven months. It completely changed things. It ended up making our relationship as strong as it is today.
But, she also worked on the front lines in a hospital during COVID, which is probably one of the worst jobs you’d want to have during a pandemic. And it was unfortunate because not only did she get to see people who, one second, were healthy, completely turn into somebody who needed help getting out of bed or even feeding themselves, but she’d tell me about people on their deathbeds saying that they don’t understand how this is happening because they don’t believe COVID is real. You covered this topic in one of your music videos, paying tribute to the people on the front lines. What was it like putting that together?
Elias Soriano / Nonpoint: It was cool. It was cool. We reached out to the 361 Fan group and got some of those frontline workers to be in the video. So it was really special.
Derek Oswald/AltWire: Now that’s the other thing – about 361 – you’re releasing this new album on your record label 361 Degrees Records. Going into creating this new record, what would you say is different about this record versus your previous works?
Elias Soriano / Nonpoint: I think a lot of the production that we’re playing with this time, and what we’re doing with our music stylistically, I’m having a lot of fun with. I think that’s going to be the takeaway from this new music that people will notice. It’s definitely a different kind of Nonpoint. We’re getting back to some of our basics, but when you hear it, man, you’ll feel the difference.
Derek Oswald/AltWire: You write about a host of topics. If you had to think back throughout your career, what is probably one of the most personal songs you’ve written?
Elias Soriano / Nonpoint: Probably Widowmaker because that one is about my dad’s passing. That one was tough. That one’s hard for me to sing. We don’t play that song because of that. I don’t think I could get through it. Because it was a really tough part of my life. So I think Widowmaker is the one that’s the most personal.
Derek Oswald/AltWire: It got me a little choked up hearing that because that’s how I lost my dad. I lost my dad to a widowmaker heart attack. As somebody who’s unfortunately part of that same crew, I’m sorry about the loss of your dad.
Elias Soriano / Nonpoint: It’s not easy, man. You know? Thank you, man. Same. Same.
Derek Oswald/AltWire: Giving advice to younger artists, how do you overcome your creative blocks or moments of self-doubt?
Elias Soriano / Nonpoint: Writers’ block is more about timing, I think, than a blockage. People are always getting on themselves about not creating at a certain pace or not creating on a certain schedule. And I don’t agree with that. Sometimes, I can get in there, have fun with it, and get my ideas moving pretty quickly, but I don’t expect anyone else to have that because I didn’t always have it.
So I say move at your pace because then, when you do, it comes. When it does come, it comes pretty fast, pretty smooth. So, you know, that’s what you’re looking for: something that feels good and natural. And, you know, sometimes you can’t force that.
Derek Oswald/AltWire: Apart from music, what other creative outlets do you explore to express yourself?
Elias Soriano / Nonpoint: I like to design a lot, merchandise and pictures, and different ideas. I like to fool around with strategy with my team and think about new angles on how to release tracks and engage with the audience. So, I have quite a few. I like to roller skate with my family. So, I got my handful of hobbies.
Derek Oswald/AltWire: And looking back at your journey, what are some of the most valuable lessons you’ve learned as an artist and as a band, and how they impacted your journey?
Elias Soriano / Nonpoint: One, with traveling the country, is to take some time and see the city move around. After years and years of taking laps around the country, you get kind of jaded. You sit in the bus, and you just kind of wait for the show to happen.
As of late, I’ve been getting out a lot more because cities have changed since I first started touring. So I’m getting out and seeing – I mean, the first time I went to Nashville versus the last time I went to Nashville was completely night and day. So that’s what I’m doing more than anything.
So get out there and enjoy the cities.
Derek Oswald/AltWire: Going back to something you reminded me of when you talked about how much cities have changed over your career…you started as a band in the early days of the internet with the dot-com boom and followed it through. How do you feel that the internet world has changed over the last 20 or so years?
Elias Soriano / Nonpoint: It’s definitely created a much larger workload.
You gotta feed the feed, and it definitely takes some attention, some dollars, some focus and some consistency. It’s definitely added to the workload for sure.
Derek Oswald/AltWire: What was one of your most memorable experiences on the road, be it with a fan or traveling with the band?
Elias Soriano / Nonpoint: A lot of monuments. Those are always fun to, you know, venture out and catch, such as the Seattle Needle or Mount Rushmore or something like that that’s close by. It was getting to see the country and getting the opportunity to enjoy that stuff. Seeing the Hoover Dam at six o’clock in the morning was pretty damn cool when they were still letting you go across it. But seeing the Northern Lights for the first time, all those big national wonders, I’d say are some of my fondest memories.
Derek Oswald/AltWire: On the subject of memories, flipping that around, what is one of your funniest memories with the band?
Elias Soriano / Nonpoint: I’d say the latest music video is pretty damn funny. That’s probably our funniest music video to date. That was really fun to do, and seeing those those clips really, really brought a laugh.
Derek Oswald/AltWire: And what inspired you guys to go in a sillier direction for this music video? Because yeah, usually you are a little bit serious with your music videos.
Elias Soriano / Nonpoint: I think the subject matter, and we were just feeling like that was the way to go. We play with a lot of our sense of humor on our socials. So our fans really like that. We figured we’d bring it to the video music space.
Derek Oswald/AltWire: Looking to the future, what would you say is next for you guys?
Elias Soriano / Nonpoint: We got a couple more drops coming.
November, the tape and the cassette player all drop, along with all the pre-order stuff. And the singles all drop. We’re going to South America in early fall. And in the winter, we’ll be doing the second leg of the Emerald City tour.
Derek Oswald/AltWire: With Emerald City, I’m noticing a bit of a Wizard of Oz theme. You even talked about the Tin Man in one of your little hypes for the tour. What inspired the Wizard of Oz influence?
Elias Soriano / Nonpoint: It’s a concept I’ve been fooling around with since Statement, just dropping little hints here and there throughout our career. I went independent, and I got to the realization that you know, those ideas, those long-term ideas that I could never be guaranteed to make happen in the label space, now was the time to do it. So, we wanted to go deep with this concept. People seem to like it. The people are digging the concept, so I’m glad we did it. I think it’s pretty cool.