Nonpoint has scored hits with “What a Day” and their cover of the Phil Collins song “In the Air Tonight,” but with four albums now under their belt, lead singer Elias Soriano is clearly looking to the future. He took a few minutes out of his hectic tour schedule to talk to us about the band’s new album, To The Pain.
Let’s take it all the way back. Where did you grow up and what were your musical influences as a kid? What bands were your favorites?
I grew up in South Florida – Fort Lauderdale. I can’t say I’m really influenced by any particular style. I let the music that we do kind of inspire itself, hopefully.
When did you first know you wanted to be a musician?
I liked playing back in high school. I really didn’t know I was going to be a musician until I fell into meeting someone that was in a band. I really didn’t know I was going to be a musician growing up.
Before forming Nonpoint, what were you doing for a living?
Nothing really, waiting tables.
How many other bands were you a part of before this one?
None, this was my first band.
Talk to me about Nonpoint Factor. How did the band come together, and how did the name get shortened to just Nonpoint?
Robb and I were in a band for a couple months and then we played with Andy and Ken, who were in another band. We decided to jam out together and our side project turned into our main project.
For those who may not be familiar, how would you describe your sound and what makes you so different from everything else out there?
It’s heavy rock music. What each one of us likes, as far as music that we listen to, comes to the table when we sit down to do our music. Our likes and dislikes dictate what our sound turns into, I guess. I think that kind of defines our sound.
What was your first indication that you might be on to something with Nonpoint? Was there a point when you started feeling successful?
I guess playing locally, more and more people started showing up to the shows.
When “What a Day” started gaining popularity, what was it like to hear your single played on the radio for the first time? How crazy was that for you guys?
It was cool. Surreal. I was excited, just like I’m sure everyone who hears themselves on the radio for the first time is.
Has “What a Day” become your “Freebird,” so to speak the one song that everyone knows you for that the band just gets tired of playing?
No, not really. Fans of our band really don’t just listen to one of our songs. Real fans of our band know we have more than just one record, we’re on record number four. They know a lot of our music, not just one song.
One of our personal favorite tracks on your album Statement is “Tribute.” Talk to us a little bit about that track.
It’s just something fun that we decided to do. That was a long time ago. I don’t know why we really did that. We’re on record number four now.
I know you played at Ozzfest a few years ago. What was that experience like for you and for the group?
We played Ozzfest years ago – 2001. It was fun. We were a young band, still coming up.
When Recoil was released in 2004, your band gained even more recognition with your cover of Phil Collin’s “In the Air Tonight.” Your version of the song caught on so much that it’s been heard everywhere from the radio to Monday Night Football. What made you decide to cover that song?
It seemed like a fun song to cover. It was a song during the time we were growing up in South Florida was a cool song with not a lot of rock element in it. It was something that we wanted to give a shot.
Quick sidenote – do you buy into the whole urban legend about Phil Collins writing the song after witnessing a guy refuse to help another person who was drowning?
I’m not sure. There’s a lot of myths behind that. I don’t think that any one story is true.
I know your new album just came out, To the Pain. What was the process like writing and recording this particular album? Do you find it’s easier or tougher these days to put an album together?
I think we know what we want to sound like now. When we sat down to write the record, we knew exactly what we wanted to do. It was very easy decisions to say either yes or no to things. We did a lot of writing before we went in to the studio, then went into the studio and banged it out in about a month and a half.
Do you have a favorite track on the new CD?
I like them all. I like the song “The Wreckoning.” It’s a fun song to do. It’s a song that’s not about me or any of my experiences.
It’s been nearly 10 years since you guys first got together. How has Nonpoint changed from day one to now? What goals do you have for yourself and for the band?
I think we are able to tolerate ourselves a little more. I think we are getting better live. I see us in the future touring a whole bunch.
And you are actually on tour now, correct?
We are out with Sevendust right now. We are in Minneapolis. It’s a 10 week tour, we are on week number nine and a half. It’s been a cool tour. Long tour, sold out shows.
Have you guys been enjoying playing with Sevendust?
We’ve played with them a bunch of times. We enjoy going out there and putting on our show.
For anyone who has never seen a Nonpoint show live before, what can they expect?
We jump around a lot. We move around a lot. We’re very energetic on stage. We like to get people involved in the show.
We’ve got one last thing for you here. We’re going to do a word association. We’ll just throw out a name and tell us the first thing that comes to your mind.
Old school. (Laughs.)
To The Pain.
A new beginning.
Interviewed by Joel Murphy, March 2006. To The Pain is available now on Bieler Bros. Records.