Nonpoint makes a "Statement"
By Naughty Mickie notymickie@earthlink.net

The south is rising again with the growing interest in hard-core band Nonpoint. After paying their dues in local clubs for three years, the group has released their debut album, "Statement," on MCA. This comes as no surprise, as Nonpoint is not just another head-banging quartet, they have a unique influence of Latin rhythms, from old school to salsa, thrown in the mix. I caught up with the guys on their current tour.np_new_pics05.jpg (39976 bytes)

"I'm in Vegas and it's amazing!" vocalist Elias Soriano said over his cell phone.

He had just stepped off the tour bus and dialed my number. We discussed the marvels of the wireless age as he found the best reception in the parking lot of the Sanctuary in Las Vegas, Nevada.

"The tour has been great, although we miss Spineshank, but it's great having a tour bus," glowed Soriano.

Spineshank had been touring with Nonpoint during the first three weeks of February, along with Mudvayne, who is slated to stay on the road with them through March.

Soriano was pleased about the bus, but still had a place in his heart for their previous vehicle, a custom van. I got the feeling that he just enjoyed the fun of traveling and performing.

"The most exciting thing is seeing the audience's reaction," Soriano remarks. "Our live show is something we pride ourselves on."

Nonpoint, like every touring band, had noted the differences around the country. Soriano explained that the "difference between L.A. and Texas is night and day." The Los Angeles crowds are typically jaded, while the Texas audiences go crazy and really get into the group's shows.

The journey of Nonpoint began with drummer, Robb Rivera, who was in a popular local band in Florida. He enjoyed performing, but it was becoming monotonous and he was ready to move on to another project. Soriano, who had recently moved to the area from New Jersey, had seen Rivera's show and was invited to audition for the new band. The tryout went well and the group, now known as Nonpoint Factor, hit the scene. They met up with another local favorite, Fuse, at the famous Crash Club, which has since closed, and decided to combine efforts. Nonpoint's line-up became Rivera, Soriano, Andrew Goldman, guitar, and KB on bass.

From there, they became a driving force in the local club circuit and, in 1997, released the indie CD, "Separate Yourself." The album became a regional best-seller and Nonpoint was playing to packed houses in the southeast while gaining label attention.

Nonpoint stands apart from your average hard-core rockers because they incorporate a touch of their Latin heritage into their sound. Soriano and Rivera are both Puerto Rican and are drawn to the colorful rhythms and lyrics of their culture. Rivera's drum beats have become a dominant part of the group's music.

"Me, I'm a Florida boy," admits Soriano. "I've lost a lot of my Spanish."

But this hasn't kept him back from the outstanding song, "Orgullo," which means "pride" and is sung in Spanish. Soriano explains that the band will keep growing and trying new things, but the Latin influence will always be a part of them.

Soriano and Goldman usually initiate the writing of new material. But "everybody does their part," says Soriano. Each member adds a riff, a line, a beat; a layer to the final product. I ask Soriano where they get their ideas.

"A lot of pot," he laughs. "We just jam out something. I sit for six hours at a time and work and work and work until I feel comfortable about it."

No stranger to hard work, Soriano served time as the general manager for a duct cleaning company after his graduation from Florida Atlantic University with a major in computer engineering major and a minor in musical theater. He balanced his studies by performing in shows such as "Carnival," "Sweeney Todd" and "The Rainmaker."

Soriano has the skills to maintain the band's Web site, but is too busy, so they "have a very cool Web designer."

"We wouldn't be as big as we are without the Internet," says Soriano. "No bands can survive without it."

npstills16.jpg (24656 bytes)He feels it is important to have an Internet presence because it gives fans, and potential fans, an opportunity to hear, see and get in touch with their favorite bands.

On his down time Soriano is into computer games.

"I play virtual tennis," he chuckles. "I like 'Roller coaster.' I make some bad ass parks. I should've been a civil engineer."

Well, Elias, your fans, myself included, are glad that you're hard at work cranking out cool tunes. Soriano's favorite song on the current release is "Endure" and, I must admit, it strikes a chord with me too. But for those days when everything goes wrong, I'll hike up the volume on "What a Day" and smile.

Nonpoint is planning to tour the United Kingdom in April or May, as well as setting some dates for Canada. They also just got signed to OzzFest. I'll see you there.

Nonpoint's tour dates are constantly being updated, check out their Web site at www.nonpoint.com You can also find out more about them at www.mcarecords.com