heavy metal

NONPOINT Interview

Surmounting a fair share of commercial success and radio airplay on the strength of their debut, ?Statement,? Nonpoint could have easily cashed in with an identical, eager-to-please follow-up. Instead, the Floridian nu-metal stalwarts allowed themselves to grow as musicians and produce the aptly titled ?Development.? And in spite of being a mainstream act, Nonpoint avoids the expected rock star pitfall of egocentricity in favor of being a down-to-earth, fan-oriented band that yearns for creating and nurturing true musical expression.

The Gauntlet: Things have been going great for you guys over the last several years.

Andrew: Most definitely. We were jamming locally for about three years before we got our record deal in 2000. So, we?re not that old, but we?ve been doing lots ever since we started. We?ve been touring ceaselessly since 2000. We?ve done Europe, the UK Ozzfest, and a bunch of shows in Germany and Scotland. And now we?ve put out our second record.

The Gauntlet: Who influenced you to pick up the guitar in the first place?

Andrew: I got into music really young. I started playing guitar when I was 9. My dad was a big influence on me. He played guitar a little and he would play old Eric Clapton records, Cream, and the Allman Brothers. So my dad?s stuff was my first exposure to music really. That would be like the root of what got me into music, but I was way into early metal: Metallica, Slayer, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn and good guitar players. But right now, influence-wise, it?s not so much a cd or a certain band as it is the vibe we get out on the road when we?re out with a certain band. It totally depends on the type of tour we?re on. If it?s a heavy tour, we might be in the mood to write heavy music; or if it?s a more laid back tour, we might write more melodic stuff. So your whole mood changes upon what you?re listening to at the time.

The Gauntlet: Lyrically and musically, do personal experiences have a significant impact the way you write?

Andrew: I think that?s important for Elias. Personal influences show more in his lyrics. I might get in a fight with my fianc? and then go write something on the guitar that might become a riff. That might be an example of that. But I wouldn?t write a guitar riff and go, ?This riff is about this or that.? You know? It?s never like that.

The Gauntlet: So does the music just flow when you?re sitting down alone? Or does the creativity pick up when you?re jamming with the other guys?

Andrew: I was playing guitar right now when Chad (Nonpoint?s tour manager) handed me the phone. I play guitar all day. I just sit around and jam on it in the back lounge. And if something good comes out, it comes out. And sometimes, like I said, I?ll get in a certain mood and be determined on coming up with something. And hopefully something will happen.

But yea, I?d say my ideas come out when I?m alone. Then we get together and tweak the songs. That way, everyone is involved and satisfied with the final product.

The Gauntlet: Having sold in excess of 250 000 albums of your first release, ?Statement,? was there any pressure in creating ?Development?? Even setting this potentially stress-inducing matter aside, the all-important sophomore album, especially by a band that initially come on strong, tends to be its make-it-or-break-it album, if you will.

Andrew: I didn?t really feel much pressure. The only pressure I felt was the pressure to make it as good as we could for ourselves. We got co-production credits on this record, so, in my head, that was a lot more pressure and stress on me. It?s because I was involved in making the record, in making it sound good. The overall final product was in my hands. It wasn?t just going in and cutting my guitar tracks and hanging out. I was an active part of the whole process. So, that to me was the most stressful thing ? hoping it came out good. But once it?s out there, you can?t stress out about stuff like that (record sales and listener reaction). You just hope it does well and people enjoy it. But overall, I think it?s a great record. I?m pleased with it.

The Gauntlet: Since you?re satisfied with your co-production on ?Development,? then, do you have plans on increasing your involvement in the future? And having just produced Sunset Black?s debut (Nonpoint?s prot?g?s), ?Common Ground,? have you thought about producing other acts as well?

Andrew: Oh yea! Definitely! After doing what we did this time, we really know how to work in a studio, and we know what we want. So I?m sure that with anything we do in the future, we?re going to have a hand in it. As for producing Sunset Black, that was in our off time before we started touring for this record. Myself, I?m going to definitely try to get into that a lot more. I?ll try to see if I can make a lot more records before my time is done.

The Gauntlet: ?Development? is much more melodic - especially in the vocal department - and less fueled by anger than your debut. Was this intentional?

Andrew: Yea. I assume that all bands would want to do something more to progress themselves. And I think we?ve become better musicians and better songwriters since the first record. With most of the songs on the first record, we wrote them when we first started in ?97. Well, after the years they became tweaked a little bit. But we were just kids when we wrote those. Now I think we have a better idea of what we want out of a song. You can see that on this record. We didn?t just write a bunch of songs. We wanted to write a good record, so we took extra care in making sure every part made sense and fit the song. Nothing was added and just extra because it sounded good. And I think that?s just the main difference. We?re not so angry anymore, trying to scream and break shit. If kids want to hear that, they can buy ?Statement.? So we wanted to try to give them something a little bit different. We feel that we?ve evolved as musicians, and we wanted to show that on the record.

The Gauntlet: Speaking of the emotion called anger, are you jaded by the abundance of nu-metal bands that rely on displaying contrived angst simply for the sake of selling records or fitting into a scene? For years now, the commodified whisper-before-you-shout-before-you-whimper-and-whine thing has irritated me to no end.

Andrew: Yea. That?s been happening for a long time. That?s the crap that pushes us to do the opposite of that. Like, I?m not going to mention names, but the bands like you are talking about, that?s like the anti of what I want to be doing. That?s like a perfect model of what I shouldn?t be doing out here. And that pushes me to do the opposite and make good music that actually means something, opposed to just (being one of) four guys deciding what?s going to sell a record and (thinking about) what the record label wants from them.

The Gauntlet: You?ve played the Ozzfest and Locobazooka, and you?ve toured with many high profile acts. Does any particular tour stand above the rest as being the greatest and most memorable?

Andrew: Ozzfest was cool just because of the grand scale of it. And with Ozzy being there with all the big bands, it was like a big summer camp for rock stars and rock bands. It was cool. Everybody was just hanging out with each other. You make a lot of friends out on the road, and when you get on a big tour like that, you end up seeing everybody again. So it?s like a big reunion for everyone. But (as far as) specific bands: Sevendust has always been great to us. They?re one of our favorite bands to tour with. They?re the coolest guys. They respect us, and we respect them. We get along real well, and the shows are always great. So anytime we can be out with those guys is great. And we also love going out with (Hed) PE. Those guys are great to us.

The Gauntlet: Even though you?re a mainstream band, you have an admirable fan-oriented nature about you. Having as many fans as you do, I imagine that you immediately had some time management issues upon making the band?s cell phone number public knowledge. What were you thinking?!? Whatever you were smoking, can I have some? I?ll bet that the ringer is on for only a few hours a day.

Andrew: Ha! Ha! To the surprise of many, our jobs aren?t that time consuming. We do have a great crew that works hard all day. I wake up, and they?re already working. And when I sit down on the bus after the show, they come in hours later after they?re done their work. They pretty much take care of all the serious work that needs to be done at the shows. So that leaves the four of us a bunch of time to kind of just dick around. The phone just hangs on the bus with us. When it rings, whoever is closest just picks it up. I mean, we can? t answer it all the time, but whenever someone is around they pick it up. Usually we turn it off around midnight so people can get their sleep. But it?s not a problem. We?ve got a lot of good feed back on it. Sometimes people call up and ask us what time we?re playing because they?re in town and they want to come to the show. It?s a real helpful tool. It?s easier than the Internet. We can get in touch with people a lot quicker with the phone.

The Gauntlet: You?ve already discovered Sunset Black, and by leaving an A&R drop box on your merchandise table, it looks like you?re on a mission to unearth some other unknown talents out there. Bands often accept demos from fans, but this is an open invitation! Since you have lots of spare time on the road, like you were saying, do you ever have a chance to listen to some of the demos while on the tour bus?

Andrew: Yea. We have been actually. Our merch guy collects all the cds in that box, and he brings them into the bus at the end of the night. Usually there?s a stack of them sitting around. We just sit in the back and throw a couple in and check them out. (We) put the good ones in one stack, (then we) put the other ones in another stack and save them up for the end. Towards the end, hopefully we?ll have a bunch of cds to listen to. And maybe we?ll have some good stuff to push out there.

That?s the thing. Since we have the opportunity to get good music heard, to some extent, we?ll do what we can. I think that?s the coolest thing to do, since there?s so much crap that?s out there. And like you mentioned, there?s stuff that just isn?t genuine. It doesn?t mean anything. So if I can find any bands that are more along the lines of what I think is real music, then I definitely want to get that heard.

The Gauntlet: You?ve recently released your first dvd, ?Accompaniment.? What can fans expect with this release?

Andrew: It?s a collection of all the videos we?ve done: the ones that have been played on MTV, or whatever channels you may see it on. And then we have a couple that we made before we were signed. Like, we did a video for ?Mindtrip? before we had a deal. That was in a little local club, and we did that on our own. Also, there?s a little ten-minute vignette of behind-the-scenes footage from all the different videos. When we were in Europe we had a film crew with us, and they got a lot of footage. So you?ll see some of that. And if you are a fan of the band, it?s just a bunch of cool stuff of us hanging out and how we did this, how we did that (and so on). So if you?re interested in that, you can pick that up in the stores. I think it?s like ten bucks.

The Gauntlet: Ten bucks for the dvd? That?s cheaper than a cd (I sound like a goddamned infomercial host ? JG)!

Andrew: Yea. We tried to make it the best deal for everybody, because we?re not trying to make a lot of dough by doing this. That?s not why we did it. Why charge an arm and a leg for everything? We want people to be able to grab it and pick it up really cheap.

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Tags:  Nonpoint  , Andrew Goldmaninterviews

    November 30, -0001

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