Chris James is not only one of the most energetic frontmen in the area, he’s also a very enthusiastic interviewee.
The Weekender first told NEPA to look out for Threatpoint last summer, and ever since, the four-piece groove metal outfit has been tearing up stages while gathering a dedicated fan base of both metalheads and fellow bands. Earning a five-star review from us for their first record, “Dead to Rise,” James couldn’t wait to update The Weekender on everything that’s been going on lately, so we chatted with the vocalist about the band’s new single, new album, new bassist, new shows, and new musical connections that could make these guys household names (or underground favorites) in no time. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!
THE WEEKENDER: What has Threatpoint been up to since we talked last year?
CHRIS JAMES: We have been nonstop busy. We replaced our bassist, writing a new full-length album, studio dates, interviews, playing out constantly, and now getting airplay in different states and over in Europe a bit. God, that is our number one goal, to play Europe, and to play out constantly.
W: What happened with your previous bassist, and how are things working out with the new guy?
CJ: Bill was a great guy; no hard feelings. There were schedule conflicts, and we were moving into a way faster and heavier direction musically, requiring us to make tough decisions. That said, Ron Martin, our new bassist, is a very technical player, growing up on prog and thrash metal. He plays five and six-string basses and fretless basses. He’s an animal live!
W: How is your second album coming along?
CJ: We are probably 60 percent there. We spread it out longer instead of going in and pile driving a ton of material at once. Late spring is probably when it’ll drop.
W: Tell us about the new single “Collapse.” What inspired that song?
CJ: We didn’t want to wait until spring for a full CD, so we went in before the holidays and completed one full new song so people can hear our real formula we’ve developed. We also wanted something fresh with our new bassist. What inspired it? The way powers take and force people into doing things they normally wouldn’t do, as we are headed toward the end times.
W: How does the new material compare to the first record?
CJ: It’s definitely different than the first. The first was going to be an EP, but we added a few more. It was also a learning curve blending all our styles together, and also learning what works and what doesn’t. The upcoming album is way faster and way heavier. It’s more solid of a direction. I look at it like this: the first CD is like trying to figure out how to get somewhere when you don’t even know where the hell you’re headed. This album is like knowing exactly where you’re headed and how to get there; you just put the hammer down and don’t look back!
W: What are the songs on this new record about?
CJ: They are about the clash of good and evil, perception and views of the breakdown in society, standing up for yourself and never giving up, even when the haters, doubters, and naysayers laugh, and using it as fuel to succeed. I guess it’s like a journey through my mind, looking through my eyes.
W: You’ve opened up for notable names like Butcher Babies and Stryper. What were they like?
CJ: Stryper was a big influence to me growing up. They were terrific to us; it was nice to talk to them a bit. They are the real deal. They also have very diverse fans; they have toured with rock bands and real heavy bands.
Butcher Babies was a fun show. Offstage they are so reserved and cool, then it’s game on when they hit the stage.
W: Who else have you played shows with?
CJ: Straight Line Stitch, Virus, Caustic Method, Elevator Death Squad, Ruination, Hellshot, and Beyond Fallen, to name a few. It’s been a lot of great underground bands, especially out of state.
W: What has been your personal favorite show since last summer?
CJ: Us and Prosody did a private heavy metal wedding. It was an amazing show. It was packed, great food, and people came to party and have a blast – great mosh pit! I love to see the floor go nuts. We also did a heavy version of “White Wedding” for them!
W: You guys have been garnering quite the reputation. What has been driving the band’s success?
CJ: We stay humble! Screw the rock star ego bulls—t; that’s not us. We are blue collar metal. We love the people and fans. We try hard to spend time with them and listen to them. It’s the passion, Rich, that’s what it is. The four of us all have the same passion to play and kick as many asses along the way, city by city, night by night. But as I always say, “You the fans make this. Without you, we are nothing. We love you all!”
W: How has the local music scene been treating you?
CJ: Scranton and Wilkes-Barre are lucky places. There are areas that don’t have venues that cater to original metal. New Penny, Ole Tyme Charley’s, Irish Wolf Pub, Diane’s Deli, and The Rattler all really go out of their way for all of us! I love these venues for caring about us! A lot of the bands stick together around here; you also do not get that everywhere else. In other places, bands only care about themselves – no respect to stick around and support all the acts of the evening. They bring their friends and then leave as soon as they’re done!
W: You’ve been touring out of the area more. How have you been received outside of NEPA?
CJ: It’s amazing getting to play out further. That’s all of our goals, to get away and meet new fans, travel to new places. We have been accepted pretty damn well; it’s so exciting walking in and not knowing what to expect. We are knocking down several more states and festivals coming up – Maine, Massachusetts, Virginia, Ohio, North Carolina, Delaware, Connecticut, and a few leads in Tennessee, Atlanta, Kentucky, and Chicago!
W: Have you discovered any other solid metal scenes outside of NEPA?
CJ: Sure, man. Metal is alive and kicking, young and old. Metal never dies!
W: You were just in New York City over the weekend. Tell us about that show.
CJ: Badass – that’s how it all went down. People were waiting for us. It was great to be wanted. We played with some very talented heavy bands and made a few more connections in New York City.
W: Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
CJ: Thank you to all the bands that help us along the way. Thank you to the radio stations and DJs for pushing our name. Thank you to the local newspapers and venues for supporting original music, and thank you to our fans and families for all your support and good times! See you all in the pit!