Over ten million records sold worldwide, multiple hit singles, sold out shows, and dedicated fans across the globe; it’s safe to say the guys of P.O.D. have come a long way since forming as a group in the neighborhoods of San Diego back in 1992. After earning a strong local fanbase with the help of two independent releases, the foursome signed onto Atlantic Records and achieved significant success with the release of The Fundamental Elements of Southtown in 1999. The group then followed up with their most successful album to date, Satellite, which went triple platinum and spawned the smash singles “Youth of the Nation,” “Alive,” and “Boom.” Now, after about a four year hiatus, the group is preparing to release their eighth studio album, Murdered Love, on July 10th.
The music industry has changed drastically since the beginning of P.O.D.’s career; the band first rose to fame with their popularity on Total Request Live as well as receiving consistent radio airplay radio throughout the country. Of course, TRL has now become a distant memory for music fans and furthermore, it’s difficult to remember the last time MTV even aired a quality music video. And unfortunately, mainstream radio hasn’t faired much better over the past decade or so. Despite all of this, P.O.D. has pushed on and continued to release a high brand of music throughout the years. Alternative Addiction was lucky enough to talk with lead singer, Sonny Sandoval, to discuss the band’s long history, their recent time off from music, and of course, the new record.
While the upcoming album has been rumored to be a transition back towards P.O.D.’s roots, Sandoval described the record as a little bit of everything wrapped into one and also commented that fans can expect to hear something a bit different on each song. For instance, the opening track of the album, “Eyez,” features Jamey Jasta of Hatebreed and matches a level of intensity comparable to the band’s earlier songs, “Set It Off” and “The Messenjah.” Jasta adds a fantastic compliment to Sandoval’s lead vocals and the collaboration makes for one of the better songs in the band’s career. P.O.D. became fast friends with Jasta while both bands were performing at Ozzfest in 2000 and it was actually Twitter that reunited the two for the song. Essentially, Jasta retweeted a tweet of the P.O.D.’s and the group then tweeted Jasta back asking if he was interested in laying down vocals on a track for their new album; within only a couple of days Jasta had completed his part and the song was ready for final mixing. Sandoval expressed a great amount of respect for Jasta both as a person and as a musician, and after just one listen to “Eyez,” fans can only wonder why it took so long for the two to work together on a song.
In regards to the following ten tracks of the album, there’s everything from funk to hip-hop to nu-metal/rock. For example, “Bad Boy” shows the band reconnecting with their funk roots while the first single, “Lost in Forever,” is a powerful rock song that’s truly vintage P.O.D. The group also collaborated with Cypress Hill rapper, Sen Dog, for “West Coast Rock Steady” and utilized punk elements on “Panic & Run.” Of course, it is vital to note that for Murdered Love, P.O.D. reunited with revered producer Howard Benson, who has worked with some of the biggest acts in music throughout his career. Despite all of his success over the years, Benson has always remained close with P.O.D. and was eager to work with them for the upcoming album; P.O.D. was actually the first band that Benson went both gold and platinum with, and Sandoval commented that Benson has had a special love in his heart for them (and vice versa) since they first worked together on The Fundamental Elements of Southtown. Specifically, Benson’s skills with vocals lead to him and Sandoval developing a close and trusting relationship. In fact, there was even talk between the two of them for Sandoval to pursue a solo project during P.O.D.’s hiatus, but it was ultimately decided to write a new P.O.D. album instead.
Currently, P.O.D. is signed onto Razor & Tie Records and in the words of Sandoval, in many ways the band has come full circle. Similar to most groups, P.O.D. began as an independent act but then earned a deal with the major label, Atlantic Records. After recording four albums with Atlantic and one with INO/Columbia, the guys all decided to take some time away from music in order to re-evaluate and re-energize. Specifically, Sandoval expressed that he is a husband and father first, and utilized the hiatus to spend valuable time with family. And while Sandoval was well aware that multiple years away from the industry is considered by some to be rock and roll suicide, the reality was the band benefited greatly from the time off; essentially, the hiatus enabled each member of the group to reflect and completely organize their priorities before heading back to the studio. Of course, today P.O.D. is in a great position working with Razor & Tie, a label with a large catalogue of both underground and established artists including Nonpoint, All That Remains, Saves the Day, and Shadows Fall. It’s clear that Razor & Tie is excited to have P.O.D. on board and has put full support behind Murdered Love, surrounding P.O.D. with a strong team making the promoting of the album a much easier and less stressful process.
After about twenty years in the music industry, to no surprise P.O.D. has been through their share of ups and downs but above all, Sandoval shared that it’s been natural process that has also served as a learning experience. Sandoval actually joined P.O.D. when he was only a teenager and has been dedicated to the project and his bandmates ever since. And while P.O.D. may not be the mainstream act they were during the days of Southtown and Satellite, as a listener it has been incredible to observe how the band has evolved and grown since their very first release back in 1994. Of course, the challenge today is to engage new listeners to add to an already dedicated fanbase. As Sandoval put it, every day someone is turning fourteen years old and is discovering their love for music, and the goal is to appeal to these kids with their new material as well as influence them to look into P.O.D.’s prior work. Essentially, while one generation may recognize “Rock the Party (Off the Hook)” or “Alive” as great rock anthems, new generations of music fans may not even know of these songs. Granted, this is an obstacle all long-tenured bands must overcome but considering P.O.D.’s impressive résumé, it’s difficult to imagine the band will have any serious issues with continuing to make great music or expanding their fanbase.
On June 30th, P.O.D. will be playing a free show at Memorial Stadium in Charlotte, NC. Following this, P.O.D. is scheduled to appear at the annual Krockathon Festival on July 29th and will then be on the road throughout August and September for the Uproar Festival.