P.O.D.’s Sonny Sandoval: New Album Will Drop Next Spring [Interview]


Story by Anne Erickson

P.O.D. frontman says reggae-rock band are ready to be back

With cool reggae grooves and head-bopping hip-hop beats, San Diego’s P.O.D. (Payable on Death) altered the flow of music in the late-‘90s and 2000s, and they still do today. P.O.D. always have something meaningful to say with their rock sound. After all, they’re a bunch of men who rely on their honest faith in Jesus to get through life’s rough spots, and they use music to express it. Still, P.O.D. are for Christians and non-Christians alike.

“We were always thankful for our Christian following, but it wasn’t always like that,” lead singer Sonny Sandoval said. “Once we went into the mainstream, everyone was like, ‘Oh, here comes this little Christian band.’ But we were playing clubs and bars since we first started. I didn’t want people to put us into this category where you’re telling people, ‘This is a Christian band. If you’re not Christian, don’t listen to them.’ That’s ridiculous.

“I think, as far as the Christian community, because of not being ashamed of what we were, I think there were a lot of young people who really took to that. It helped them say, ‘I’m not ashamed, either.’”

Nearing the end of his run on the Rock Allegiance Tour, Sandoval spoke with Audio Ink Radio about P.O.D.’s new life and their upcoming album with producer Howard Benson.

You’re on the Rock Allegiance Tour with Buckcherry, Papa Roach, Puddle of Mudd, RED and more. I spoke with Paul Phillips from Puddle of Mudd, and he mentioned how great it is to see you guys again.

How funny! Yeah, we’ve seen them off and on, but it’s been years, and we all kind of came up together. We’ve been out of the game for a long time. I feel like we just go out and play our stuff and people know our music, and it’s a part of us. I think that’s why we took a little time off, because once it starts getting so much business and the job end of it, it kind of loses its appeal. But, now we’ve had time to clear our heads and hearts and we’re ready to go out for the love of music again.

P.O.D. appeared on Rock on the Range in Columbus, Ohio, this year. What’s your favorite memory from the show?

Just running into old friends from all the bands we hadn’t seen in so long. But I think we were just on fire because the whole hype of the world ending that day, and I think it was supposed to end during our set. [Laughs] So we kind of went in and had that silly mentality of having fun. I think we came out and said something like, “This is the soundtrack to the end of the world.” [Laughs]

We keep hearing about a new album on the way. Any idea when the album or first single will drop?

We’re tentatively saying the beginning of the year– maybe March. It’d be cool to get a single out there by the end of the year. If the album comes out in March-ish, we could have another single out by the summertime and hit the summer fests and get back in the touring loop.

You’re recording the new album with Howard Benson, who has produced several P.O.D albums. How is it going?

It’s good. He’s been involved in the writing process, and he’s coming back and forth from L.A. to work on stuff and make sure we’re on the right track. We came up with Howard, so he knows how we work. We got a hold of him before he became this big-time, superstar rock producer, so we have that old-school relationship where we can be honest. He lets us do what we want to do. I know he’s really hands-on with a lot of the new bands he works with, but he believes in us and he gives us a lot of freedom to just be us without trying to make that one rock single or that one radio hit. He just lets us do our thing. We have a really cool relationship with Howard, and I know he’s really excited about this record.

You recently released a free song online, “On Fire,” and it just rips.

That was actually something we did at a local studio. We were just writing songs that we could have in our pocket, so management could hear them. We recorded a bunch of demos in three days, and then we showed management and showed Howard, and he was pumped up about it, so we said, “Can we just mix one of our demo songs and put it out there so fans can have it?” They let us do it, and we were like, “Let’s give away a free song, just for the fun of it.”

How does being a Christian play into your music?

It’s funny, when we started the band, I didn’t know there was Christian music and that there was a Christian scene. I don’t even know if there was. We played a lot of bars, because we knew the kind of people we were, and we were really tattooed, and we didn’t play church music. Christianity is something we all believe in, but I think when people start to categorize you, that’s when it becomes a problem. I think as far as the Christian community, we’re not ashamed of who we were, and I think there were a lot of young people really took to that and said, “I’m not ashamed, either.” You’d have this weak Christian kid going to school, rocking his DC Talk shirt and getting made fun of, and one day, he goes to school and he’s like, “What’s up. I’m rocking a P.O.D. shirt!” It gave young Christians a backbone. It was no longer, “Oh, that music is uncool.” It gave some of these young people something to believe in.


Anne Erickson

1 Comment

    28 Sep 2011, 3:12 pm

    POD…when will you be back in the philippines ?

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