P.O.D.'s SONNY SANDOVAL Says Nu-Metal 'Got So Oversaturated That It Didn't Seem Original Anymore'

December 1, 2019

United Rock Nations conducted an interview with P.O.D. vocalist Sonny Sandoval prior to the band's November 17 concert at Le Forum in Vauréal, France. You can watch the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

On the recording of their 2001 studio album, "Satellite":

Sonny: "I think we were still kind of in shock that the record before that [1999's 'The Fundamental Elements Of Southtown'] had done so well. It was our first on Atlantic RecordsMTV, so we were kind of on a high already, like 'Wow, this is happening.' But 'Satellite' was a whole another level. We expected it to do just as well, but we're a hard-working band. We keep touring and working. I think at the time with 9/11 and the Twin Towers, it brought up an emotional state for the entire world, not just the United States, but the entire world, and we happened to be one of the handful of bands that were saying something worth listening to. It was beyond just entertainment. It was people were looking for answers and we happened to be one of those [bands], with our song 'Alive', number one on radio, so people at the time are looking for answers and we just happened to have a little spotlight on us at the time which was an incredible opportunity and honor for us."

On the 2003 departure of guitarist/founding member Marcos Curiel:

Sonny: "It's such a process because here we are as kids playing music and doing records on our own and signing to a major label then having success and traveling the world. Things were so fast. Things change. Everybody, they don't know how to act anymore. No one is born knowing what this feels like and all of a sudden we go from these hard-working guys playing in little clubs to all of a sudden everybody knows you and they care about you. I think if you're not grounded mentally, just spiritually, you can lose yourself in it. And you see it happening in entertainment all the time. I think for all of us, we weren't communicating. When we kind of went our ways, it was a tragedy, it was said. Because it was more than a band splitting up — we are a family. It was tough. At that point, you get cold and you're like, 'Screw everything. This sucks.' At the same time, you don't want to be another rock story of a band breaking up, hating each other. We're past all of that, thank god."

On whether he thought P.O.D. would survive Curiel's departure:

Sonny: "Yeah, I believed it did. We continued to keep touring and to keep putting out records, but also the industry was changing at the time. A lot of stuff was changing. No one's buying records, everybody, the labels were shrinking or they were dying off, so people were more concerned about their jobs than they were bands putting out music. It was a learning process for all of us. I think now, all these years later, we prioritize what is important to us. Is it being on the biggest label in the world? Or is it just being a band and being brothers and doing the music we want to do, selling out little clubs and being content with that? There's all kinds of things you deal with. For us, it's just one day at a time."

On whether it was easy for P.O.D. to get Curiel back in the band in 2006:

Sonny: "Yeah, I don't think everybody knows the back story. It wasn't about him even being in the band again. It was more about us rekindling our friendship and saying sorry. And nobody knew that Jason [Truby], he had already, not quit, but he knew that we were going to record a new record. He knew that would take another two years. He was, like, 'I can't commit to another two years.' He was taking care of his own stuff, so, really, we had no guitar player. When all of a sudden Marcos calls us out of the blue and was, like, 'I miss my friends.' We just started hanging out and we said, 'Hey, by the way. Jason is not going to be playing.' We just said, 'Let's just keep hanging out.' It wasn't a big decision. It was 'Let's just enjoy hanging out again.'"

On being labeled as a nu-metal band:

Sonny: "Before any of these titles were made up, we were still doing stuff independently. We've been called everything. Twenty-seven years ago, we weren't called nu-metal. People were still trying to figure out what we sounded like. Rap metal, rapcore. It was like, 'You guys sound like BODY COUNT or SUICIDAL TENDENCIES.' Then when people heard RAGE [AGAINST THE MACHINE] it was, 'Oh, you guys kind of sound like RAGE.' When LIMP BIZKIT got popular, it was, 'Oh, you sound like LIMP BIZKIT.' So, little do people know we were around before them. It was just more of a mainstream [thing]. Again, I don't care what you call us. [Laughs] We just like making music, that's all."

On whether nu-metal is about to undergo a resurgence:

Sonny: "I hope so. I hope it's coming back. I don't think its stint lasted long enough. I think it got real saturated. I honestly believe there was only two, three, four bands doing it that was authentic that was really from the streets or they were from the hip-hop culture as well as the rock and metal culture, but once it got trendy and started to become MTV and something like that, then everybody started switching over, then it got so oversaturated that it didn't seem original anymore. Then a lot of guys, they started changing up their sound because they didn't want to be associated with the rap metal thing. I think that was the end of an era where music still had something there. It was still moving, it was still real, whereas a lot of music today, it all kind of all sounds the same and fits a format. There's no life to it. I think us and KORN and DEFTONES, I think that was the end of an era when we really came out and we were ourselves and we just made music and everybody still sounded different. Now, everybody sounds the same."

P.O.D.'s tenth studio album, "Circles", was released in November via Mascot.

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