P.O.D. Vocalist On Band's Mentality While Writing 'Circles' Album: 'What Do We Have To Lose?'

April 27, 2019

P.O.D. vocalist Sonny Sandoval recently spoke with Mike James of the "Mike James Rock Show". The complete conversation can be viewed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

On the musical direction of the band's 2018 album, "Circles":

Sonny: "I don't think it's a shock — like, a completely different direction — but we have so many different elements in our music, and I think with this record, it might be heavy-stacked on certain elements. We weren't trying to make this 'heavy' record. Sometimes, you're, like, 'I just want to make a heavy song,' or sometimes, 'I want to do something more reggae.' It's part of the writing process, but for us this time, after coming off the last record and just being so jaded by the music industry, it was, like, 'You know what? What do we have to lose?' If anything, we know that is true is that our loyal fan base has been there and will be there. [They've] been there so long, that's the only reason why we get to keep doing this. It's like, 'You know what? They're going to appreciate or understand whatever we put out,' so we kind of had this 'we-don't-have-nothing-to-lose' [sic] mentality. It wasn't trying to overthink it... [We] didn't really stick to a plan, [but] just had fun doing it."

On how the music industry has changed since the band achieved its initial success:

Sonny: "Whenever you write [now], you're always thinking, 'Is it too much rap?' Before, you just didn't care — you're like, 'Dude, I'm going to rap through this whole thing.' Then all of a sudden, it hit that ceiling — like, 'We just don't want that anymore,' or, 'That's not what the radio wants.' You always have this in the back of your mind, and at some point, you just say, 'Dude, I'm over that.' I love hip-hop music. I love the heavy; I love the rap vocals; and then there's stuff where it's like, 'I really want to sing on this song.' It's really just doing what you want. You hope that everybody loves it and you don't want to disappoint anybody, but at the same time, it's just too much to carry all the time, and then you become slaves to what the label wants. We gave up on that a long time ago."

On the band's resilience:

Sonny: "We've been hustling forever, grinding. If you look at interviews from 26 years ago, we always were saying, 'You know what? If we're not having fun, I don't want to do this.' You go and you do things independently and then you go onto a major label and then you kind of play that game for a little bit, but after a while, sometimes it's not fun — like, 'Now I really don't want to do this anymore.' You kind of have to choose. There's so many bands that are on top of the world, and they're not having fun. They don't even like each other. They're a business, and that's how they see it — 'We're a business. I don't care about you. We're not friends. I don't even love making music with you, but we're on top of the world,' and it's a business, and they continue to do it. We're not that way. I think we've made decisions to take time off or stop doing things or get away from music just to concentrate a little bit on our own personal lives, each other, and now we can play and smile and say, 'Hey, I hope the fans still love what we do,' but you really can't lose sleep over whether they do or they don't. Even now, it's the same thing with making new music. When you play a set, you're like, 'Do I just play all the songs I think everybody knows, or do we play a lot of the new ones and have fun with it?' You're always trying to gauge it, but we're playing new ones."

P.O.D.'s tenth studio album, "Circles", was released in November via Mascot. The group will kick off an American tour with NONPOINT, ISLANDER and NINE SHRINES on May 10 in Newport, Kentucky.

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