Back in 2001 American band P.O.D released their album Satellite. The album would go on to sell millions of copies worldwide and features huge singles like “Alive”, “Youth of a Nation” and “Boom”. The time has finally come for P.O.D to return to Australia for a April 2018 tour to play all the hits from Satellite. We caught up with P.O.D vocalist Sonny Sandoval ahead of the tour as he shares his excitement to return to the land down under.

SCENEzine
Satellite was such an amazing album. Back when you were in the studio before it was released did you have a feeling it would do so well?

Sonny Sandoval
We didn’t have a feeling that our first record was going to go platinum but it was massive for us being independent artists. We figured if that one went platinum then why wouldn’t the second follow right behind it but we didn’t expect it to do what it did. It was definitely bigger than we thought.

SCENEzine
The album seems just as relevant today as back then when you look at the themes on the record.

Sonny Sandoval
Yeah I guess that’s what makes that album special when it means the same many years later. The content that we try to mix within our music we are not trying to be political or controversial but we want to be positive and inspire people. We hope to encourage people and we also just write when we are in the moment.

SCENEzine
Was it always the plan to have the children’s choir on “Youth of the Nation”?

Sonny Sandoval
It was more of when we were finally in the studio the song felt big and we were like what are the chances of getting a kids choir in here. Then you here those toms and your like what if we added a different type of drum in the mix. You just kind of build that’s the magic of the studio stuff, you can write and put things together but a lot of it is the fun you have when you are actually in the studio recording it. A lot of the ideas just come from there, it’s the fun part.

 

 

SCENEzine
With a massive song like “Alive” is that the kind of thing you quickly write then sit back and are blown away by what you created?

Sonny Sandoval
We wrote the music first and I remember listening to the music without any lyrical ideas or melodies and feeling like this song is inspiring, it makes me feel good. It guided the way in where the lyrics were going to go. Sometimes we will write a song and it will be pretty hard and in your face and have to make some kind of statement. But with the instrumental of “Alive” it felt good so I wrote the lyrics according to how the song made me feel.

SCENEzine
You must also be proud of how the video for “Alive” turned out?

Sonny Sandoval
Yeah we had an amazing team at the time. It was an awesome time period for every single one of us. We were just kids from San Diego never thinking we would play outside the city. Then here we are selling records, touring all over the world all of a sudden, we were just having a blast. When your in that kind of arena you are surrounded by so many creative people. The guy who directed the video went on to do movies, he’s in the movie game now that’s how awesome he was.

 

 

SCENEzine
I’m guessing the “Boom” video clip was a fun experience to make?

Sonny Sandoval
Yeah we had the idea of doing something a little more light hearted and fun. It was totally different than the way the song was meant.

SCENEzine
Back when Satellite came out there was so many great bands like P.O.D getting played on the radio. Do you think we will ever see a time like that again where hard rock will be considered mainstream?

Sonny Sandoval
I always want to be hopeful and never say never but I’m the biggest critic when it comes to the music industry and Hollywood in general. I believe they’ve killed music. That was an era where we were making music from our soul and the streets and just wanted to be heard. It was a force to be reckoned with. Now the same writers are writing for pop stars and metal bands. Everybody’s just following the protocol of well if you think that’ll sell me records, be a rockstar, become famous, then I’ll follow your lead. It’s a tough game to play these days. For us we took time off from that and got away from it.

But that’s the difference between us and a lot of the bands that we share stages with. We are not rich, we are a working class band. We do it because we love it, twenty six years later you’d think things would be a lot different but we are still hustling with the best of them. We also are writing music that we want to play. We are not trying to sound like anybody else or do what the last successful band was doing. So sometimes at the end of the game all you really have is your integrity and the idea that we pioneered a cool sound. We did something that was real and we hold on to that. Lucky for us we have a loyal fan base so we can keep touring and working.

SCENEzine
Finally you’ll be back in Australia very soon. Are you guys all pretty stoked to get back down here?

Sonny Sandoval
Always stoked because your part of the world is one of our favourites. If it was up to us we’d be there at least once a year. But the powers that be like promoters and touring budgets all play a factor. A lot of it has nothing to do with us, we want to be there. Even when it comes to booking shows though there is a political side. There’s so many things that go into it but we just want to make music and have a good time. As soon as we got the opportunity to come back to Australia we took it.

SCENEzine
I was actually at your show back in 2002 at the Metro in Sydney to this day that show was still very memorable. Do you have any memories of back then?

Sonny Sandoval
I remember being there for the first time we were so stoked. Those were the days that reminded me that it wasn’t about the band on stage or the audience it was about us together. We’ve always seen shows that way, we want people to go crazy and be a part of what we are doing, this is how we feel connected.

SCENEzine
Is there anything else you want to do in Australia besides play shows?

Sonny Sandoval
Well obviously we will try to go surfing if we get a chance. But when you travel you really just see the airport, hotel and concert venue. I’m an ocean guy so as longs as I see the ocean I am pretty happy.

SCENEzine
A lot of Australians’ might be wondering what happened to your dreadlocks?

Sonny Sandoval
It was just a change of life. At that moment in time it just becomes your identity. For me even years before when I started growing my dreads it was never some trendy fashion. At the time when I started it was actually more looked down upon. Now it’s the latest craze when you look at athletes. There’s got to be heart behind it. I just wanted a change but now my son is carrying on the tradition.

SCENEzine
When I look at the press release photos for the tour it looks like you haven’t aged. Have you secretly found the fountain of youth?

Sonny Sandoval
(laughs) No man I’ve just gotten fatter which is pushing the wrinkles out. I enjoy eating food too much. I appreciate that though man. For me I’m always around young people with music so I still don’t feel my age.

SCENEzine
Do you have a favourite tattoo of yours?

Sonny Sandoval
Over my heart on my chest there is praying hands and also my wife’s name and my two daughters and my sons name. That’s a special one for me.

SCENEzine
You have quite powerful lyrics, how do you feel knowing people have turned to your songs to help them through hard times?

Sonny Sandoval
I think how a song speaks to you is exactly how it is supposed to. I’m not religious but I believe in scripture and God. I believe that God has a plan for every single one of us. We all go through ups and downs and struggles and music is the common denominator. It’s the universal language that speaks to strangers. That’s an intent that we always had when making music it could be fun and represent where we are from but we can also share some hope and love. We hope that it inspires whoever listens. It was never meant for a certain group it’s just for the person that presses play and chooses to be better or do good. That’s why I still continue to make music because there’s still that adult or kid that comes up to me and says man your music changed my life, that’s priceless.

SCENEzine
One of my favourite P.O.D tracks is “Will You” any chance you might play that in Australia also?

Sonny Sandoval
We are going to do the Satellite record but that’s actually one of the songs we have been playing lately. It goes over so well, we just got back from South America and it had an amazing response. I was like dude I love this song. That one definitely connects I’ve seen more guys singing it than girls. Somehow it just connects. I love that song so maybe for you we might just have to bring that one out.

(interview by Christian Ross)

 

 

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