An Interview With The San Diego Rockers P.O.D. All About Their New Album ‘Circles,’ Their Formation and Much More!
Posted On 14 Nov 2018
P.O.D. are the fathers of SOCAL and have been doing it for a long time like no other, pioneering a unique fusion of punk, metal, rap, dub, and hardcore that spread throughout the San Diego area. ‘Circles’ comes at a time when the band is enjoying a resurgence in popularity, with newer songs “Lost in Forever” and “Beautiful” drawing the kind of airplay the band’s early hits like “Youth of the Nation” once did. They’e been performing at the biggest rock festivals around the world, and sharing the stage with artists like In This Moment, Prophets of Rage, Shinedown, and Five Finger Death Punch. They shook up their creative process for the new album ‘Circles,’ collaborating with the L.A.-based production duo called the Heavy. The result is a contemporary-sounding record that still has the band’s core sonic signifiers, and it is an exciting return to form.
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Learn more about P.O.D. in the following All Access interview:
Let’s talk about your forthcoming album, Circles. I’m curious to know whether you feel that you would have put out this kind of album back in ’92 when you first formed or did you need to go through all of those other albums to get to this musically?
I think it’s all a big journey. Nothing was premeditated. We weren’t like we have to make this type of record. We just knew it was about a vibe and about a feeling on where we were at as a band. All the bands that we had influenced throughout the years, and we hear what they’re doing and they’re listing us as an influence, and we’re like, okay, I hear that. You know what? It kind of all goes in circles. We’re fans of music. We get influenced and inspired by different things. I think we had to go through everything we went through just to get here.
I think it’s a big part of who we are, with the bad and the ugly comes the good. You know what I mean?
How do you think that the songs you’ve already released, Soundboy Killa and Rockin’ With the Best, kinda prepare listeners for the rest of the album?
I think it’s a good gauge. We’re always gonna be P.O.D., it might have a different flair to it, but it sounds like P.O.D. Which is cool because that’s our sound – Our unique chocolate chip cookies. (laughing)
It’s like our recipe and sometimes we flirt with different ideas and different genres when it comes to music, but we’ve always done that since we started as a band. We never quite fit into the metal scene or we never quite fit into the rap scene or the punk scene. We just kind of made our own fusion and we’ve embraced that and just we’ve had fun with it. It’s because it’s literally who we are. We are fans of all different styles of music. We grab from different places, and we all have different styles individually that we are drawn to musically. It kinda shows in our own sound.
Do you find that the city, you’re from San Diego, you’re a San Diego based band, is that city still influencing this band?
Always. If you look at the artwork for the new album. People are like, what’s that all about? Well, that’s a sunset. Where we live, we get to see a sunset everyday if we want to. If you look closely to the art, there’s the coastline outline of California deep in the art. A lot of people miss it, and when they see it, they’re like oh yeah. We’re just kinda paying homage to our city, our state, where we’re from, kinda like we always have since the beginning. We’re very proud of where we’re from, and we like to rep that no matter where we go around the world. People definitely identify with it. For a lot of people, it’s on their bucket list. Oh, we wanna go there or I’ve been there, it was amazing. We even wrote a song about it called, “Always Southern California in Our Head.”
We were on tour freezing in the winter. We were looking at people’s posts back home in San Diego. It’s sunny. It’s beautiful. I wanna be home. We’re gonna bring San Diego, even if it’s gloom, doom, rainy, stormy, whatever, we’re gonna bring that vibe on that stage for that hour, hour and a half and you’re gonna feel that. All positive vibrations.
Can you talk a little bit about how this album has a lot of very consciously aware songs about today’s world and the culture that we’re living through? Can you talk about how you wanted your music to be just as aware as well?
You know what’s crazy, is we’ve kinda always done that. If you listen to the Satellite, our biggest album to date. I mean you have Youth of the Nation, which was a big deal, and it’s still as relevant today as it was then. We just try to write songs that as artists … whether you’re a painter or a musician or an actor you have to draw from your surroundings so that you can be relevant, and for us, we’re in tune with that. We’re in tune with our fans. We’re in tune with what they’re saying. We see the struggles that we have as band, individually, and we see the struggles that our family members and friends have, so we just write music about it.
Do you find that social media has been a challenge for you guys, like keeping up with it all? Or do you find that it’s just gotten more fun to be able to interact with people?
No, we’ve embraced it. Same with the whole screaming culture. At one point it was like, oh man, we can’t join the devil. In a sense like, screamings not good for us. It doesn’t pay us well. Now it’s just like you know what the battle continues. We have people like ASCAP and they are fighting the good fight every day for musicians to try to get us paid more. We embraced it. We embraced that side of it. We tell people to go to Spotify to stream our music. We also embraced if someone wants to buy a vinyl or buy the CD still, we’ll still do that too.
On the social media tip, we’re very active. It’s a bit hard to organize at times but we all talk business, we’re partners, so we all kinda take on a role, like okay you’re in charge of this, I’m in charge of that. We kinda just put our heads together, like if we were running a supermarket back home or a restaurant. Everyone plays their part, you know?
Is it ever surprising that after all this time, you’re still out there, you’re still playing music, you’re still creating it, or do you think you knew from day one, oh this is gonna be real, I’m gonna keep doing this forever?
Well, I mean, we take it one day at a time. I personally, when I was 13 years old, I started playing guitar, and I remember seeing, I forget what it was, Monsters of Rock being promoted on TV and they were playing a stadium. It was a bunch of hair bands like Scorpions back then, and I was like man, I want to do that. (laughing) Before that, I wanted to be a pilot.
I always had a plan. I was telling my family, I wanna be a fighter jet pilot. Then, after that, when I get out of the military, I’m gonna be a airline pilot. My family was all proud and then one day I was like, well actually, I want a guitar. My mom was like what? (laughing) I had nobody around me, none of my friends were influencing me. It wasn’t like so and so got a guitar, I’m gonna get a guitar. It was my own decision, and my mom was kinda shocked. (laughing)
I’m self-taught as a guitarist. That was my dream, I mean that’s what I wanted to do at a very young age. I think as a band, being that it’s a business and that you have four different lives, different lifestyles with each band member, we kinda just take it one day at a time. We always talk about man, 26 years in the game and we’re still here.
Same four members, we’ve had some bumps in the road and we have learned from them. We didn’t plan that, and when I read other band’s stories, it’s kinda the same struggle. They’re like, well I don’t know if we’re gonna make another record and then they keep going forever. (laughing) We always say, let’s just ride the wave. If there’s people that love our band and still show up and it’s been the case for us worldwide, it’s like why would we stop? (laughing) I love doing this for a living. It’s the best nine to five job you can possibly have, I think. Other than leaving your family, that’s the only downside. You miss them. A little easier than when we started, we were all waiting at a payphone. Like, I’m next. We had a bunch of quarters. Now we have cellphones with FaceTime and texting. It’s a lot easier to communicate.
Now, speaking of touring, what are your tour plans this fall and winter?
We’re actually gonna be going out, I wanna say a day or two or maybe the day of the record dropping here in the states in
November, mid-November til mid-December, we’re gonna do a month run, headline run, just to kinda get out there, spread our wings a little bit. Play some new songs. It’s specifically for the fans. We’re taking out a band from Florida called Nonpoint and then a band called Islander and that tour is called Full Circle.
So are you excited to be back on the road?
I mean, we just got off a three month summer tour so you know, I love it. You have to really mentally and physically prepare yourself for it all. Throughout the day before you play, like schedule or you’re gonna rot so. You know, me and the bass player will go workout. We have a routine and then you know, we jam out on guitars and work on parts. You know, stay active. Figure out what’s going on in that town or city and we go on. Oh, they got this cool museum here, let’s go check it out before we play or let’s go watch a movie. You’re hurrying up to wait. We’re here at the show, we don’t go on til 10 at night, so what do we do?
Do you find that you’re happiest on stage performing or in the studio recording music or somewhere else?
For me, it’s both. I love being in the studio, I think maybe a little more than the rest of the guys. I tend to be in there throughout the whole process, where a lot of guys will do their parts and just take off. That’s just me. I’m also a producer. I produce a bunch of bands locally. I like to just get into the creative side of it.See what we can make better or worse. (laughing)
My final question is at the end of the day, what do you hope that fans take away from your music? Whether they come to your show or they listen to this new album, is there a greater message that you hope they leave with?
Well, I mean, we’ve always, being that we do at times play a heavier style rock and roll. A lot of bands bring misery and sadness and you know, depression and whatever they’re dealing with and coping with. We’ve always been that band that’s leaned more towards the U2s of the world, the Bob Marleys, the Santanas. We always wanted to be that uplifting, spiritually based, positive vibrations type of band, and that’s a lot to do because we’re influenced by reggae music too. Why doesn’t anyone do this in a heavier style? (laughing) You know what I mean? When we started as a band, we were like, well let’s be that band. Not every song that we do is like happy go lucky but for the most part, we’re gonna bring hopefully hope and inspire you to have hope and to forget that pain. It might be a shitty day, but there’s always tomorrow. Let’s reach that and let’s start over and let’s try again.
I would say positive vibes. You know it’s crazy because we’ve inspired a lot of bands and a lot of people don’t know what we’ve been through. It’s weird… There’s someone who turns 15 every day that discovers our band or discovers a bunch of other bands, and we hear what drove you to write something like this or even other musicians will be like, where are you guys coming from? I’m like, well, this is how we live. We’re from Southern California, we come from the streets of Southern California, but ultimately it’s a beautiful day and whatever you make of it. I don’t know, we just try to have a positive mindset and spread love and positive vibrations through our music. Without being religious, you know? We lean more towards spirituality and we kinda have that stigma, you know because, you know our singer, he definitely comes, just like a Bono, comes from more of a Christian Catholic foundation, but we never once wanted to be like the poster children for that. We just want to spread light through, you know, love, and I think a lot of people want to put a stigma on the band. Oh that’s that Christian band.
Well you know what, that’s part of the vibe and that’s part of where our singer, and a lot of us grab from, but that’s a very small
portion of it. We’re humans and we wanna provide positivity for our fellow human man. If that makes any sense.
For sure. Well thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate it.