P.O.D.

By JoshLLR on May-22-2012 | Filed under Interviews | Tags : , , , , | Share

P.O.D.

P.O.D. is back after four long years to bring the house down for a whole new generation with Murdered Love on Razor & Tie. Sonny Sandoval, the lead vocalist, was nice enough to sit down and discuss touring plans for the summer, the current state of the music industry and of course, what to expect on the band’s upcoming follow up to When Angels and Serpents Dance. Check it out below.

You guys have had quite a ride over the past decade. First Marcos leaves after Satellite & you recruit Jason Truby as a replacement. You release a few albums with that lineup & then leave Atlantic Records. Within 6 months Jason steps down & it is announced that Marcos is back. You guys sign with INO, release When Angels & Serpents Dance, and then almost disappear again. Now you sign with Razor & Tie. How have all of those experiences shaped you as a band and band members? Were there times where you guys considered stopping altogether?

Yeah definitely man. I think that was more of my call. Just needed to sit out and was kind of tired of this industry. (Laughs). It becomes a business and then you stop having fun. Not only that but all the other struggles that you have to deal with and that everyone is going through their own sometimes you tend to not take care of those things because of this machine that’s moving and show after show. It’s how you make your money and you just keep going. Then, it’s like ‘you know what? I just need to go home.’ For me, I’ve always said that this band doesn’t define me. I’m a daddy first, I’m a husband, I’m a brother, and I’m a friend. I just need to go home and get myself together.  I was willing to lay P.O.D. down to do that. So, in doing that it I think I’ve rekindled a love and a fire for the things I believe in. For the music and for the people that I touched me.  I think in the last 20 years, it’s just the journey. At the end of the day, I’m called to these guys in this band. You know, they’re my brothers and I love them. Sometimes things that don’t make sense but tends to make sense that hour we get to play with each other. Now, I honestly believe that we’re the underdogs again. We’ve been to the top of the mountain and back again. Truly, we’re doing it because we love to do it. There’s no money to be made. There’s no fame to be grasped. It’s just whoever shows up, having a good time, and playing music in front of them.

It’s been 4 years since the release of When Angels & Serpents Dance. Besides working on new material, what have you guys been up to over that time period?

Some of the other guys jam a little bit in some side projects and do a lot of stuff with a lot of artists. For me, I just really put down music completely. Except, that we had done a lot of charity shows. I’m working real close with the family of Chi Cheng of the Deftones in the One Love for Chi Foundation. We’ve done a lot of fundraisers for him and to get him the help he needs. We’ve done a lot more of the charity stuff. Just free shows that we would do on our own time and on our own dime, for the love of it. I’ve been involved in the group called The Whosoevers. It’s really an accountability group that allows us to do a lot of speaking engagements for young people and go into high schools, rehabs, and youth faculties .  We’ve also been able to do a lot of free concerts with the best of the best. We’ve been able to just give these kids just a hope, and a love in the things that we believe in.  In doing that, I got to realize the platform that P.O.D. has. That’s one of the reasons I continue to do it.

Many bands, who have been with reputable labels for years, have recently decided to go independent with new albums this year by utilizing new funding services like Kickstarter. Did you ever consider going independent?

I think the way things are rolling now is that it’s great for new bands that have that access pro tools and can record a record in their bathroom and put it out. Social networks are such an opportunity for these new bands to get out there. We’re trying to adapt to all that. I think we are very old school, you know what I mean? I think for us, even going with Razor and Tie. Was like ‘With all the labels that still exist’. They’re ripping out the soul of these artists because there’s no money to be made in record sales anymore. So now, they want publishing and royalties. So for us, we’ll do it on our own if we have to. We all have access to studio and access to put it out. With Razor and Tie, I think they’re more of a distribution that anything. They just want to put out good records. Luckily, they do have a little money. They allowed us to go into the studio and do what we do, and because they took us on. We’re grateful.

As a veteran of the industry what is your opinion on crowd-funding services like Kickstarter?

I think it’s great, I think its old school grass roots style.  Don’t get it fooled. A lot of these bands are three car garage bands. They all have money to make records. If it’s true and it’s legit, and I see the band struggling and selling their blood out of their van to make it. That’s what I’m about. Most of these kids don’t see that. They don’t see these bands that are hustling and struggling. Again, that’s what I hate about this industry. You have these kids who have these record deals and they’re playing on the same stage you are. They’ve never even played before and they already have a record out. They have a shirt design and they haven’t even paid their dues. That’s part of the frustrating part. I think it’s great if there really is true fans that are supporting you. That’s the way to do it. We need these fans to come out and buy the record. If they’re not buying records anymore, come to the show for God’s sake. At least, buy a t-shirt. Just go old school. I think everyone is so spoiled with music. It’s turned into ‘I can download that band on my phone in two minutes’. It’s become love them this week, hate them the next. I feel like we’re getting back to the old school.

What led you to decide to sign with a bigger label again & how did you guys connect?

Like I stated previously, Razor & Tie is more into distribution. They’re more into putting good records out. They have the mentality, ‘we’re recouping our money and then we’ll split.’ That’s the way it should be. That’s a partnership. For us, the reason we left Atlantic, we were supposed to do our fifth record with them. All of a sudden, we had this, what I believe was a million dollar recording budget. They had shelved our last two records. This is the point where people are getting fired and nobody is working. They just stopped pushing their artists. Here we come from the biggest album of our careers, four times platinum. We’re jumping into this amazing new record. We have a number one song on TRL and we’re on the hugest rock tour of the summer.  Nobody is working our stuff. It happened for that record and it happened for this record. Here we are about to make our fifth record with a million dollar budget. We literally, begged them ‘can we just get off the label?’  They wouldn’t let us and we pretty much had to threaten them. “You give us that million dollar budget and we’re gonna make a five dollar record and keep the money.” We even told them, don’t even pay us, just let us off the label. So it basically took a million dollars to get off Atlantic Records. We were like, “why give you some more of our hearts and souls, and shelf it like you did our last two records?” It doesn’t make any sense. We’re at the peak of our careers and you guys shelved our last two albums. It’s absolutely insane. We were making records with Santana and all these people, and our label just wasn’t doing anything. I think they sucked us dry for what they got out of it. I don’t think they ever expected us to sell ten million records. So, they made their money and they were like ‘why push these guys anymore?’ I think we kind of sensed that. We owed them a Greatest Hits and they still sucked us dry one last time. They got a Greatest Hits out of us. Greatest Hits? Don’t we have to be like 80 to do a Greatest Hits?  That was another reason that got us off that label.

When we went with INO, it was more an indie feel at least. We knew that they had a Columbia backing but that didn’t go through. So, when we signed with Razor & Tie, we said “let’s just do the record we want.”  Let them put it out there.  At this point, it kind of is indie for us.  We used to do it on our own and now with Razor & Tie, it’s like ‘we’re just gonna throw it out there’. If people respond to it, they respond to it.

Did you sign with them prior to recording or did that follow the record?

Once we kind of worked out all the politics with INO, and let us go. We already had songs on the back burner. Once we got the go-ahead with Razor and Tie. They gave us a budget to go and went right in to finish the record. As soon as we got the budget, we went into the studio with Howard Benson and here we are back on the road.

How has the relationship been with R&T so far? Have they given you guys the freedom to do your thing & what you do best?

Yeah man. So far, it’s been amazing. So far, so good. I believe in this record, I believe in everything we did on it. I’m excited about it and it’s still a very fresh relationship. Here we are on the road again and we’re still meeting people. We’re starting to get some radio love. Everyone has their pieces in places and so far, it’s been pretty good. They trusted us to deliver on the record.  So, now we’re trusting them on selling records.

You’re back with a new label, a new album, & you also decided to go with a new logo. What made you guys decide to go with a new logo after so many years with the last one?

I don’t think it’s necessarily change, just a run of things. It’s been, like you said, just a theme of new. I believe we are kind of re-birthed in a sense of just going for it again. We have new management, new booking. That was just something again, talking about the whole social media thing, trying to stay in contact with our fan base. Let’s let our fan base do a new logo. They know what the best is. We had hundreds of hundreds of submissions. It came down to a few and we just try to stay connected with our fans. That’s ultimately all we have. We’re not just let’s get a radio hit and climb to the top of the mountain again. These are the kids that have been coming out. Regardless of whether or not, we have a radio hit or our record label drops the ball on us. These fans come out to a show and buy a shirt. We’ve always been that band. We’ve seen some many bands come and open up for us and just sky rocket to the moon. We’re blessed to have a fan base as hardcore as the one we have. Twenty years down the line and still making music. This is just like insane. We’re just taking advantage of the blessing that we have.

You decided to head back into the studio this time around with Howard Benson who you haven’t worked with since the self-titled. How did it feel being back in the studio with him?

It’s awesome man. We’ve always been great friends with him. We’re his first gold and platinum record. When our careers kind of took off, so did his. He started recording everyone under the sun, making platinum records after platinum records. He’s got a love for P.O.D., that is special just between us. He’s one of the guys that really encouraged us to write a new record. When we went in with him, we trusted his opinion and you know, he respects what we do. I think now that he’s made every record under the sun. I think he’s just really trying to go back with his roots with making rock records and artists that he really wants to do. Not just whoever is gonna pay him the most. I think it really shows on this record. You can tell that he really put his love into this record because this is what he loves to do. Not another bubble gum, copy cat record of whatever is gonna sell and make him so money.  He’s already got the money, he just wants to make the records with P.O.D. that he can be proud of.

So let’s dive into Murdered Love which releases July 10th. With a title like that there has to be some sort of meaning or story behind it. 

“Murdered Love” is a song on the record, that starts off with the title [originally], The Day We Murdered Love. Just a dark and eerie song. The concept was just us thinking about the moment that Christ was crucified. Whether you’re a believer or not, in scripture it says that the ground split and the sky went black. We were just thinking that we believe that God is love. Even in this dark and very eerie moment. Not just for the people that loved him but just to show the world of his love. It just kind of struck this vibe in the music. When I wrote the lyrics, it was more about butchering love. Which I believe God is love. I believe that’s what happened on the cross.

After the success of Satellite, the following few albums saw P.O.D. move further away from the rap/rock combination that you’d become known for. Instead you seemed to pursue more of a melodic rock sound. With what we’ve heard so far from Murdered Love it appears that this album is a return to your roots (Fundamental Elements, Satellite). How do you feel the new album compare to your past few releases?

I think it does. A lot of people are saying, ‘Hey, it reminds me of Satellite, or even before then.’ I think so. I think we just made a continuous decision to really do what we wanna do. With the last couple records, that just it, so many people had their hands in the cookie jar. “We need this single” ; “We need this…” Everybody is just pointing you in direction that they feel is best for your career.  I think even subconsciously you kind of just start to go in that direction. You become so numb, like I said earlier, you just kind of go for it and do it. Trust and hope for whoever has your career in their best interest. We’re writing what we wanna do. We’re gonna play the songs we wanna play live. We grew up hardcore and punk kids, yet we still have that SoCal heritage to us. So we really love reggae and hip hop. We’ve always just blended them together. We were making this music before it was ever big. At some point it got kind of destroyed. Once Limp Bizkit made it big, then everyone and their mother switched sounds. For us, it was always a lifestyle and now it’s more of a sound. It was something that came and then died. We didn’t wanna be lumped in with that sound. I think it’s something that really does play with your head. We’ve always been this way and this is the kind of music we love to make. I’m a huge hip hop fan and I love heavy music. This is what feels right.

I think listeners will quickly hear that the first few songs you’ve released sound more like a follow-up to the sounds on Satellite. Was this is a natural progression back to that sound or something you guys mutually decided upon? How has the response (radio/fans) been to the new songs?

The response has been amazing and you still have those fans that have been with you since before the mainstream and still follow us. You have real fans and then you have diehard fans. So far, it’s been amazing. I think that people are seeing that. I think that it’s natural for me to do that. When I hear a heavy riff or we start jamming the first thing I wanna do vocally is, just to spit something over it or rhyme something over it. I think in the last few records it was more like, “hey, we’ve never tried singing before. We should try singing.” It kind of worked out in our favor. It was cool, we’re now growing and maturing. This is more melodic stuff and it’s cool. We did it. With the rise and fall of the “rap-rock”, it was me more or less still wanting to do it. I don’t think it was shunned by the band but it was that other people’s opinions were for the progression of the band. We’re gonna come back. We won’t go heavy with hip hop roots but we’ll keep it mixed up. With this record, it was ‘I’m gonna spit over whatever I can’ because I like to do it. I think its natural and I think the old school fans will be satisfied.

Though the only tracks to have been released feature a heavier sound for P.O.D. there is considerable variety on this album. What are a few of your favorite tracks musically & do you think your fans will be surprised with any songs?

I don’t think that anything on this album will be a surprise. If you’ve followed P.O.D.’s career you know that this album features nothing that we haven’t previously covered. If you listen to our demos from 1992, we had DJs on it. We’re doing reggae music back then. We had jazz influences, had heavy moments throughout all of our records. I don’t think it’s a surprise for fans. Some of our favorite songs as a band are heavier songs. However, when you talk to label and stuff like that, they tend to think of stuff more like radio friendly stuff. If anything that is a lot of the disagreements we have. We wanna come off heavy like with “Murdered Love”; but “Lost in Forever” is friendlier. It’s like you kind of have to pick your battles. Ultimately, they’ll all our songs and we love them all. If it were up to us sometimes, we would have come off heavy. That may not react that well to radio, so you have to take that into consideration. Ultimately, I think I just want people to get the record and at that point decide. We’re still showing people our record. We’re just talking to them trying to find out what songs they like the best.

The last album had a bunch of guest appearances on it & we already know that Jamey Jasta appears on the new one. Are there any other guest spots that you can let us in on?

Yeah we got our boy Sick Jacken from Psycho Realm. He was actually on the Testify record. He’s actually featured on the self-titled track, “Murdered Love”. He’s just kind of lending his vocals to kind of the beginning hook. Then, he had  Sen Dog from Cypress Hill on “West Coast Rockin Steady”.  They’re the ones on the record, right now. I had actually talked to Chino from the Deftones about doing some stuff. Our schedules didn’t line up, it didn’t work out. I’m still hoping to do something. Say if the record is moving and it’s doing alright. Do like a B-Side or something. In which, he comes in and does a remix of one of the songs.

The song “I Am” features some intriguing lyrics & what appears to be some editing out of language. Obviously this might come as a bit of surprise to many of your fans. Can you discuss the lyrics & the meaning behind the track?

First off, I get both sides. I tend not to give power to silly things like that. I think it’s just more an aggression of where the song is coming from. It’s sad that even already people are already hearing about it. You have the self-righteous religious view; people paying more attention to one word instead of the whole song, full of lyrics. Look at the content of the situation. They tend to focus in some on one word, rather than everything that is being said. First off, that to me is the most shameful part of it. The meaning of the song speaks for itself. For me, hanging out with young people and seeing what they go through. Seeing the craziness of this world throws at you. For us to be dwelling some much on a word; to me, is that we’ve already lost sight of what really matters. I get it because we do have a Christian base. If Christianity is based on whether or not we swear or not, that’s the least of our worries. I’m not that kind of Christian and I normally don’t speak like that. However, it’s an expression for how intense the song is. I recorded it that way and after the long process of thinking about it and praying about it and seeking counsel over it; it was just like ‘let’s just bleep it out’. For other reasons, it just keeps it clean. There’s still other words in that song that still might make the record carry an explicit sticker on it. I get it ultimately. We don’t write Christian music, so that Christians can ultimately feel good. We tend to live in the real world. You know, I don’t live in a religious bubble. We’re surrounded by people that don’t have it figured out and who are lost. Again, that song on this record and everything that P.O.D. has ever been about is offering hope. We’ve found hope in the faith that we have in Jesus and in God. There are people that are still searching. This song discusses everything that I see people going through. This is just honest questions and asking God honest questions. People wanna focus in on a word, rather than on the content. If we happened to get smacked on the back of the hand, it’s not gonna be the first time. I know from  my experience, some kid will approach me saying ‘hey man, that’s my favorite song, this song really spoke to me because I am this person.’ That’s when it all makes sense.

It was just announced you guys will be taking part of the Uproar Festival this year, which is a huge tour to make a “comeback” on. What are you looking forward to most on this tour?

I love getting out with crowds that wanna rock and roll. On our last tour, we were doing the intimate shows during the week and we were doing the big radio rock shows during the weekends. There’s a lot of fans out there and all they want it old school rock and roll. I think, there is so much stuff out there today is just entertainment. You sit on the lawn, listen and sometime fall asleep. There’s no life in this industry anymore. There’s just no passion in this music anymore. I think when we jumped on these shows, we’re always gonna be that band that’s been there around for twenty years. That band that like to fly off the walls, get in the crowd, go bananas. That passion is just lost in today’s scene. It almost become the 80s, where’s more about glamour. For us, you know we’re the same old guys. Khaki’s, chuck-wearing, t-shirts, baseball on the back; go in the crowd get nuts. Just ultimately have some fun. I think, when crowds see that, it’s a fun reaction. There’s a new generation of kids that don’t know what that stuff is because they’re radio listeners. All they know is whatever rock and roll is played on the radio today. They’ve never experienced the passion of old school hardcore/punk. I think P.O.D. brings that. Whether you’ve ever seen us or heard us, when you come out to see whatever big band you’re there to see. When you see the reaction of the crowd and the band, it grabs your attention. Hopefully, they’ll take notice and buy a record or come out to one of our other shows.

Are you guys planning on being on the road for most of 2012 with other tours & festival dates?  

I think once the record gets out and gets going, we’ll get some headway on the radio charts the opportunities are gonna present itself. If it was up to me, I wouldn’t mind jumping on these tours, having fun and going for it. I honestly wouldn’t headline for a while. I don’t if it’s gonna happen. Like I said, we’re underdogs, just going out again. It’s fresh, we’re a new band again. We’re getting our feet wet in front of a younger crowd. When the record starts to do well, hopefully it will be successful, then we’ll do our own headlining tours. It’s easier. I love jumping on tours with bands that I admire, you know we’ll just see what happens.

You have been mixing rap and rock together for nearly 2 decades now & were doing Christian hip hop before there was much of a following. Over the past 5 years or so we’ve seen a huge expansion in Christians in hip hop gaining exposure in the mainstream. A good example would be Lecrae who you worked with on a track called “Children of the Light”. As someone who has roots in hip hop & who has also gone from the Christian underground to worldwide exposure what are you feelings on this movement?

To be honest man, I really don’t know much about it. It’s a long story. I don’t know too much about Christian hip hop. To me, I feel that it’s a marketable industry that people can stick to. I don’t get it. I believe you make music. I met Lecrae, I wasn’t really too familiar with his work, but I met him at a youth convention where he spoke at. I thought he was a great dude. I thought his heart was genuine. When he asked me to do something with him; I was like ‘cool, let me hear the track. I’d love to do it.’ It wasn’t anything like let me do a Christian thing or whatever. It was just love making music that’s positive. I believe that with the success of P.O.D. that we were used by God to break down a lot of those walls. We were always being labeled as Christian this or Christian that. I believe that for a while it was always a message that if you’re not a Christian, you can’t listen to this music. Now, there’s always been bands that has “Christian roots” and make great music they just weren’t allowed to get the exposure because they were labeled as for Christians only. So now, with P.O.D.’s success broke down those walls. Where now as people label them not Christian, but whether it’s good or bad. Now you have bands like As I Lay Dying, UnderOath, The Devil Wears Prada and all these bands that being attacked or judged because their Christians. They’re looked at for the music they make. I talk to kids all the time that tell me they’re not a Christian but they love this music. That’s what it’s about. Music is supposed to speak to your soul and do something for you and ultimately, have an impact on your life.

With Christian Hip Hop, I think it’s amazing if that’s what it’s doing. What I would love to see is Lecrae and all these bands opening up for Snoop Dogg. You really wanna be a light for the world. You need to stop categorizing yourself as a Christian artist and Christian only. You’re trying to be the fire for this world but you’re standing within the same four walls. We need to go outside and set up this wild fire. You know what I’m saying? P.O.D.’s mentality has always been let’s go and play for the woLet’s go play with bands that make music, not to stand in a genre. That’s not why I’m making music, I don’t wanna be in that bubble. Lecrae has so much talent; I think it’s a waste that’s only playing shows with Christian audiences. I think if they have a gift and a talent, they should be one the SmokeOut tour or something. It doesn’t necessarily make mean that you support the bands or artists. Or ‘If I’m on the SmokeOut tour, I smoke weed’; it’s not like that. You’re putting your gift out there. You’re putting your light out there for a dark world to see. I think that light gets snuffed out when its mostly in churches, youth groups or Christian clubs. I think sometimes us as Christian, pigeonhole ourselves to these genres.

 

This interview was co-conducted with Josh Murphy.

 

About the author JoshLLR

I'm a complex individual. I'd watch cartoons in my spare time. I'm a metalhead but listen to artists like V.Rose, & Lecrae. My heart belongs to the field of missions and carrying out the Great Commission, Jesus gave us in Matt. 28 is my destiny. I am a ministry director of the suicide prevention music ministry, Love Like Rain. This is and IVM are just the beginning steps to moving the kingdom. View all posts by JoshLLR

61 Responses to 'P.O.D.'

  1. Brandon says:

    Holy cow this was a good interview. Everything is covered and that makes me a happy camper. Thank you Sonny for answering all these questions and for keeping it real after all these years. I still remember seeing P.O.D during Snuff the Punk days in a small Church that had like maybe 20 people there. It’s amazing to think how far they’ve come over the years.

  2. WarriorSam says:

    Thanks! Great interview!!

  3. Tyler H says:

    That was really long and I honestly didn’t read the whole thing because of it, but I’m glad the tough question was asked and answered regarding “I Am”…and I’m glad it was answered honestly…but I don’t think that one Christian questioning another Christian’s actions makes them “self righteous”…

    Gal 6:1 Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.

    We probably didn’t do this in regards to POD in this case, which I’ll confess here, but that doesn’t mean that the swearing was justified either, because I don’t think that cursing is ever edifying, whether it is “okay” or not as Christians…

    1Th 5:11 Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.

    It seems like the album has a lot of Biblically based lyrics from this interview, I just don’t think trying to justify the use of a curse word helps anyone and I think we should be able to lovingly say that and Sonny can lovingly disagree and we can trust in God that He’ll work in us :)

    • John says:

      Yeah. I understand them being upset that people are focusing on one word, but at the same time, they’re the ones that chose to use that word, and if they hadn’t, you know, maybe more people would actually *have* paid attention to the full message. Or at least that’s how I view it. I don’t think people should put stuff in their music that’s..distracting? I guess that’s the word, and then get upset that people are focusing on that. I remember reading a Jars of Clay interview where they said they had a song they really liked written for Good Monsters, but because it was kinda political they knew that it would become the only song people cared about, so they didn’t include it for the sake of the album as a whole. And I thought that was a very mature thing of them to do. Don’t see many bands doing that these days.

      On the other hand, nice interview and I’m glad they’re fine talking about it.

    • Lucas says:

      Agreed completely Tyler! I thought the “self righteous religious view” and “Christian bubble” comments were a tad demeaning. Some people just don’t like hearing language because they’ve actually been in the world so much and I don’t think Sonny quite understands that.
      Besides, most people in that “Christian bubble” just don’t listen to rock music in general. ;)

      I have the utmost respect for Sonny, but I completely disagree with him there. Nevertheless they have a fantastic ministry and this is an awesome interview. I’m really getting pretty psyched for the new album. :)

    • DT says:

      I’m going to say I disagree. As far as people ignoring the message over a single word, it sounds like the song isn’t for those people anyway. I don’t know the lyrics, but from his description it sounds like it’s for people in real situations. Dark situations that may have been part of their whole life.

      How do you think non-Christians feel when they see these open “Christian” judgments against other Christians for swearing? They probably don’t sense any grace from Christians, may feel grace is distant from them, or feel that they need to earn it. Most Christians live in such denial claiming they don’t believe grace is earned.

      Lucas, if you’ve really been in the world that much and don’t live in a privileged bubble, I find it hard to believe you’d care one bit about a word. This world is freaking dark. Hence why he said it’s shameful to get caught up on a word. There are more important things that NEED our attention as Christians. Things that if you really felt empathy over, you would want to express your feelings in the most intense way you know… and maybe that would come out as a dreaded swear word.

      Or wait, since Christians fail so hard in regards to grace, maybe we NEED to stay away from those important things and not screw it all up. Hm…

  4. Great interview! Honest and to the point.

  5. scott says:

    This makes me excited to see them live! They sound excited for their live shows which makes me pumped.

  6. KeithX says:

    While discussing the language on “I Am”, Sonny said “… it was just like ‘let’s just bleep it out’.” I hope that he wasn’t being literal. Were the lyrics changed and a “cleaner” word used? That would make sense. But if they literally bleep out something, that will drive me crazy.

    Aside from that, the interview was great. And it is very nice to see Sonny with a renewed passion for his music. I can’t bleeping wait for the album to come out.

  7. “First off, I get both sides. I tend not to give power to silly things like that. I think it’s just more an aggression of where the song is coming from. It’s sad that even already people are already hearing about it. You have the self-righteous religious view; people paying more attention to one word instead of the whole song, full of lyrics. Look at the content of the situation. They tend to focus in some on one word, rather than everything that is being said. First off, that to me is the most shameful part of it.” Sonny

    If a pastor/preacher preaches an awesome message and one word makes it unbiblical then the whole message is ruined. Just like the parable of the yeast (see below). That’s how I feel about this song.

    33 He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.” Matthew 13

    One tiny little sin (if any sin can be little) can mess up a lot. Just like a little yeast can works it’s way through 60lbs of flour so to can a little word ruin a song. Am I being self righteous? You tell me. All I know is the bible is clear on using foul language and it’s also clear on rebuking a brother or sister if he/she does something not according to the Word. Christians questioning Sonny is the right thing to do. John

    • Tim says:

      That parable is about the kingdom of heaven, not the kingdom of darkness. What you are saying is assumed, but in that case, Jesus didn’t say what you have used the parable to say. Whether I agree with what you are saying, I think you used the wrong example.

      In fact, you could use that parable to argue that the use of the word is alright. From what I’ve heard, there’s a good little message in that song (some yeast) which is kneaded into the whole song (the dough) even the bits people don’t like and it works through the whole of it.

      I’m not criticising your opinion, just your use of that Scripture. There are better places to go if you want to talk about not using that language.

    • Collin says:

      I don’t know what word he uses or what the context is, but our “swearing” is a modern cultural construct. Scripture refers to heart posture, not actual words.

    • synn'r sainte jeb'beau says:

      wondering where the cultural construct begins…and ends? Seems a bit slippery. Our heart’s posture is often reflected in word & deed. Certain words are considered profanity & obscenity, no matter the culture. My son could innocently (in the proper context) choose to express himself through such words, but there would be consequences at his school, workplace, etc (there would be for me too, at mine). In fact, the sandwich shop I worked in banned certain xm stations because they felt such use to be inappropriate for their customers (In Madison WI, liberal capitol of the midwest). If the “world” in general recognizes the difference between civilized speech & untamed tongue, we as Christians certainly should amongst ourselves, & try raising the bar, not perfectly, but at least aim for it. To navigate between head & heart, those 12 inches, are the longest journey a person can make. Sonny has my admiration for continuing his, as I continue mine.

  8. On a ideological level I feel like I agree with what they are saying regarding language and its use in Christian music in general, but this is POD. they’re one of the poster Christian bands, and I still think it’s a bit….. I don’t know… odd for them to do this. it seems like a stunt to me, shock value or something.

  9. Joeshmooga says:

    Cussing in one of their songs? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Look, I get that they’re trying to be artistic and creative and heartfelt, but a cuss word from a Christian band kinda undercuts the message they’re trying to portray. It’s as the Forerunner says: 1 flaw can corrupt an otherwise good message.

  10. Sonny was mistaken when he said of Lecrae is staying within the 4 walls of the church. he recently performed at a festival along side of Wu Tang, Three-6 Mafia & a lot of other secular rappers. http://paidduesfestival.com/

  11. DT says:

    Uh, he swore and then edited it? If you’re going to say it, own it. If you’re going to edit it after prayer, go do another take. The Christians who would complain will still complain with an edit and, clearly, are already.

    Own it. I’d support it and then crank that up at the complainers and say boom! How you like me now?! Kidding… kidding… of course that’s not the right attitude and it sounds like a legitimately passionate song to be respected.

    Interesting to hear they’d prefer to be heavier all the time. I know they’ve sported Zao before in some music video, right? They do have some intense songs. I wonder how heavy they’d like to get sometimes. I don’t mind that “Lost in Forever” is friendlier. That song is great.

  12. JoshIVM says:

    This is one reason I debated on even asking the question. Let’s not make this a debate on IVM please. You can do that elsewhere. If it continues comments will be erased & shut off.

    • Tyler H says:

      I think that this has been a healthy discussion (unlike many others in the past on here) and the question needed to be asked since that is what a lot of the conversation around the album was going to be about anyway…better to have an open, honest discussion than to sweep it under the rug and pretend it doesn’t exist. I wouldn’t think that the comments would need to be turned off unless people started getting personal/negative/harsh/etc, just my opinion

    • JoshIVM says:

      As you said the question was asked, the answer was given. Everyone will have their opinion & we don’t really need to discuss it. Just as DT said, when non-believers come & see this stuff it puts a bad taste in their mouth. So I’m just asking to discuss it elsewhere.

    • scott says:

      Truth. I’d be put off by this if I was new to the site…

    • Tim says:

      I agree but it’s sad because there isn’t anywhere else on this site to discuss it. Whenever a thread is censored (erased and shut off) that also leaves a bitter taste in my mouth and makes me not want to come back.

    • Brandon says:

      Tim, you gotta understand our position regarding the censoring of posts/comments. We do it when we see an utter lack of respect and the berating of one another through the public threads here. It gets embarrassing for us as believers to see one another tear each other down for no specific reason other than getting a point across. There have been many times where the thread gets hijacked and people start hurling insults back in forth (more so in the past) where we needed to step in and close off the comments. We take into account what non-Christian visitors might think and we feel that these attacks/insults just don’t add much positivity to a discussion. For the most part, this P.O.D interview hasn’t inspired too much unhealthy debate but there have been a few times in the past where I just couldn’t take it and had to close the comments off. I hope you understand our reasoning for doing such a thing.

    • Tim says:

      I do understand, just in the moment I’m always like “awww, that was a shame”. And I get that it’s a problem so don’t worry! I keep coming back!

    • Lucas says:

      Brandon, I understand closing comments when things get out of hand, but if a debate gets too fiery would it not be just as easy to delete the debate so others could continue posting about the topic? Of course then you have to constantly deal with people like me who can’t keep their mouth shut. :)
      But one issue I’ve had in the past with closed threads is that I’ve seen certain threads get closed, but the debate that caused it to close remains there for everyone to see.
      I still remember when I first started coming here and I was talking to someone in a Derek Webb thread about homosexuality. I remember I’d said something that was misconstrued as being insensitive and narrow minded and before I could elaborate the thread was closed and the comments remained there.

    • JoshIVM says:

      Lucas, that’s why I said the comments would be removed after closing the thread. I wouldn’t want a situation like that to happen.

    • fusse says:

      And also… whenever I have more time to pour into it… I hope to code and setup some new features – like comment editing, say within 10 minutes after posting it etc.

    • Lucas says:

      Josh, sorry I missed that part! Although I wasn’t referring to your post anyway, but I’ve seen that happen to threads before. That probably doesn’t happen anymore though cause I know a certain thread recently closed was edited accordingly. :)

      And Fusse, I would absolutely love that! I’m sure a lot of others would too.

    • fusse says:

      When it comes to moderation etc. etc. we at IVM have also been learning over the years and have hopefully been improving our services accordingly.

  13. John says:

    I personally don’t think it’s been hateful. Just people who are upset because a leader of sorts did something they view as wrong. Seems pretty understandable to me. Idk. Anyways he seems sincere and everything, so I’m not going to doubt that. I actually think that’s cool that he prayed over it and everything. He seems really excited about his faith, which is pretty awesome. I hope that, in the end however this album turns out, that it does end up helping people – which is really the whole point of Christian Rock anyway. And it’s cool that they’re so passionate about spreading the Word, the more bands with passion like that the better.

  14. jim says:

    whats the word?

  15. Dan says:

    wow…is it an american “christian” thing or why are some folks so sensible on cussing.. i am not saying it is the right thing to do but c’mon, are there not any serious issues you can argue about.
    a european p.o.d. – and god- fan.

    • John says:

      It probably is more common here in the US. Gotta keep in mind though that just because someone does make a big deal about this, doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s not other more important things they care about. Always hard to gauge stuff like that from a few posts. I’m sure if everybody here met in person we’d be surprised lol

  16. Chandler A. says:

    Late here but just finished reading this long (yet EXCELLENT) interview. Buying this record for sure now. Hope they play a show in Indy :) My two cents on the cussing thing, I don’t think that cussing is bad thought out, in context such as this. I mean if you really can’t stop cussing and it’s a habit I would say you have to look through to the sin, which imo is a lack of self-control. But I would argue their are very few people in existence that haven’t thought a curse word in their head or cursed under their breath, Christian or not. I agree with Sonny a lot, shouldn’t really be the main area of focus.

    • Smacky X says:

      Something doesn’t have to be habitual to be wrong, if Scripture speaks against it, it’s wrong . And if we fall into sin or temptation in our own lives, that doesn’t negate our ability to admonish or spur others on by challenging them.

      In this context, it isn’t a slip of the tongue. It’s intententional and thought out; even calculated…

      And so the discussion and concern is not about just “a word’, or just ‘about a word,’ and it’s a cop-out for anyone to try to boil ot down to that. It’s intention. It’s a principle. It involves issues of what is acceptable compromise, what is “ministry” discernment and even of what living “set apart” means

      It’s easy to want to talk more about it from a logical & scriptural perspective, but that is apparently too controversial, so I’m biting my tongue (and fingers)

    • Lucas says:

      “It’s easy to want to talk more about it from a logical & scriptural perspective, but that is apparently too controversial, so I’m biting my tongue (and fingers)”

      It’s a shame that that’s how it’s gotta be. But hey, we probably don’t have any credibility on the subject anyway since we’re so shut off from the real world ya know? ;)

      But seriously. I love this site and will continue to…but one of the big reasons I love the site is having the privilege to have discussions like these regardless of whether we agree or not. I mean doesn’t the motto of the site even allude to that?
      Regardless I think most of the non-believers who visit these forums would be pretty open minded anyway, knowing that most everything here comes from a Christian viewpoint. Plus I don’t think anyone here has said anything offensive anyway.

      Just my thoughts…I’m going to bite my own fingers now. :)

    • This interview is one of the most detailed and informative pieces on a band that I’ve read in a while. And just about 95% of the comments are all in regards to the one question, out of a whole slew of them? Sorry, this is just me thinking out loud. I’m just really surprised that a week later, we’re still raving about the controversial question in this interview. I don’t think we’re going to solve this one here. This isn’t something that we talk about until everyone’s happy. Live an everyday life of conviction in example to others, instead. Actions speak louder.

      This is just my personal opinion. Feel free to carry on. Love you, guys. :)

    • Chandler A. says:

      Personally, I don’t think there’s really anything in scripture that for certain okays or admonishes the use of modern english curse words. I mean is better to tell someone “you’re f****** awesome” or “you’re freaking stupid”? I agree with you Smacky X when you talk about living set apart. I don’t cuss (Well, I occasionally slip up in my head or under my breath) nor do I advocate cussing. As a high school student, a lot of people I know cuss, including some of my closest friends who are Christ followers. Maybe it’s just desensitization, but I really feel like it’s more the heart behind the words. I wasn’t saying it has to be habit to be wrong or it’s right if it’s thought out, but more if the attitude is ‘I can’t control myself and I’m angry’ then cussing as opposed to this scenario ‘I’m trying to portray the struggles, thoughts, and doubts of the struggling human being’…as long as you’re trying to build people up/help them as opposed to tear them down, it’s my opinion that word choice isn’t terribly important. Although I think Lucas & Justin are right. Love the discussions on here, though we’re probably not solving this one :)

  17. Awesome interview. I am totally okay with the use of the language in this song. The words used are meant to carry a certain weight. Overuse kills that. The Violet Burning did the same thing on their self titled album in 1996 on the song “Fever”. The anguish expressed in that song could not be expressed as powerfully with any other word. They covered it with a burst of feedback and $%*#@ed it out in the liner notes so their friends kids could still listen to it, but you knew exactly what they were saying and felt the impact and intentionality of the lyrics. I don’t think Sonny would drop this kind of language if he didn’t feel 100% convicted to do so. Props to him as a person, an artist, and a Christian for being brave enough to not censor his true feelings and emotions in this song.

    • synn'r sainte jeb'beau says:

      I actually bought the demo that included the unedited “Fever” from the Violets at Cornerstone (many years past), did not agree (still don’t) & returned it to the table (as a parent of a then very young child, personal principle mattered as did the teaching of it to him). I explained to Michael that while I did agree with the sentiment, I was unduly uncomfortable (though I do expect a certain amount of discomfort when my spirit embrace’s a piece of an artist’s soul) with the profane nature of the expression. He was very understanding. I still bought the actual album (from a local “secular” indie store that stocked it) & was grateful to see that discretion was humbly exercised. I have proudly continued to this day to be an ardent supporter of all his work (including ‘Story of Our Lives’, my review of which he personally complimented & posted the link to on their site). It’s Good to see P.O.D. chose discretion as well. I respect an artist’s choice to express, & do tolerate (a balance between agreement of sentiment & disagreement of expression of said sentiment) the occasional ‘obscenity’, as does my now 17 year old son. It’s still more disappointing to us both, though, when an artist generally known to “keep it clean” is given kudos for not doing so, because it can betray (at least in part, & for some individuals) their audience’s loyalty to a degree (Sufjan Stevens, another favorite for us, is another recent example). However, as one who writes, I understand an artist’s need to fully present every color on their palette, otherwise they run the risk of more criminally betraying themselves. I myself have struggled with whether some expressions are too much or not enough in conveying the intricately intertwined thoughts & emotions entangled within my own personal experience, & what risks do I run in letting it all flow raw or if it might be better to tame the roar. Sometimes I think an artist can lose the battle they’re fighting to be heard in their well-intentioned yet over-zealous attempt at being heard. I think Sonny realized this, & am grateful for the wise restraint he displayed with great maturity (sorely lacking in every facet of our society today). The humility it takes for an artist to pull back both the curtain & the reigns for the sake of his art reaching into the lives of the masses is something I find more admirable than any other choice an artist makes in the name of artistic integrity (important, to be sure, but not all encompassing). In my last thought, I simply offer my appreciation of Sonny’s bold honesty (after all, he didn’t have to explain or defend, but he humbly offered to share, & surgically opened himself wide open, knowing what we the listeners may poke our tiny sticks at & what might pour forth, potentially venomously between each other & P.O.D. & the “church” & the “world”, etc, etc.). As individuals, we all need infinitely more discretion, & as a society, a whole lot less judgement. I will still listen eagerly to P.O.D., a band I’ve followed ever since I walked into a small crowd waiting for another new band showcase so many Cornerstones ago, & have seen at countless Cornerstones since. Warriors Rise On!

    • ParkerloveJesus says:

      ^ major disagree! Yeah props to an artist for knowingly sinnning on an album. Real cool.

  18. I agree with any sentiment that says this interview only increases anticipation for the new record. Can’t wait to hear it in all its $%*#@ glory!

  19. Travis Aker says:

    Me too &*%$ yeah

  20. NormireX says:

    Ok well then, I have lost some respect for P.O.D they are no longer a Christian band in my eyes. IF you knowingly swear on an album that is not being CHristian. I don’t care in what context the word is used. IF you are a CHristian you should be trying not to swear. Doing it deliberatley on an album is pretty low.

    I will be honest when I first heard the song ” I Am” (just got the album today btw) I really wanted to chuck the thing out my car window, that is how upset and disappointed I was that they would allow that language on the album (yes I know it is edited, but it still implies the word was actually said).

    There is no justifying this type of behavior. Would you go into a church and say those words there? If you are a CHristian I would hope the answer is “no”.

    That’s one thing I was taught growing up, if you wouldn’t say it or do it in church then you probably shouldn’t do it outside of church either.

    I’m not perfect by any stretch, but at least I try to walk the narrow path. Sonny seems to think he can jump from one road to the other, “Oh it’s just a word, people shouldn’t make a big deal about one word.” Really Sonny? Really?

    My faith in P.O.D is shot, I hope they redeem themeselves in the future. I’m a long time fan of the band btw ever since I saw the vid for “Selah” a long time ago on G-Rock.

    *sigh* so disappointing, I’ll be praying for them

    • Nicholas says:

      Go see them live and talk to them. It might change your opinion.

    • David says:

      “That’s one thing I was taught growing up, if you wouldn’t say it or do it in church then you probably shouldn’t do it outside of church either.”

      Welp, looks like I’m never going to have sex with my wife or have a campfire with my kids in the future…

      While my examples are silly, do you not get how that ideology is legalistic, at BEST? And the fact that you are so willing to dismiss their faith because of one thing? I hope you don’t believe God’s grace is that minimal and harsh…

  21. JameyWhosoever says:

    P.O.D! I’m buying this album today. Great review!

  22. Chris says:

    After reading this & the comments posted, it reminded me a lot of Johnny Cash & the influence in his music. I think Cash went beyond the norm of “Christian duty” when he sang for prisoners & wrote songs about dressing in black or just real life situations. I respect Cash for his influence & his heart in catering to people outside of the loop of Christian morals.
    I’m also reminded of Christ & how he was a friend of sinners & ate with the tax collectors & wine bibbers. At one point, he was criticized for eating with gluttons & wine bibbers. Scripture isn’t exactly clear as to what Jesus did in those moments he was amongst the losers & “sinners” of his day.
    However, I do disagree in a sense to the intentions Sonny had to write a song of this degree. I think many points were made (& very legitimate views may I say) that made me think of the morality published in this certain song. I have to criticize Sonny making a song to cater to someone else’s stand-point rather than making a song from his own heart & his own convictions. He said himself that he doesn’t use profanity in his own life, so why use it in a public song where he knows the criticism he’s going to receive? Especially if he has a reputation of being a Christian or being in a “Christian band”. It’s not about what he thinks can influence, but about what people perceive.

  23. Yorik Bruhl says:

    Pedro the Lion had some insane lyrics, though I do believe he no longer considers himself ‘Christian’. Control had way more offensive (but awesome) lyrics than a mere F word. Anyways, sick interview. I might actually look into this album now.

  24. Palaceburner says:

    Well I’ve been listening to POD since Fundamental elements came out, I think I was 15 or 16 maybe younger. At the time I was a “christian” as far as faking my way through everything because that is what was required of me by my parent for most of my life. I’m now an adult and am not a christian. I loved this interview and was surprised to see that Sonny had actually sworn on the album. I’ve listened to Higher and lost in forever so far and have not checked the rest of the album out. I’ll have to do that here in a minute. I agree with what a few of you were saying about non-Christians being put off by the fact that a lot of you had nothing better to talk about than the fact the man cursed. I think that most Christians are just too opposite of what they say their religion is about. If I could have met sonny and the guys from the band and hung out with them at some point in-between then and now I may still have some respect for most Christians, but to be honest most Christians are the reason that their religion is looked at the way it is by outsiders. I know more people that are money hungry, sex addicts, and just in general mean hearted ppl and still call themselves christains……doesn’t make much sense to me. Just a thought as I was reading the comments. Sorry if I offend anyone but that is what was in my heart to say.

  25. Kevin says:

    Words and lyrics aside, I loved POD back in the day, but this new record is a major disapointment. I had high hopes, but this album is filled with mediocre songs and lyrically doesn’t stand out either.

    I will continue to follow POD and hope they have better stuff still to come.

  26. I just started listening to p.o.d. I am impressed. The longest band I have listened was the band Red. They got a little old after a year or so. Then my dad showed me his favorite rock band and so far it is a hit. The first song he showed me was alive. Being a Christian myself and giving my life to the Lord at just 13 years old has had a huge impact on the music I changed to and my life. II am now 15 years old and and rocking a relationship with the Lord. My favorite song from them is Going In Blind. Sonny Sandoval keep them coming.

  27. Sorry for the grammar mistakes

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