P.O.D. vocalist Sonny Sondoval talks 'Murdered Love'

San Diego rockers P.O.D. (Payable On Death) has returned after a four year break with a kick-in-the-face-teeth-clenching-air-pumping-rock CD, Murdered Love. It’s everything you’d expect from these rockers and they don’t disappoint at all. The Beat got a chance to have an EXCLUSIVE chat with the band’s lead vocalist Sonny Sondoval about the CD, touring, youth work, and God.

[Phone rings]

Sonny: Hello?
The Beat: Hey Sonny, wazzup!
Sonny: Hey dude, cool to get a call from South Africa! What’s the time there?
The Beat: It’s 20:00 Thursday evening.
Sonny: Wow! It’s 11:00 here in San Diego.
The Beat: Your new CD kicks some serious butt. We are especially fond of the last track on the CD, titled I Am. It’s a very angry song.
Sonny: Yeah man. It’s what I call a teeth-rattling album closer. I had been doing a lot of outreach to kids, talking at a lot of schools. I see what they go through – suicide, rape, any kind addiction, porn on mobile devices – and that song is just about being vulnerable and honest. They’re wondering if they’re screw-ups, if they’re deserving of love and compassion.  In my faith, if I believe that Jesus paid for the sins of the world, and I’m all these things, this is what’s going on in the real world, and do you still love someone like me? And even though I know you do, and I believe in you, I believe in your forgiveness and your grace and your mercy, there’s still so much confusion around me that everybody’s getting in the way and trying to take your place. Everything gets in my way from seeing who Jesus was. So I just wrote it out, I felt it out. The song was also one of the first demos that we had done and got to our management.
The Beat: Listening to the CD in a whole, sounds like you guys played around with some genres? I mean, you have Sen Dog of hip-hop band Cypress Hill on the track West Coast Rock Steady.
Sonny: It’s a fusion of all our musical passions. We jump from punk to reggae to rap to metal. And funk, people forget we had a little funk on our first few indie releases. So on a few songs here, we took it back. The whole process was really organic.
The Beat: You guys sure took your time with this CD!
Sonny: Yeah, I was just fed up with the music industry and music business that we took a break and when the musical itch came back, it was awesome.
The Beat: P.O.D. has previously been labelled a Christian band. Do you define that band that way?
Sonny: You know man, never have we said we’re a Christian band. We were always just a hardcore band that came out and said what we believed in and we also talked about the streets and the stuff that we were into and the struggles and everything we were going through. Once people found out we were Christian, it was always ‘Is that Christian music?’ We have always fought against that because we didn’t want to be labelled. I didn’t grow up with the church and I didn’t know there was Christian music.
The Beat: So, when did you found Jesus?
Sonny: I was 19 years old and my mom passed away from Leukaemia. I was on the wrong track, did some bad things in my life, and decided to turn it around.
The Beat: How would you define yourself?
Sonny: This band is a huge part of my life, but it doesn’t necessarily define who I am as a person. I’m a daddy first, I’m a husband and I’m a lover of God and people.
The Beat: Your guys gonna visit South Africa with the tour of this CD?
Sonny: We would really like to visit Africa, and we’re looking at some dates next year.
The Beat: Sonny, it was awesome talking to you. Best of luck with the new CD, and hope to see you soon in South Africa.
Sonny: Awesome man. Was great talking to you, and yes, looking forward visiting your country soon!
[Phone click as it’s put down]