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P.O.D. Talk India Debut This Month

The American rock/metal band’s frontman Sonny Sandoval is to take in all the sights and sounds at the Orange Festival of Adventure and Music, Dambuk

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Anurag Tagat Dec 12, 2019

American nu metal band P.O.D. Photo: Kevin Baldes

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Sometime in the year 2000, Hollywood actor Adam Sandler brought together reigning rock/metal bands like Deftones, Incubus and P.O.D. to promote his new comedy movie Little Nicky. For a TV appearance, the bands got together with Sandler (armed with his own acoustic guitar) to play their tunes.

Nearly two decades later, P.O.D.’s vocalist Sonny Sandoval laughs when he recalls the event. Sandoval says over the phone from somewhere on the road in Sweden, “It was Adam Sandler saying, ‘Dude, I’m a P.O.D. fan, I’m a Deftones fan, I’m an Incubus fan,’ you know? He was really handpicking his soundtrack. That’s what kind of made it a great collaboration.” Sandoval quickly returns to his original point about music discovery and how that’s changed. For a band like P.O.D., whose song “Sleeping Awake” also featured on the soundtrack to 2003 sci-fi/action blockbuster The Matrix Reloaded, Sandoval says music today “doesn’t feel authentic.” He adds, “It’s just feels… very Hollywood, a lot of it is fake. It’s more of, ‘Let me just take what’s hot, because we’re in cahoots with this label and this manager’ and they’re all really making money together. It’s never really this grassroots, authentic feeling.”

It’s only apt that he mentions Hollywood, considering the rap rap, nu-metal and reggae-influenced Christian band spoke about this way back in 1999. On a song called “Hollywood,” off their record The Fundamental Elements of Southtown, the band warned of the consequences of trying to get too famous too quick. The band did enjoy a lot of mainstream success with two platinum-selling records – …Southtown and 2001’s Satellite. But since then, even as trends changed and fanbases shrunk, P.O.D. seemed to have been happy with where they were. Sandoval says, “In this industry, you want to try things – everybody from a label to others have an opinion of what your band should be. So at some point you want to please people here and there, but then you say, ‘I’m not trying to please these people any more.’”

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It’s fair to want to be a popular band that will play sold-out shows and sell records, but it shouldn’t be to “play this game.” Sandoval explains, “You really come to terms with saying, ‘Hey, I can only be who I am. I’m not going to change.’” Sticking to their guns, P.O.D. have somehow found themselves on the radar of the Orange Festival of Music and Adventure in Dambuk, Arunachal Pradesh. Booked by New Delhi agency Six Degrees Arts, the band will headline the festival on December 15th. For Sandoval and the band – guitarist Marcos Curiel, bassist Traa Daniels and drummer Wuv Bernardo – it’s amongst the signs that keep them going. “It’s a bucket list item for us to check off and say we did it together as a band. So we’re super excited for this,” Sandoval says with a laugh.

Known for songs off Satellite such as “Alive,” “Youth of the Nation,” “Boom” and reaching the boiling point on songs like “Southtown,” P.O.D. have a career-spanning set in store. You could just expect songs off 2003’s self-titled album Payable on Death and 2006’s Testify. For every mid-2000s fan who followed them throughout their careers, songs off 2015’s The Awakening (“This Goes Out To You”) and Circles (2018) are likely to be included as well. Sandoval says, “We have so much music, it’s always difficult to cram into an hour or an hour and a half. We’ll see. I looked it up on the website and it looks like a super fun fest. We’ll see what they want. We can play anything from the ballads to the heaviest to reggae music. We’re just an eclectic band in that way.”

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Another timely addition to the set at Orange Festival, Dambuk might be “Bullet the Blue Sky.” Covered on their …Southtown album, P.O.D.’s India debut coincides with Irish rock giants U2’s first show in India as well. Where U2 will play the original song off The Joshua Tree in Mumbai, P.O.D. might crank up their version in Arunachal Pradesh. Sandoval says, “We’ve actually been playing it on this tour, which is funny. It goes over very well.”

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