Boom! Here comes the Boom! With over twelve million records sold worldwide American hard rockers P.O.D. make their triumphant return to Australia for their first headline tour since 2002 to perform highlights from their hugely successful album Satellite – Alive, Youth Of The Nation, Boom, Satellite and plus other Hits. Hi Fi Way: The Pop Chronicles speaks to Traa Daniels ahead of the tour.
It’s now twenty five years and counting, with the most recent album being 2015’s The Awakening, which is quite different album from the past, looking back, where does it sit with you know.
I liked the music a lot although it didn’t get the exposure it should’ve got. The record label we were with, were signed on to, didn’t want to promote any record with angst on it, so to speak. Anytime you put out a record, you have to innovative to shift and move with the industry, labels and where they’re at. It’s got lots of great tracks, the music was great but the dialogue in between wasn’t executed as well as I’d like. We’ve been playing together for years, so you get into routine, that was us stepping out and doing something different. It was really exciting and fun doing a conceptual album. You just got to execute that enthusiasm correctly with the music.
How different is the music industry today since you guys started twenty five years ago?
Record labels are not what they used to be. Music is very different. The creative idea to get something from your guitar was very complex, you needed money, a studio, recording rig, whatever. Today I’ve seen people create on their iPhone and they are not even musicians, sometimes it sounds pretty good! To play an instrument, it takes a lot of discipline. There is more music out now than ever, stuff from the iPhone is on the radio! What’s happened is the ability to create has been taken away, then the music scene saturated. It’s devalues itself by having so much out there. It’s a level playing field as the middle man, the label to a degree, has been taken out. My concern is that we have no creativity, back in the 70’s we had all these different sounds, today it’s the same samples, same style of writing.
You’re from Ohio originally with a more jazz based background, so how did you become involved with a Californian metal band?
It’s weird, my family moved to San Diego and I went to the military, I left that and moved to San Diego. I’m from a very funk, jazz, soul background. I never listened to rock music, in fact I hated it for years. It’s not my style. I was playing with Sonny Sandoval’s uncle’s band, a Filipino guy playing funk music in San Diego, that place is such a melting pot!! P.O.D. lost the bass player and asked me to fill in. I’d seen them play and they were full of energy. I was due to play two shows at the Whisky-A-Go Go and The Roxy, in rehearsal this heavy metal band just played funk music for half hour and I was blown away. Drummer Wuv Bernardo has great funk timing, Marcos Curiel can play anything on a guitar and Sonny has these hip hop vibes, he knows he’s on it. It’s magical and it’s organic. Here I am playing in this metal band and it’s weird trying to find metal bass lines, so i draw from my experience, listening to Bootsy Collins, Larry Graham and Jaco Pastorius and find where I can fit. I’m the jazz vibe in the band.
From the outside, America is seen as being a country of extreme and strong beliefs, P.O.D. themselves have quite strong spiritual beliefs. How hard is it maintaining that lifestyle in the Sodom and Gomorrah world of heavy metal?
We all came from very broken environments, we struggle with the same things other people struggle with. We have a spiritual belief that makes us step back and think how can we do better things. Be better partners, fathers, brothers. For society in all. At the end of the day we are all one. When I go to other countries I realise how young America is. In the bigger picture it’s very small, we can’t see everything from our vantage point.
My spiritual beliefs are true to me because of what I’ve seen God do in my life. It’s real and what I would hope is people have that same peace in themselves. I can’t understand where someone else is coming from because I haven’t been where they’ve been. They also can’t possibly see life the way I do, as I view it through different glasses. All I can do is offer an alternative. But as a band it’s not something we do, to go out and to convert. We go out as a band to connect with people of personal level. That’s where it at with us.
The tour Is stating ‘performing songs from Satellite plus other hits’, with this being the first time headlining Australia since 2002, what can we expect from your show?
A lot of high energy, a lot of melody. P.O.D. have always been one of those bands that has this flavour, you know. We have a broad stroke of style, we don’t play straight metal or rock. Satellite was a highlight, our song writing was very palatable and listenable. We play some new and some old songs to ground out the set.
What a lot of people will get is the memory of where they were at when these songs came out. The songs are the background to peoples lives at that time. No one can do us like we do us, we need to be true to what P.O.D. is. We are a metal band, a funk band, a punk band, we’re a reggae style band and all of those things. We’re a spiritual band with a strong spiritual belief. We are fathers, brothers, husbands. If you really listen to our songs, we’re talking about life, our relationships, the good and bad times. We just need be ourselves, we are weird, obscure and quirky but we’re real and you will have a good time.
Interview by Iain McCallum
Catch P.O.D. on the following dates