P.O.D. ponders life decisions on The Awakening

The band known for “carrying the hard rock torch with a positive message” has charted a course that’s led to worldwide record sales exceeding 10 million copies. Since forming in San Diego in 1992, the crossover Christian alternative rock outfit P.O.D. (Payable On Death) has recorded nine studio albums including newest project, The Awakening, via T-Boy Records/UMe. The band’s infectious mix of reggae, Latin, hip-hop, and rock has spawned numerous radio hits as well as several movie soundtrack contributions. New single, ‘This Goes Out To You,’ is currently No. 15 on the Mediabase Active Rock airplay chart and No. 18 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Songs chart.

The Awakening “travels on a journey based on the good and bad choices of a central character, exploring the consequences of his decisions,” reads an album profile posted on P.O.D.’s official website, PayableOnDeath.com. “’The Awakening’ is meant to be listened to in its entirety,” explains P.O.D. singer and lyricist Sonny Sandoval. “Every song ultimately explores a character dealing with life, making mistakes, fighting, trying. But we also live in a singles-type world, and it works on that level, too,” says Sandoval about the new album that’s available in CD, digital, and vinyl LP formats.

The Awakening was produced by Grammy nominee Howard Benson (Halestorm, Three Days Grace, Papa Roach), who also helmed previous album When Angels and Serpents Dance as well as 2001’s breakout LP, Satellite. In addition to the lead single, The Awakening is highlighted by other standout cuts such as ‘Criminal Conversations’ featuring special guest Maria Brink, and the high energy track, ‘Speed Demon.’

Sonically, each track benefits from the band’s years of studio and stage experience, according to the album profile. “I used to want to put as many tracks of guitar on the record as I could, because I thought that’s what you did,” comments guitarist Marcos Curiel. “But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that the more space you’re letting in with all the instruments, everything breathes and has an energy and a vibe.”

Bassist Traa Daniels claims The Awakening is an evolution from where the band started. “It’s this amazing piece of art that we’ve been able to put together as four guys who are like brothers; this is really special.” Drummer Wuv Bernardo agrees, stating the new album marks a “pivotal moment” for the band. “It’s more than just ‘Man, we just went in the studio and did a record.’ The urgency of our band, as far as how serious we are putting this kind of material in there and the way that we did it, blows my mind. I am proud of these guys, of us,” says Bernardo.

Upcoming fall concert dates in support of The Awakening include P.O.D. touring with Islander at venues along the West Coast as well as Canada (Sept. 13-17), Missoula, Mont. (Sept. 18), Reno, Nev. (Sept. 19), and Boise, Idaho (Sept. 20). P.O.D. begins touring with Insane Clown Posse at Rob Zombie’s Great American Nightmare in Villa Park, Ill. (Oct. 3). Additional dates with the Detroit-based hip-hop duo include shows in Cleveland (Oct. 4), Philadelphia (Oct. 7), Tampa (Oct. 12), and more than a dozen other cities throughout October. Festival appearances include Buzzfest 34 in The Woodlands, Texas, with Papa Roach, Panic! At The Disco, Pop Evil, and others (Oct. 17) as well as AfterShock 2015 in Elverta, Calif. (Oct. 24).

Watch the official music video for ‘This Goes Out To You,’ the lead single from the new album by P.O.D. titled, The Awakening.

As A Matter of Fact…

* In the Southern California neighborhood of San Ysidro, guitarist Marcos Curiel and drummer Wuv Bernardo were influenced by the music they grew up on in the multicultural, working class area also known as “Southtown.”

* In addition to their jazz and reggae roots, Curiel and Bernardo loved the grunge of Green Day, Pennywise, Bad Brains, and the Vandals. In 1992 the pair formed a band with Bernardo’s hip-hop MC cousin Sonny Sandoval, adding Cleveland bass player Traa Daniels the following year.

* Dubbing the group P.O.D. (short for “Payable On Death”), the quartet toured the country during 1994-1997, selling more than 40,000 copies of three homemade EPs (Brown, Snuff the Punk, P.O.D. Live) on the band’s own Rescue Records.

* Atlantic Records came calling in 1998 and signed P.O.D. to a recording deal. The Warriors EP preceded the major-label debut of 1999’s The Fundamental Elements of Southtown. The singles ‘Southtown’ and ‘Rock the Party (Off the Hook)’ anchored the platinum-selling release, earning P.O.D. top honors as Best Hard Rock Artist at the 1999 San Diego Music Awards.

* P.O.D. toured as part of Ozzfest 2000 and shared dates with Crazy Town and Staind for the MTV Campus Invasion tour. The band also contributed several songs to movie soundtracks (“Little Nicky,” “Any Given Sunday,” “Ready to Rumble”).

* In 2001 a second album for Atlantic, Satellite, was recorded with Howard Benson (My Chemical Romance, Theory of a Deadman, Motörhead). Hit singles ‘Alive’ and ‘Youth of the Nation’ did much to establish P.O.D.’s mix of hip-hop, reggae, and hardcore punk a la Kid Rock, Limp Bizkit, and Korn.

* The members of P.O.D. are active in the tight-knit Christian and alternative rock communities, collaborating on their own records as well as for others including Katy Perry, H.R. (Bad Brains), Mike Muir (Suicidal Tendencies), and Sen Dog (Cypress Hill).

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