"Justin Timberlake sees us and starts singing Alive": P.O.D. were way ahead of the nu-metal curve but others get the plaudits

P.O.D. studio portrait
(Image credit: Alicia Hauff)

When P.O.D. formed in San Diego in 1992, the term ‘nu metal’ wasn’t yet even a whisper in the metal world. Nonetheless, the band’s mixture of hip-hop, punk and metal made them forerunners in a scene that would dominate the pop-culture landscape. 

Despite the genre’s fall from grace at the turn of the millennium, P.O.D. persevered. Their new album, Veritas, arrives six years after their previous one, 2008’s When Angels & Serpents Dance, and even with the departure of drummer Wuv Bernardo after almost 30 years, vocalist Sonny Sandoval says the band are stronger than ever.


The gap between Veritas and its predecessor is the longest between albums in P.O.D.’s history. What was the hold up? 

We were a little bit behind the eight ball because of covid. A lot of bands when they realised they couldn’t tour were like: “Cool, let’s write instead.” But we’re an old-school band, we sit together in a room and we write records. 

What does Veritas say about who P.O.D. are in 2024? 

You have to grow and change – that’s a part of life. We’re not these teenage kids writing in-your-face ‘this is what I believe’-type songs. But the core will always be the same – P.O.D. comes from a place of gratefulness and of love. Our faith in God will never change. 

P.O.D. have always embraced collaborations, and this album is no different. What do you get from working with other artists? 

We were one of the first bands to line up multiple collaborations on an album, because we’re hip-hop fans and that’s what they would do. We’ve worked with legends and new talent alike: HR from Bad Brains, Eek-A-Mouse!, Tatiana Shmayluk… the list goes on. It shows our diversity. We can play with the heaviest of bands, or work with a reggae legend.

P.O.D. - "I GOT THAT" (Official Music Video) VERITAS - YouTube P.O.D. -
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Were you annoyed at being lumped in with nu metal, even though P.O.D. predate the genre? 

We’re among the pioneers in this game! Every time we do a record or play a show, we don’t understand why we don’t get the same respect as bands who came later. People might think we’ve got these big songs, so it’s all just money in the bank, but for some reason we missed that boat. Our friends are playing arenas and have money to burn, but here we are proving that you can do it. 

How did it feel when the genre took off? 

When we first started, people would look at it like: “They’re heavy, but they’re rapping. They must be like Body Count.” Then the same thing happened with Rage Against The Machine. Then Limp Bizkit comes out and we’re being compared to them. ‘Nu metal’ was just another name. Before that it was rap rock, or rapcore… We didn’t care because we were just doing it. Now we embrace it; if someone says: “You’re my favourite nu-metal band”, I’m just happy to be their favourite [laughs]. 

Who’s the most surprising P.O.D. fan you’ve ever met?

A bit like how people might assume we only like heavy music, it can go both ways. We got invited to play the Latin Grammys with Santana. As we’re walking up to perform, Justin Timberlake had just given an award, and he sees us and starts singing Alive. We couldn’t believe it, man! 

Veritas is out now via Mascot.

Rich Hobson

Staff writer for Metal Hammer, Rich has never met a feature he didn't fancy, which is just as well when it comes to covering everything rock, punk and metal for both print and online, be it legendary events like Rock In Rio or Clash Of The Titans or seeking out exciting new bands like Nine Treasures, Jinjer and Sleep Token.