EXCLUSIVE: P.O.D. Interview + “Higher” Video Teaser

P.O.D. have made a big comeback this year with their incendiary eighth album, Murdered Love.

It bears all the trademarks of the group including the heavy grooves, airtight hooks, reggae soul, and hip hop swagger. They’ll be bringing that enigmatic sound to the Rockstar Energy Drink UPROAR Festival when they headline the Ernie Ball Stage. One of the biggest anthems on the record is “Higher,” and we got an exclusive first look at the song’s music video.

The band play on a San Diego rooftop during a gorgeous summer day as a young boy travels through the streets meeting a myriad of characters. From tattooed friends to MMA fighters, the video provides a slice-of-life look at some of the band’s inner circle and beyond. Plus, the visuals match the song’s ebb and flow quite perfectly.

We sat down for an exclusive interview with P.O.D. singer Sonny Sandoval to talk about the music video for “Higher,” ad-libbing on set, finally shooting  in San Diego, what he’s looking forward to on the Rockstar Energy Drink UPROAR Festival, and more.


Where did the concept for the “Higher” music video come from?

We went through a bunch of treatments, and we loved the fact that the director wanted to do the video in San Diego. It’s our hometown. The treatment had a good vibe, and it reminded us of how we felt when we saw the video for “Alive.” At the same time, it’s a new time, a new song, and a new video.


What was your favorite part of the video?

I love the end because the boy in the video is my nephew. We ad-libbed a little bit. When he walks up at the end, we’re all checking out the sunset. He comes up, and then I kind of nudge him a bit [Laughs]. I like that part. It was totally off-the-cuff.


What building are you playing on top of?

In downtown San Diego, there’s the Undisputed Gym. They do boxing, MMA, and all kinds of stuff. The owner is a friend of ours. I did a photo shoot on the roof before, and I love the open look of the San Diego backdrop. I told him, “One day, I’d love to shoot a video here.” When we actually read the treatment, the director asked us if we had any locations in mind. Directors are usually pretty familiar with the L.A. scene and not San Diego so he came to us. I was like, “Dude, I’ve got the spot.” We called our buddy at Undisputed, and he said, “For sure.” It’s in the heart of the city. This is the first video we’ve done in San Diego. Usually, we have to cruise up to L.A.  Everyone’s familiar with that landscape. The last video we shot was in Victorville in the middle of nowhere, so this was a welcome change of pace.


Did you know everyone else in the video?

Yeah, they were all friends of ours. It was a last minute thing. The MMA girl fighting in the clip actually works at the gym. A couple of the other boys my nephew rolls up to are homeys. We know pretty much everyone from the guy with the tattoos to the other dude on the low rider. That was the beauty of it. It didn’t cost us anything [Laughs]. This is lifestyle! We had friends that fit every part whether it was the skaters or the tattooed guys.


What does “Higher” mean to you?

Well, I’m a man of faith. I’ve been on a spiritual journey for a long time. For me, my experience is huge. I’m always trying to walk and be in the presence of God and look for that thing inside my heart and soul that gives me hope.  I believe that’s God and His love. I never want to settle in the routine of religion. I want to go deep. You can relate it to anything though.


Are you excited for the Rockstar Energy Drink UPROAR Festival?

We flew out to Houston the other day, and we’re doing a week-long run of some radio dates. Then, we’ll fly back home for the San Diego Music Awards. After that, we head to Kansas City for UPROAR. That’s all we’ve been talking about.


What are you looking forward to the most?

I’m stoked about the time slot and headlining the Ernie Ball Stage rather than playing the Main Stage. The kids go off at the side stage. We’ve done a lot of big stage stuff. The crowds are more spectators. The side stages go bananas! We think it’s cool. They don’t even open up the Main Stage until we’re done so everyone will be there for us.


Will it be a heavier set?

Yeah, I think. Obviously, it’s a rock tour. We’re a live band. We like to rock. If we have to mellow it out, we will at times because we can do that. This is the kind of tour where kids want to go off. I don’t even know if “Higher” will make the set! You play the songs most people know and throw in some heavy ones to get the crowd going. Once it becomes a single, we’ll begin incorporating it more.


You’ve also played with most of the bands on the bill.

They’re all friends of ours. That’s one of the cool parts of the tour. It’s like a family reunion.


Had you attended UPROAR before playing it?

I hadn’t! I’ve never had the chance.


What’s next for you?

We’re doing ShipRocked in November with Korn and Godsmack. We want to do a West Coast run. We’re staying busy. With our hiatus, we’ve been getting back on the scene. Doors are reopening.


Rick Florino