Two weeks before the release of the bands fourth album 'Testify' on Atlantic Records, The Gauntlet caught up with POD's drummer, Noah 'Wuv'.
The Gauntlet: How were your holidays?
Wuv: We made it home just in time on the 20th. We did the Staind tour for a month and a half and came home. Then on Christmas Eve, we got a phone call from Jimmy Kimmel that they wanted us to do a New Years Eve show. So we flew out there for Times Square on New Years Eve. It was really cool. It was a last minute thing. Just the fact that we were playing for all these people live made it amazing. They had 10 blocks of speakers and teleprompters everywhere.
The Gauntlet: That's not something you can really promote.
Wuv: No, was a huge party and celebration, a good time.
The Gauntlet: POD doesn't seem like the biggest party band out there.
Wuv: [laughs] We had a good time out there, we know how to take care of it, trust me.
The Gauntlet: In two weeks, POD will be releasing it's fourth full length album titled 'Testify' on Atlantic Records. How does this album compare to the previous three?
Wuv: I love all the records you know what I mean. I like the fact that on this one we worked with Glen Ballard. We chose a different angle producer-wise. It was really cool to have him with us and guide us through the process. There were a lot of elements on this album that we probably wouldn't have had without Ballard. We got to work on the album out in Palm Springs at a couple different houses. It was cool to get away from the everyday life. Whenever we wanted to, we could write songs and jam them out and be inspired. It was a cool process. The POD element is there with the hip-hop flavors and the rock. We had a lot of fun writing this album and that's what I enjoyed the most.
The Gauntlet: Howard Benson produced the last 3 albums. Why didn't you continue working with him as it has done well for the band.
Wuv: We had done three albums with him. It has nothing to do with him at all. As a band we just wanted to go a different route and not pump out the same record. We didn't want to do it at the same studio and get the same tones. We wanted to mix it up and that's the only reason. We wanted to work with someone else and see what they'd bring to the table. Everyone has their own style. It would be cool for someone to bring in their own styles and opinions.
The Gauntlet: When you originally started working on the album, Greg Fiddleman was lined up to produce the album. He was Rick Rubin's sound engineer for many years. Were you trying to get that Rick Rubin sound out of him from the start of the album?
Wuv: Before we did a song with him for the Little Nicky soundtrack. Greg was one of those guys that was hungry and was on fired. We started working with him and it was going to be a co-produced effort with POD and Greg. He's like the next level type of engineer for Rick Rubin. He was more valuable to us as an engineer than as a producer. I'm sure he's a great producer and he does well with other bands, but for us it was more of a capturing the sound. Then we needed to get to a different level with the vocals and we thought that's what Glen Ballard would be great for.
The Gauntlet: Working with Glen Ballard is a big deal. The guy has won 5 Grammy's, produced multi-platinum albums for Aerosmith, Alanis Morrisette, Wilson Philips, Dave Mathews Band, Gwen Stefani and more. What was it like working with him as he's not the typical hard rock/fusion producer?
Wuv: That's what got us into him and that's why he wanted to work with us. He was very enthusiastic. He was over the top about doing it. He had this energy that he brought to the studio and we like that energy. We love to take the enthusiasm and run with it.
The Gauntlet: Glen is also a songwriter. Did he help write any of the songs?
Wuv: No, he didn't get any of the songwriting credit on the album. We pretty much had the lyrics and songs done with Greg Fiddleman. Glen was the guy that we laid all the cards on the table and he said he loved all the songs. We felt if he liked the songs there must be something there. He started attacking the production side. He brought in some effects, keyboards and made the songs bigger than we already had them.
The Gauntlet: Listening to the album, each song is completely different than the previous. You go from rock-reggae to hip-hop /rock, to metal, to reggae, etc. But at the same time it's a classic POD album.
Wuv: That's cool man. We had 20 something songs to chose from and it was really hard to mix and match for the record. Still to this day we are still bickering about what made it to the album. Regardless they are all POD songs and it's really hard to cut out songs. It's one of those things, they are kinda like your babies. You don't want to give up none of them. Hopefully the combination works together like you said and the flavors are not to far off what people expect from POD. All those songs are what POD is. We try to put together the best possible songs for the album.
The Gauntlet: For this album, some big names were brought in to collaborate with.
Wuz: We have always worked with people we respect. We have styles that are similar and we like their music. We have always had reggae songs on our records. A lot of the artists have inspired us like Matisyahu. We were feeling his flavor for a while. A lot of people didn't know who he was, now he's all over and doing his thing. Working with him was special to us because we respected him as a person and the fact that both our styles have spiritual content made it important to us. On the other side, you have us working with Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E. which is the hardest rap group out there. At the same time they are our homies. They have been friends of ours for a long time. We thought it would be cool to showcase their flavor on our record. It worked out pretty good. The song was actually just an interlude with no lyrics. Over time we worked out lyrics for it.
The Gauntlet: The song 'On The Grind' features Gotti singing/rapping from Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E. The song sounds like it was written with him in mind.
Wuv: It wasn't written for him at all. As a matter of fact, he came down the night before he sang it and asked if he could change all the "we" to "I" in the lyrics. He felt really emotional about the song. A lot of people don't know, but Gotti was shot in the back a couple times and almost lost his life. When he heard the lyrics, he wanted to change it to "I". We told him to do whatever he was feeling. It was a cool moment seeing a dude that big be emotionally connected to a song like that.
The Gauntlet: POD recently shot a video for 'Goodbye for Now'. When will that video hit the air?
Wuv: We shot the video in November in Long Beach. We are debuting the video on the 20th of January. We will actually be at TRL for the whole day showing the video for the first time on MTV.
The Gauntlet: About two months ago you released 'The Warriors II' EP. Why two releases so close together?
Wuv: It's not a full length album. There are just 6 songs on it. There are 3 new songs, a cover song, and 2 live songs we recorded in Chicago. We didn't plan on putting an EP out. It was just one of those thinbgs. We thought we'd be putting out the album last year and it just didn't work that way. We had so many extra songs so we thought lets just put out an EP. We only printed 40,000 pieces for whoever got their hands on them first. It's more of a special thing for our hardcore fans. The songs were written at the same for 'Testify' except for the reggae song which was written a couple days before the album was printed. That was a song I had written with another person in my garage and I brought it to the band and said lets turn it into a song. The reggae music was already written, we just needed to put the lyrics to it.
The Gauntlet: Why was Palm Springs chosen as a recording location if no one in the band had ever been there?
Wuv: It's just one of those thing where you goto a city you've never been to before. It's just exciting. We did a lot of the record there, but re-did a lot of the bass and guitar at The Plant in San Francisco. A lot of the guitar was also done in San Diego. We also did some over-dubbing and vocals in Los Angeles.
The Gauntlet: In a lot of bands, the drummer doesn't get involved too much in the recording process. They just show up, lay down some beats, and split.
Wuv: I'm involved with the record from the beginning to the end, every single record. That's the way our band works. Everybody has a part in writing the album. I actually wrote four or five songs on guitar for 'Testify'. Everybody has a say in how the songs are written. This way everyone sees it from the beginning to the end. It's important for us to be there.
The Gauntlet: How did you get the nickname 'Wuv'? It sounds like something Elmer Fudd came up with.
Wuv: [laughs] Me and Sonny's grandmother is full Italian. When we were kids, 'love' sounded like 'wuv' to her and somehow it became my nickname.
The Gauntlet: Who would win in a fight? POD Warriors vs Kiss Army?
Wuv: POD Warriors man, c'mon! The POD Warriors are a lot younger and are more passionate.