To record what is shaping up to be their heaviest album yet, P.O.D. have spent the past three months living and brainstorming in the former Palm Springs, California, home of sunny '60s folk-rock quartet the Mamas and the Papas.
The area, which now mostly houses retired couples, would probably rather have had the "California Dreamin' " singers as neighbors than the dreadlock-waving, guitar-thrashing writers of "Boom" and "Youth of the Nation," but the San Diego rockers were gracious residents.
"We had to go to all the neighbors' houses and tell them that we were a rock and roll band and that we were going to be playing loud music," said drummer Wuv. "Everyone was cool and we told them we'd cut it down by six."
Though the original plan was to nestle in Palm Springs to casually write and compose before buckling down to record in a San Francisco studio, P.O.D. got so into the material they were creating there that they started recording a few tracks. And so far the songs have been coming out heavier than anything the band has done in recent years.
"We probably brought it back more to the old-school P.O.D., like the early '90s stuff that we were putting out," said Wuv. "We had a vision of the style we wanted to go back to — more heavy but with a lot of hip-hop and reggae influence like our older albums used to have."
To up the reggae ante, the band hopes to employ the likes of David Hinds from Steel Pulse and Damian Marley to join them in the studio. And as for that sought-after hip-hop flavor? They went straight to the top: Jay-Z.
"There's talk about him trying to do a track with Sonny," Wuv said. "We have some people talking in the industry ... and they tossed it out to him and they were saying he was kind of down. ... The further we go, the more we'll be able to see who is going to fit what style or whatever."
When the band sets up shop in San Francisco in mid-January, it'll be working with Greg Fidelman, who's engineered albums for artists including Slipknot, System of a Down, Weezer, Jet and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Fidelman will step into the role of co-producer for the first time on the P.O.D. project.
"I think the goal for this record to be out is probably like springtime," Wuv said. "We have like 24 songs right now, and there's probably already about 15 that we want to keep, but I don't think that's going to be realistic. We're happy with a lot of the songs we've been writing, so we've been taking our time and we've tracked a lot of songs, so it's going to be a battle for cutting songs off, that's for sure.
"We're just gonna let it grow naturally," he continued. "Whenever we're done with it, whatever time period it fits in, that's what it's gonna do."