Deftones depersonalized by Dave Jaffer
It’s not that Chino Moreno doesn’t like doing interviews, he insists. “I just don’t like talking on the phone. Not even with my girlfriend. And sometimes you get [interviewers] who ask all these stupid questions, and you’re like, ‘What the fuck?'”
Moreno, the charismatic guitarist/lead singer for The Deftones, is in Vancouver (“My assistant saw a guy wash a needle in a puddle”) where he and his bandmates are preparing for a one-off show before starting their much-anticipated Canadian dates on the Taste of Chaos tour, which also includes the likes of Thrice, Atreyu, Thursday and As I Lay Dying.
On the topic of anticipation, Deftones fans the world over are hurriedly cancelling plans for a revolution, as the band is just about ready to unleash their latest, as-of-yet untitled album (though the prevailing rumour has it called Saturday Night Wrist ), which has been over two years in the making. “This record was the hardest one,” Moreno allows, “the record where we realized we should really take time and dissect our music a lot more, and put much more into it. [Consequently] I think the final product will be longer lasting.” And, if we’re to take him at his word, less “personal.”
“I’m really over a lot of vocalists, including myself,” he confesses. “A lot of music is ruined by people’s personal lives in their music. I want to hear the music for the music… not about a singer who had a bad childhood or a lost love. And I don’t want to come off like my life is more tragic or glorious than anyone else’s. I’m just trying to fantasize a bit more, to sing about things that have nothing to do with describing myself or my life.”
Vicious, visceral and illuminating, The Deftones’ eclectic sound has been described in a variety of ways, including progressive metal, alternative metal and art metal. To many, though, their sound is defiantly unclassifiable, and even Moreno stumbles slightly when asked if he knows where he’d slot their style. “I think the dynamic between music that’s moody and music that has energy is a good description. Even though [our music is] sometimes an onslaught of powerful sounds and rhythms, there’s a lot of the opposite – broken down, sullen, quiet, peaceful. We enjoy making music which goes through peaks and valleys.”
Though hardcore fans have reportedly been more than a little perturbed by the bands included on their current tour, Moreno contends that Taste of Chaos has been “a good way to come back in and enter the mix” after spending years conceiving, recording and tweaking the new disc. The time away from the scene, time to relax and regroup, has also afforded them the room to improve their live performances.
“Our shows now are getting really super tight,” he tells me, his voice thick with wondrous, childlike enthusiasm. “There are times when we can be extraordinary, and times we’re just okay. We’re looking at being extraordinary every time out, and when we’re able to put out even 80 per cent of what we’re capable of, I think it’s magical. [We know now] that what we put into it is what we’re going to get out of it.”