“Antix.com” – October, 2000 // Deftones Interviewed

The Deftones interviewed by Vinny Cecolini
October, 2000


Vinny Cecolini: The wait is finally over.

Chino Moreno: I can’t say that I was confident the whole time we were creating this masterpiece.
Once we finished mastering the record, however, I listened back to it and it changed my life.
I love it more than I love anything else now. It is an aural hug that is just waiting to get
out there and embrace people.

VC: Is it true that some of your fans criticized the band for getting too soft?

CM: When we recorded Adrenaline, everyone was upset that I wasn’t singing. They said I was
yelling. I was asked to take some of my yelling out of the songs because the record company
was afraid that people would not embrace our music. Now people are coming up to me and asking
me why Deftones have gotten soft. I just can’t win.

Frank Delgado: We can’t listen to what people say. I look at this band as if we were all in a
big car. If anyone wants to go for a ride, we’ll open the door and they can jump in. If not,
stand back. We’re on our way.

CM: I started [this controversy] by saying White Pony would not be as aggressive as our previous
records. What I meant to say is that this record would not be full of senseless aggression.

VC: When I spoke to you last summer, Chino, you were concerned about being lumped in with the
New Metal or Adidas Rock movement.

CM: I had recently read a magazine article where the writer compared us to Limp Bizkit. There
would be no Limp Bizkit if it wasn’t for Deftones and Korn. There are people who realize who we
are, but there are also kids who buy the records, who watch MTV and see videos
like [Limp Bizkit’s] “Nookie.” I was concerned that some of those kids would not be aware that
we’ve been around five years longer than bands like Limp Bizkit. When these kids hear heavy
music with a groove to it, they are going to compare it.

VC: What is the story behind the title White Pony?

CM: There really isn’t a story. I came up with the title before we started working on the
record. It is just a title that stands alone. And that is how I look at our sound; it is its
own entity. And I always loved the title [of Paul Simon’s album] One Trick Pony.

VC: Although Deftones originally stopped touring in early 1999 to begin writing material for
the new record, the band accepted an invitation to join Ozzfest, a decision it now regrets.

CM: We knew what we were getting into. After a while, it felt stagnant and dragged out. We only
enjoyed ourselves when we were on stage. It wasn’t a challenging tour. Looking back, I wish we
had continued to write music. Financially it was successful for us, but it didn’t inspire us.

Stephan Carpenter: We’re a lazy band. After we were back in the rehearsal studio, our creative
juices began to flow. There were times when I would leave practice complaining that I just
wanted to play some heavy stuff. We were all in a different mindset when we began writing this
record. That’s probably why it took so long to record this record. There was a lot of
compromising involved. But we all met at a certain spot.

VC: White Pony’s creation process was documented on www.Deftones.com. While the band was in the
studio, snippets of music and video footage would periodically be posted on the site.

SC: The Web site is our avenue to our fans.

CM: When I was growing up, I was often frustrated trying to find information on my favorite
bands. I was into mainstream music, but I was also into types of music that you had to go out
of your way to find; music that you just had to turn your friends onto. That is why making
those little clips for the Web gets me excited. It is not too much information. It is
just enough to wet the fans’ appetites.

VC: Some fans were frustrated by the numerous delays releasing White Pony.

CM: I didn’t know the record was done until it was mastered. I knew we weren’t going to make
wack shit, but I did not know exactly what we had accomplished until it was done.

Chi Cheng: It is the result of five different people with diverse perspectives getting together
for a year and making a record.

SC: From the first day we got together to work on this record to the day we put the finishing
touches on it, it was both the best and worst of times. We are such picky motherfuckers that it
took all of what each of us had to make this thing.

VC: If the band was able to self-edit, what did producer Terry Date bring to the table?

CM: He is able to piece it all together. He knows us all too well. When we were recording our
first album, we were considering doing a Smiths cover and he said, “If you do this, I am not
going to put my name on this record.”

CC: We have since opened his mind to a lot of things.

VC: Tool/A Perfect Circle frontman Maynard James Keenan co-wrote and duets with Moreno on
“Passenger.” The two distinct vocalists compliment each other.

CM: He is a bad ass motherfucker.

CC: And he works in the complete opposite way that we work. WeÕre kicking around and drinking
beer and he is real efficient. It was great to see how he approaches things.

VC: Moreno guests on the new Soulfly record, Primitive, contributing lyrics and vocals to the
song “Pain.” It is the third song Moreno and Soulfly leader Max Cavalera have recorded in
tribute to Cavalera’s stepson Dana, who was killed by a hit and run driver a few years ago.
Cavalera recently said that the lyrics Moreno wrote “are from the heart,” because the vocalists
knew Dana.

CM: Max is a very spiritual person. “Pain” was a difficult song, because I wanted to do
something different. I had just finished recording this record and my creativity was [spent].
But Dana was a friend of ours. If anyone asks me to [make a guest appearance] I’ll do it,
because I like to work with other people, but at the time, I needed to slow down. But you can’t
say no to Max. When I went into the studio with Soulfly everything fell into place. It was fun
because [Will Haven vocalist] Grady [Avenell] was also a part of it. We didn’t do a typical
chorus where we are all together screaming at the top of our lungs. We cut the song up
rhythmically where everyone got his own syllable. It was like an old Beastie Boys song.

VC: Deftones has been accused of mellowing or growing soft, but in years to come, your sound
and style will inevitably be mimicked.

CM: I disagree. I think it would be hard to imitate what we do, because I don’t know what we’re
doing half of the time. I listen to the finished version of some of the songs on this album and
wonder how we ever came up with them. Songs like “Teenager” and “RX Queen” were spawned from
nothing. There was no agenda; no frame of reference.

VC: Do you regret not selling out and going after a New Metal hit?

CM: We’ve made a lot of hard decisions in our career. Sure, we could be bigger than we are
right now. We’ve turned down things that could have benefited us immediately, but would have
jeopardized our art and our longevity. Sometimes you have to make sacrifices. We want to make
decisions where we will be able to sleep at night. We’ve had to sit around and watch bands who
came after us doing bigger and better things than we’re doing. Of course they’re different, but
it is difficult to think that we’ve turned down opportunities they’ve capitalized on. The thing
that keeps us going is knowing that we will be around for a long while.

SC: I feel successful with the last two records, but I think that this is such a good record
that twice as many people should hear it.

CM: It will not provide instant gratification. But the more you listen to it, the more you will
like it. By the time the record really kicks in, it will be the fall, which is the perfect time.
I think it is a sullen record. It is, at times, a sad record. That doesn’t mean that it is a
depressing record. For instance, the first single, “Change (In the House of Flies)” is very
somber, but by the end of the song the listener and the [narrator] are victorious. You have
your hands in the air. That is why I like bands like Sepultura and the Bad Brains. Their music
is not skeletons and death, their music is about love. It is an audio hug. And like I said
earlier, our record is a straight-up audio hug.