“Hit Parade” – July 2003 // Chino Interviewed

Hit Parade, July 2003. Pages 52-53
typed by Liz (LlZARDofOZ@aol.com)

Big things have been predicted for the Deftones ever since this Sacramento,
California-based New Metal attraction first hit the music scene back in the mid-’90s.
During that time, vocalist Chino Moreno, guitarist Stephen Carpenter, drummer
Abe Cunningham, d.j. Frank Delgado and bassist Chi Cheng have constructed a musical
resume filled with pulsating rhythms, bombastic beats and from-the-gut vocal forays.
As proven on their Y2K release, White Pony, there are millions of fans around the globe
who are ready, willing and able to answer this unit’s off-center clarion call. But it is
with the immediant success of their latest self-titled offering that the Deftones seem
finally to have hit their full rock and roll stride. Recently we spoke to Moreno about what
has already been hailed as this unit’s most powerful, complex and mature effort to date.

Hit Parader: Tell us some inside secrets about your new album.
Chino Moreno: There are no secrets. It’s all in the music. I guess if you want to look at
it another way, if you listen to this album, most of the secrets are revealed. This is a
very intense, heavy album, and we’re very proud of it. But I really don’t feel the need to
explain this record- it’s all there right in front of everyone who hears it. We worked very
hard on writing the songs and we feel that all the effort we put into it made it a really
strong album from start to finish. We had written about half the songs early last year, then
we took a short break and finished writing last summer. By the fall we were in the studio,
and it was finished by the beginning of this year. It was kind of a drawn-out process, but
we enjoyed all of it.

HP: At one time the rumor was that this album was going to be called Lovers.
What happened with that idea?
CM: At one time that was a thought. It sounded kind of different and kind of cool, but as
we got closer to actually coming up with the cover artwork and stuff like that, we all just
decided to call it Deftones. This is an album that we’re very proud to have our name attached
to. We did enjoy having the information that we were thinking of calling it Lovers come out
and spread all over the place. Just when everyone started to report it as a fact, that’s
when we decided to change it.

HP: How does the music on the album show the band’s artistic evolution?
CM: Because of all the time we’ve spent together, and all the touring we’ve done over the
years, I think that we’ve developed a stronger band identity than ever before. We know what
we do best, and what we want to do. We’re not afraid to experiment, yet we’re also not shy
about just letting the power and energy carry the music along. All of that worked to make this
album come together. I don’t want to compare it to what we’ve done in the past because I don’t
like doing that, and each album shows where we were at a given time. But this one is very special.

HP: How much of the new material do you expect to have in your next stage show?
CM: It depends. I guess there will be more as fans get more and more used to the material.
We don’t want to just shove it all down their throats right away. We want them to like it
and want to hear it.

HP: During your time between albums, it seemed that you really explored your fascination with
electronic music.
CM: What you’re referring to is what I’ve been calling my Team Sleep project. It’s something
totally different and apart from the Deftones. I started doing that kind of music just for fun-
as something to do in my free time. But from there, it kind of took on a life of its own.
I did the intitial recordings in my bedroom- just me fooling around with some electronic,
beat-oriented samples. But once I got those tapes done, I brought in some neighborhood friends
to kind of round the sound out. We did some more work with it last summer, it was a lot of fun.

HP: Did that project get you ready to make a new Deftones album?
CM: In a way it did. When you’re playing music that’s so different from what people expect,
and when you’re playing live and the crowd is responding in a very different way, it allows
you to approach everything else from a very fresh perspective. With the Deftones you have mosh
pits and people stage diving. With Team Sleep you had none of that- just a lot of people standing
there getting into the beat and occasionally tapping their foot. So when I got back to work on
new music for the Deftones, I was really ready for it.

HP: As your watch the changes taking place within the so-called New Metal scene,
how do you respond to them?
CM: Like with any other time in music, I guess it’s true that there’s good music out there,
and there’s some not-so-good music. But I’m a big fan of just about every kind of music, so
if bands are taking chances and really laying it on the line, then I applaud what they’re
doing and I encourage them. But, if they’re just trying to fall in line and deliever what they
think the people want to hear, they’d better be careful. Thats not good for them, or for music.
But I don’t think Deftones are really part of the New Metal thing. I know some people have placed
us there, but we came along before that. Some of our influences are different, and we have no
interest in being part of anyone’s scene.

HP: Do the high expectations that many within the music industry have for your new album place
extra pressure upon you?
CM: Maybe it puts the pressure on them for placing their belief in us! I don’t think we felt
any more pressure than usual when we made this album. We always push ourselves, and because of
that there is a natural degree of pressure. But we took our time and did it right, so it wasn’t
like there was any sort of unexpected pressure. We dealt with it very well, and let it inspire us.