“Loudside” – February, 1998 // Stef and Chino Interviewed

Chino and Stef interviewed by Matteo Cipolla (loudside.com)
© February 1998


On the 10th of February 1998, the Deftones were supposed to play in a little club here in Milan,
Italy. Everybody knows they are one of the hottest bands around, and Italy was no exception
with the tickets sold out in a few days and the promoters forced to change the venue.
The band finally played in the best club of the city, the place that hosted performances by
artists like Counting Crows, Alanis Morissette and Sheryl Crow among the others….
Some hours before the band is due to join the stage, I have the chance to chat a little with
Chino and Steph. Our conversation doesn’t take place in a plush hotel….no, the Deftones are
too down to earth for that sort of thing. I meet them in a normal cafè, the place where you
wouldn’t expect a famous band to hang out…..

Me: You have been touring even before “Around the Fur” was released…how did the crowd react
to the new material?

Chino: I think it was still pretty good…..obviously it wasn’t as good as it is now that the
people know the music, but it was still pretty intense….

Me: A few months after the record was released, is there something you would change?

Chino: No, not really. There were songs that we were still writing when we finished up the
record and I wish we could have put on it but as far as the record goes, it’s fine, it’s good.
There’s a couple of little tiny things like vocals or whatever that maybe I would have…

Steph: (laughing) He’s never happy…

Chino: What would you change?

Me: Nothing, I would have just put the lyrics to the hidden song…

Chino: “Damone”?

Me: Yes

Chino: We put them on the internet….so everybody who’s interested can find them there.

Me: I heard about a collaboration between you, Chino, and Max from Soulfly.
Could you tell us more about that?

Chino: After he (Max) came in the studio and did “Head Up” with us ,he called me about a week
later and said he had such a good time working, and he’d wanted to do a project with me.
I said “okay”, and we said what we’ll do is just me and him, and we’ll bring some of our
favorites, just to collaborate…

Me: You already have some name for the project?
Chino: No…we haven’t even started making it… perhaps is what we are going to do with the
summer. In July we are planning on recording some stuff but… he has just started getting
Soulfly together, so there is really no time to record stuff. Hopefully we are going to have
some time to record next year… or later this year.

Me: You always try to promote new bands, bringing them on tour with you and talking about them
in interviews. Which are the new bands we can look forward in ’98?

Chino: I really like Will Haven, really powerful. Human Waste Poject, System of a Down….

Steph: I heard them (System of a Down) here today, we got a demo.

Chino: It was okay… Snot are cool as well…

Steph: We played with Snot… and another cool band from Sacramento are Tinfed, they are
excellent too. You can contact them at tinfed@aol.com, and they’ll send you some stuff.
They are really good, they have been around as long as we have… if I had to describe them,
they are like Nine Inch Nails… but I think better, because they write songs… it’s groovy,
but it’s a different kind. I’ ve been listening to their tape as much as Nine Inch Nails, and
not to down Nine Inch Nails, which is awesome… but I like the Tinfed tape even more… to me
it’s more songs… there is a really cool groove…

Me: Let’s talk about the meaning of the lyrics now… “Lotion” for example has some angry lines
on it. Is there any particular person you are referring to?

Chino: Yes, there is… there’s a certain person that I can’t really tell… a person who
fucked with me. It’s not about a girl though… it can be about anyone.

Me: What does the song “MX” mean?
Chino: The song was first called “Max”, because when we wrote the song, the riff was similar
to something that Max (Cavalera, Soulfly singer) would make. When we went in the studio,
Steph took out the “a”… and it’s now called “MX”…

Me: We know that your main influences, especially when you were younger, were Depeche Mode,
Duran Duran and stuff like that. Which are your “new” influences? I know you are massive
Weezer fans…

Chino: Yes. I like anything that has some kind of passion… and I think Weezer rocks.

Me: You (Steph) love them too, don’t you?

Steph: Oh man… I love them!

Me: Are you going to play some covers tonight? Like “Say it ain’t so” from Weezer?

Chino: I don’t know. Maybe…

Steph: I think we love playing it… what is hard about it now is that people expect us to play

Chino: Whenever we do covers we never plan to play them, we just do whatever we feel like.
Like last night, when we played a Bad Brains song.

Me: You’ll be busy touring Europe until March. What’s next for the band? Any chance to see
you guys playing with Korn at the “Family Values” tour or on the Ozzfest ’98 bill?
What’s next for the band?

Chino: Probably just touring back and forth and doing a lot of festivals here, and then going
back (in the U.S.A.) and doing the “Warped” tour. Many festivals, and then we’ll be going in
Japan, Australia and we’d like to go in South America as well.

Me: Mtv and radio have never been very friendly with your music, and many fans can have info
about the band, watch the videos or simply meet themselves through the Internet. What’s your
point of view on the whole “Internet” thing?

Steph: Good. I mean, it’s just another meaning like the telephone, like the TV, like the radio.
but all in one. And you can change it and dress it anyway you like it, it doesn’t have to be
in a certain way. It’s cool that people from around the world can meet themselves and talk
about everything, not only the band. I think the people that are afraid of it shouldn’t be
afraid of it ’cause there’s nothing really bad into it, it’s definitely a good thing.

Me: Did you find any differences between European and American audiences? Like the way of
moshing…over here many people just jump up and down…

Steph: I think it’s much cooler like that. People here don’t try to hurt each other, while in
the U.S.A…. I can’t say all the people, but there’s always some dickhead in the crowd that
doesn’t even know what it’s about… and they get into the audience just to get involved in
fights. I think people are starting to realize that. When metal was really popular it was
more like of a “pit thing”, everybody was always running in circles and just being a group
kind of thing… and then you got everybody throwing each other around and stuff…

Chino: There was a kind of punk influence to it….punk and metal….and that’s when the people
started getting crazy.

Steph: I think people are starting to realize that there is no need for violence in the crowd,
do it (surfing) if you like to have a good time, but there’s no need to hurt each other,
have fun!

Me: You wrote a couple of songs for two soundtracks ( “The Crow 2” and “Escape from L.A.”),
and you even played in the Duran Duran tribute album. Have you got any new songs written for
some future soundtrack or tribute album?

Chino: We have a couple of songs that we…actually we have one song that we didn’t put on our
record and some remixes for “Be quiet and Drive” that…..maybe someone wants to hear.
But this time I think we’ll try to pick up a movie better, we want to make sure that it is a
good movie. The “Escape from L.A.” thing is pretty ridiculous… I like the song we did for
it, but i think the film it’s pretty stupid.

Me: And what about the part that you played in “The Crow 2”?

Chino: I think that was more just an experience. Our first record wasn’t even out yet, and I
think that we were just so excited that someone wanted us to be in a motion picture that we
accepted to do it. After it’s done I think it was just basically what it was…it was cool
to go in a movie theatre and watching yourself on the big screen.

Me: What does D.J. Frank do live and on the record? Is he the fifth member?

Chino: Yep… on the record he does the sounds… like in the song “My own Summer (Shove it)”,
in the middle part there is a little sound… that’s his stuff. He’s on Adrenaline as well,
like on “Minus Blindfold”…

Me: And now, the question many fans were waiting for… Chino, what do you say in “7 Words”
after “squeal like a pig…”?

Chino: That’s the question I get all the time…

Me: You always change it?

Steph: (laughing) No…

Chino: The truth is that I don’t say anything, I just kind of inhale….and I think the
only word that I know that I was saying was “fuck”….when we recorded the demo for that
song, we had only written the song about a week before recording it, and I didn’t have any
lyrics to it ,so I wrote all the lyrics in the studio and I just made noises.
When we recorded the record version of it, I just copied what I did on the demo tape,
which is basically just the same thing.. I don’t really say anything…

Steph: (laughing) We can’t tell you the truth or we’ll have to kill you….

Stephen was obviously joking, and later that night, I was standing outside of the venue
waiting for the doors to be open and to get the best seats for one of the hottest tour of ’98.
At about 8.15 pm, the sound out of the P.A. fades away, and Will Haven join the stage.
Their set is formed by songs taken mainly from their latest release, “El Diablo”, and it’s
not hard to understand what Chino means for “powerful”. Will Haven rock hard, and songs like
“Foreign Film”, “Ego’s game” or “I’ve seen my Fate” prove that they are one of the heaviest
bands you’ll see this year. When Will Haven’s performance is finished, the crowd starts
getting anxious, which sums up what the Deftones mean to all these people. At about 9.30 pm,
Chino & Co. join the stage, and kick off the show with a rocking version of “Be quiet and
Drive (Far Away)”, followed by “Lotion” and others tracks from Around the Fur. The first
highlight and sing-along of the night comes when Chino introduces the band’s current single,
“My Own Summer (Shove It)”. The place becomes hot, and when many fans join the stage and sing
with Chino, you realize how much fun the crowd is having. The concerts goes on with the band
performing gems like “7 Words”, “MX”, “Head Up” and a great version of the Weezer’s mega-hit
“Say it ain’t so”. In the end, they play a Suicidal Tendencies cover and a mighty performance
of “Engine #9”, which means the crowd went absolutely crazy….. At about 11.00 pm, the concert
is finished… the Deftones earthquake has hit Italy, and is now coming to a venue near you
very very soon. What you are going to see is one of the best shows you’ll ever see in years…
..you are warned.