Deftones are one of the most important heavy bands of the last two decades and fortunately the Greek audience will have the chance to see them perform live for the first time in Greece at the Heavy By The Sea Festival (23/06/2014). Noisefull had a unique chance to conduct a short interview with Deftones' frontman, Chino Moreno! Moreno's heavy interview schedule limited our conversation to 10 minutes, an amount of time that is not adequate to cover all the aspects of his rich career. He talked about the "lost" Deftones album, what keeps the band alive all those years and the artist he wants to collaborate with in the future. Surely, he is going to say many more things on the 23rd of June...
Hello Chino from Athens, Greece. It's the first time that Deftones are going to give a concert in Greece but have you ever visited our country before by any chance?
Hello. No, I haven't but I always wanted. We are so excited that we will come there finally to play our music. We are really looking forward to.
Where is the process of the new album right now?
We're just writing songs, we haven't recorded anything. We are at a very early stage right now.
Let's talk about the "Eros" album. You said few years ago that probably it will not see the light of day but we've heard recently the song "Smile" from it. Is there any change of plans for this album maybe as a tribute to Cheng's memory?
No, there isn't any change of plans. I just shared one song ("Smile") a month ago when it was the first anniversary of Chi's death. This album wasn't finished and if we want to release it one day, we have to work on it further. I don't think that we are really looking forward to go back to this point of our career and dedicate time to finish this album. Probably it won't be ever released.
You are one of the few nu metal bands that still exist and manage to be on the spotlight. What is the recipe of this success? Is the fact that you showed flexibility in your sound?
Yes, but that's part of it. We never tried to put ourselves in the corner and say "this is what we sound like". We've always been eager to extend our sound but the most important thing that I think played a role in this is the fact that we are friends with each other within the band since we were kids. We're really enjoying playing together. Our friendship is the thing that keeps us together and on the right track all those years.
What is the difference between the ‘95 Deftones and the '14 Deftones? You started the band as teenagers of the generation X and now you are around your 40s still doing the same thing.
By the time we are older we are wiser in some ways. One thing that hasn't changed all these years is our creativity. When we get together at the same room to make music I feel so great for having this bond with the other guys. Obviously, time changes a lot of things but I'm glad that we still love what we're doing without feeling the need to follow any trends. While growing up as individual persons and as a band one challenge was - and still remains - to maintain who we are and actually we enjoy this challenge. Furthermore, when you grow up you see some things from a different angle.
What is your philosophy about the side projects you run (Crosses, Palms)? You want to do something different from the heavy background of Deftones?
Not necessarily. I love everything that I do with Deftones and the Deftones' sound is not always heavy it has a lot of different elements so I don't feel like I'm trapped in heavy band. I like working with different musicians no matter what their music background is. I consider it as a learning process to work with different musicians. There are times in my life that I have a lot of free time and I want to use it to create music with Deftones and also with my other projects than spending it in front of a television or playing video games for example.
Is there something in Deftones' career for which you have regretted doing or not doing?
I try not to regret anything. We definitely made some great and some weird decisions in our career but this stuff got us where we are now. I think that the bad decisions and the bad experiences we have faced all these years are in the same time a learning experience. There are some songs, for example from our self-titled album, that I'm feeling disconnected to them. I can't say that I am feeling embarrassed for them or that I have regretted recording them, but I can't really hear them because they remind me a specific period of my life.
You are one of the bands that experienced the transition period from the CD era to the downloading/streaming era. How did you adjust to this transition?
Obviously, we experienced that transition but on the same time we always try to do the same thing and that thing is to never rely on outside factors. We're a band that considers concerts the most important thing of our career. We do not rely on album sales but instead we try to make great albums, prepare great live shows and then make people to come and see us playing live. Indeed, discography has changed but we try in our way not to be affected from this.
Through the years you have achieved some really good collaborations with other artists (Serj Tankian, James Maynard etc). Are any other artists that you want to see their name written one day on a Deftones tracklist?
Yes, there are lots of different artists that I want to collaborate with. But it's not about seeing their name written on a tracklist but feel the experience in collaborating with them. As I said before, you learn so much working with different musicians and there are many musicians that I grew up listening to them, or started listening to them later, that one day I want to do something with them. One artist that I really like to work with is PJ Harvey and not necessarily for a Deftones' track. I admire her creativeness and she is one of the top musicians that I would like to write and perform a song together.