Exclusive: Deftones’ Chino Moreno On Playing Albums In Their Entirety, Side Project, Covers

Posted by on April 25, 2011

After renting a car and driving almost 500 miles to Portland, Oregon, KUOI 89.3 FM/Moscow ID station manager Anthony Saia had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Chino Moreno, vocalist and lyrical mastermind of Deftones on the third show of their U.S. tour in support of their sixth studio effort Diamond Eyes.

I heard a rumor that for last night’s show here at the Crystal that you guys might be playing Around the Fur and Diamond Eyes in their entirety. Did that actually end up happening?

It didn’t happen. It was exactly what you said, a rumor. In fact, I think someone from our management office had posted it somewhere, whether it be Facebook or Twitter or something like that. When we read about it and were like, ‘What!?’ So, yeah, I mean, we thought about doing it and then yesterday when we got here we were like, ‘let’s just play.’ We feel like it kind of would have been – I mean, to ignore some of our other records, although it would be fun to play those in their entirety, y’know, may be a special thing, but I feel like there would be a lot of people that would be bummed because we left so much of our other records, especially our new record since we’re out promoting it, but to leave out songs from White Pony and Adrenaline, y’know, if we were going to play those songs I could see a lot people being more upset than the people that would be happy with just those two. So, at the end of the day we just figured we’d play a heavy set with Around the Fur and heavy on the new record, but y’know, we’ll mix it up.

Is there a plan for that in the future?

I don’t know. We’ve been asked to do it before so we’ve done it. It’s one of those things, if someone really wants us to do it we will do it if it’s like a special thing but it’s almost like we’d be going up there handcuffed since we could only play those two records. It wouldn’t make for a dynamic or fun show. It would still be good, I shouldn’t say that because we could make it great I’m sure but, I don’t know. We really aren’t making plans for it.

With that, do you feel obligated to play songs off your older records for your older fans?

No, I feel obligated to at least play stuff from all the records. Not just the older records but all of them – even though lately we haven’t been playing much of the last record, Saturday Night Wrist. Some nights we don’t play any of it but tonight we’re going to bring some of that stuff back. I think the best thing is to always do with the set list – because a lot of people whether it be their age or when they got into us,  I mean, a lot of people, they hear that one record, whatever record that might be that got them into us, y’know? Who knows what record it could be? Y’know, a lot of people are different. A lot of kids that come have like the self-titled record and say, ‘This is my favorite record’ and I’d be like, okay, well, we weren’t going to play anything from this tonight so we’ll add a couple songs on the setlist just try to balance it out really.

So, as we’ve already established, the Internet is a powerful thing but I was wondering if you’d be willing to comment on anything in regards to The Holy Ghost/Crosses project.

I’m able to but I’m really not because it’s one of those things where it’s really fun but it’s just a project. It’s not like a side band or anything. It’s just a project that I’ve been recording over the last six months or so – maybe even five months. I’ll go home for like a week and I’ll be there before I have to get back on tour and when I’m home, I’m restless kind of, I don’t like to sit around and Shaun [Lopez] who the project is with, lives right up the street from me, so I usually just spend time at his house and just in the studio and we’ve just been recording, So, we do have a project, it’s called Crosses and it’s really cool. I mean we have like sixteen tracks and we’re going to put them out in these little EPs. Hopefully the first one will be out in the next couple months  and every month or two we’ll put out another one , y’know, like four EPs and that’s basically it. I don’t have any plans to tour on it and I don’t even want to discuss what it sounds like. I’d rather just put it out and not hype it up and just let people hear it and either like it or don’t but it’s not something I really feel like I want to hype up because to me, like with my other group Team Sleep that I had for a while that was one of the things that didn’t ruin it but it made it more difficult for me to do because it was a fun project I was just doing with my friends and all of a sudden it got so serious and had so much expectation put into it that it became like another band where I have to like maneuver and do things whether it be through the record label and jump through hoops to just get it done when it was just something for fun to do. So, this is something kind of under the radar I guess I could say and it’s just strictly for listening and for the music we like and hopefully the people that like my voice and some of the music that I like will dig it.

Speaking of music that you like, we had the opportunity to chill with Abe last October and we were talking about covers and he mentioned that you weren’t really into the recording of ‘Simple Man’?

It wasn’t that I wasn’t into it. It was that I hadn’t heard it y’know? I never listened to Lynyrd Skynyrd growing up, y’know? When I first got into music I was into like new pop and new wave music, I mean that was like what was coming out when I was a kid.

Like Depeche Mode, Japan and stuff?

Yeah, I mean those were like the first bands that I really got into. I mean, I listened to a lot of Michael Jackson and Culture Club and stuff before that but it was probably when I was in sixth grade when I finally got my own identity of what I really liked. At that point I really starting like new wave music, like electronic new wave and from there I started getting into Brit Pop and just a lot of different music other than just what was mainstream I guess. Then, I got in Deftones and that was kind of my introduction into metal and so I learned to like metal and a lot of different types of metal but I kind of had to, y’know, didn’t do it consciously but I just morphed what I knew about the music that I like into what they were playing and it became what it is.

Today is Record Store Day and you guys have the Covers LP that came out today. How did you guys choose the songs for that?

Well, the songs were pretty much a compilation of stuff we had recorded, like that ‘Simple Man’ one was done in like ’94 so it was even before Adrenaline when we recorded that. So, y’know, we hadn’t even heard it until it came out on the B-Sides [and Rarities] record. I got sent a copy of it and I was like, ‘I don’t even remember doing this really’ but there was something special about it just because it was cool and everything kind of just happened. Every time we record an album we always record a couple of extra songs and they are mostly cover songs and usually songs that aren’t typical songs that you would expect a metal band to be doing. So, it makes it fun for us, y’know? We have a bunch of them but these are some of our collectively favorite ones and we put them in sequence and thought that it sounded pretty cool so we decided to put it out for Record Store Day on vinyl. I got one today and it’s pretty awesome.

Right on. I have to say that I was little bummed not to see ‘Nightboat’ on there but you guys picked ‘The Chauffeur’ instead, any reason behind that?

It was just better. Better recorded and all that, y’know what I mean? ‘Nightboat’ was done during the same time we did ‘Simple Man’. We did ‘Nightboat’, ‘Simple Man’ and something else and that was done a long time ago, like I said, from before Adrenaline and the quality of it was really just, it was like, if you really listen to it in comparison to others, the recording quality is really bad. It could probably be fixed and mixed and everything like that but it just hasn’t been. ‘Chauffeur’ was done by Terry Date when we did Around the Fur so it just sounds a lot better and I love that song and I think it’s a great cover so we decided to go with that one.

Speaking of producers, you guys have worked with a number of producers like Terry, Nick Raskulinecz, and others. Who has been your favorite to work with thus far or can you even name a favorite?

I love Terry but, it was also cool to work with Nick because I got a whole different perspective of a different type of producer. [Nick] is a whole different type of producer from Terry and that was an experience too but I love Terry as a person, I mean, he’s a great dude and I hung out with a couple of days ago. He’s kind of an older guy and he’s really wise. I don’t know, he’s just one of my favorite people in the world so I just like to spend time with him and not only is he great at what he does but he’s got so much rad history and he’s worked with so many great artists but more than anything you can learn a lot from just talking to him and working with him. Yeah, he’s great.

Switching gears here for a second – do you ever Google yourself just to see what it says?

No. Well, I did a long time ago and I was bummed out after I looked at it. Y’know, so many people’s opinions on me and stuff. I can’t live with reading what people think of me because I can read a million great things and I’ll read a couple of bad things and I’m just crushed. So, I decided that I wouldn’t look at anything. I look at Twitter every now and then though.

Fair enough. So, what ever happened with Chino Sox?

I still have them but it was never anything that I really put time into but the company and the dude just gave me a bunch of socks because I used to wear those socks a lot so he started giving them to me and when he started giving me the socks and when I started wearing them his company started to sell more socks so he was like, ‘Here, if you want, you can have your own socks’ so he gave me a bunch of socks printed out with my name on them. So anyways, I set up this simple website and did that and had one person shipping them out for me but I never really put too much time into it. I’m kind of out of product now so if I wanted to get more I’d have to order more product but I’ve got too much other shit going on right now to try to be an entrepreneur selling socks.

How do you feel when you hear someone remixing or covering one of your songs?

I dig that. Y’know, anytime someone makes an interpretation of our music, however they do it, is always awesome. I like actually going on YouTube and watching covers like seeing a girl in a room on an acoustic guitar or someone on a piano transposing one of our songs. That stuff is awesome and its cool to think that our music inspired someone to try and figure it out and cycle through them and do their own version of it and it’s rad for sure.

A very special thanks to Chino Moreno for taking time to sit down and chat with us for a little while before their show in Portland. Also a big shout out to Cheryl from Warner Bros, Mark from Velvet Hammer and Bram from Metal Insider for hooking it up.



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