THIS MEANS GORE!
AS DEFTONES REVEAL THE DETAILS BEHIND THEIR FORTHCOMING ALBUM, GORE, WE SIT DOWN WITH FRONTMAN CHINO MORENO FOR THE EXCLUSIVE FIRST INTERVIEW…
FOR THE past eight years, the Deftones story seems to have been written in inky black, laden with calamity and tragedy. From the hospitalisation and eventual passing of founding bassist Chi Cheng in 2013, to last year’s close-shave with the Paris Bataclan attacks and the subsequently cancelled European tour, they’ve been a band plagued.yet, with 2010’s Diamond Eyes and 2012’s Koi No Yokan, they produced two of the most defiantly optimistic records of their career. Eighth album Gore marks an artistic return to more experimental, darkly brooding territory. Here, Chino helps us understand why…
HEY, CHINO! IS IT A RELIEF TO RELEASE THE ALBUM DETAILS, FINALLY?
“It’s exciting! There’s still a little bit of time to go – a few months – until the actual release, so, slowly but surely, we’ve been leaking out information. we’ve been done for a few months now and we’re all very surprised and excited about how the record turned out.we can’t wait for people to hear it!”
GORE SEEMS LIKE A PROVOCATIVE TITLE… WAS THAT THE INTENTION?
“If you look at the title and the artwork it’s about a juxtaposition that, for me, is very beautiful. I think Deftones have always flirted with dynamic and that yin-and-yang of things that are provocative and things that are beautiful. where our last two album titles were a lot more optimistic, I think this title is intentionally different. this record is very different. I feel like Diamond Eyes and Koi No Yokan were brother-sister records in a lot of ways.t hey were both recorded in the same way. And even though it was a tough few years we went through while making those records, I think it was important to have their optimistic outlook.”
AND YOU FEEL DIFFERENT NOW?
“Today, I feel different. But we also recorded this record in a different way. I’m not saying we went in with any preconceived ideas as such, but I do think we went in knowing that we wanted to make this record a little different from the last two. And I feel, definitely, like we did that. It’s still a Deftones record – we didn’t really have any new influences that changed that – but it’s an expansion of what we were comfortable with. And it’s important to get out of your comfort zone sometimes with the music – just to be excited. It’s got a different look. A different shade of colour. I’d say some shade of purple. I don’t know why, but I think it sits somewhere between pink, red and purple. Sometimes when I hear music I see colour, and when it came time to work on the artwork for this batch of songs, I knew exactly what I wanted.”
TELL US ABOUT THE TITLE-TRACK. IS IT A REPRESENTATIVE CENTREPIECE FOR THE RECORD?
“I don’t think so, actually. It’s just a title to the song. I will say that I love every single song on this record, but if I had to pick my least-favourite song on the record, Gore would be it. Is it the most important song on the record? No. It’s a great song, but the others are even more great.”
AND IF YOU HAD TO PICK YOUR FAVOURITE TRACK?
“Today, it’d be a song called Acid Hologram – the second song on the record. It’s something that I’ve never heard from us.the way it came together for us was very Frankenstein-esque. Pieced together in the weirdest way. Sonically and aesthetically it’s something really neat, very large-sounding. Notice I didn’t use the word heavy, but large. Big. Heavy in its own way…”
TRACK ONE, PRAYERS/TRIANGLES, IS ALSO THE LEAD SINGLE. WAS THAT A SIMPLE CHOICE, OR IS THERE SOMETHING MORE TO IT?
“As a lead single, I think Prayers/triangles was always the right choice. On White Pony, Change was the first single – probably the biggest song of our career. Huge sounding, but still mid-tempo.and I’d say there are songs on this record that are similar to that, but we didn’t want that this time. Prayers/triangles is very much ‘in the middle’ with that dynamic that best represents us, while still being a departure from our last record.”
SO, WHAT CAN PEOPLE EXPECT FROM THE OTHER TRACKS?
“I think this is one of our most eclectic albums. It’s where we are in our careers and in our lives.we’ve had a lot of time to try different things. But we
didn’t write tons and tons of songs; maybe only 16, and there are 11 on the record.we weren’t secondguessing ourselves, and we took our time being as expansive as we could with those ideas.”
WHAT WERE YOUR AMBITIONS GOING INTO THE ALBUM?
“The ambition was as simple as us just wanting to create something. we’ve made it a thing not to overanalyse before [we begin]. I think that puts up walls. When we came to recording, I’d been out of California for a while doing stuff with Crosses, and getting back together brought that excitement. Just thinking, ‘I get to play music with my friends again!’”
AND WAS GETTING TO WORK IN YOUR HOME STUDIO A CHANGE OF PACE?
“None of the stuff I recorded in my home studio actually ended up getting onto the record! I did demo all of my vocals at the house. But I learned that while working at home is nice, it’s good to get away. I love having my family and my dogs running around, but when I’d just be waking up and going into my studio in my pyjamas I actually wasn’t getting as much work done. [For final recording] I’d drive to this studio about 10 miles from my house, it’d be like, ‘Boom, boom, boom!’ just getting work done every day.”
TWO DECADES INTO YOUR CAREER, DO YOU FEEL THE SAME ANXIETY ABOUT NEW MUSIC THAT YOU DID AS A YOUNGER BAND?
“Always. Maybe even more now. when we were younger – especially with [1995’s] Adrenaline – I didn’t think anybody would like the record. I didn’t even really like that record. Nowadays, there are a lot more expectations put on us from the people who’ve been following us for 20 years that it’ll be good, you know? I do still trust my instincts, though. I know that this is good. I listen to this record almost every day, still. As fragmented as it is, it’s a very cohesive piece of work from start to finish.we planned it that way, and it worked. that’s really fulfilling.”
YOUÕVE SPOKEN AT LENGTH ABOUT THIS BEING THE FIRST RECORD SINCE CHIÕS PASSING. DO YOU FEEL THIS AN ALBUM HEÕD HAVE BEEN PROUD OF?
“I definitely think so. He was a very big part of this band for many a year. He still is, in a big way. I definitely still feel his presence when we’re making music and when we’re playing live music.”
WHAT DO YOU WANT PEOPLE TO TAKE AWAY FROM THE RECORD?
“A great listening experience. I don’t like to dictate to people what emotion they should be feeling when they listen to our music, I just hope it speaks to them. I want people to have an emotional experience. I feel that this record is a tool to have that.”
“I STILL FEEL CHI’S PRESENCE WHEN WE’RE MAKING MUSIC”
Gore’s album artwork: not very gory at all
Deftones (L – R): Sergio Vega (bass), Stef Carpenter (guitar), Chino Moreno (vocals), Abe Cunningham (drums) and Frank Delgado (keys/turntables)