The Deftones aren’t doing much to dispel public opinion that they’re the metallic equivalent of an emo band. They’ve been asked about their love of droopy singers like Morrissey a million times throughout their 15-year career, to the point where it’s a virtual no-no to talk about emotions. Still, as singer Chino Moreno and keyboard/samplist Frank Delgado discuss the band’s self-titled fourth album, they can’t help but mention how feelings were an integral part of its production.
“I didn’t really feel much of anything this time around… or so I thought,” says Moreno about the album. “The mood I’ve been in for the past year and a half, I can see it now that I listen back to the songs. I can tell I was in a dark, drab kind of mood and when I hear these songs, it takes me right back to those moments. The record sounds really sad and I think it has a lot to do with writing in Seattle during the winter months. It felt really lonely and shitty up there. It’s cold, and Frank and I were the only ones there. When I listen back, I remember being right there.”
Finally getting a chance to showcase these songs live on the Summer Sanitarium tour with Metallica, Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park, Moreno says that each night is an adventure. He gets to relive each emotion as the songs unfold. Thankfully it’s not too upsetting for him.
“I can’t describe how it feels to be singing these songs every night. It’s not horrible or anything, you just recall that emotion. It’s like how we’ll all go through a million emotions every day and another time you’ll recall exactly how that emotion was. It doesn’t make you sad or whatever, you just know right how you were at that point in time; a thought or feeling. It’s fun to be able to recreate emotions to make something happen, whatever it is.”
The band doesn’t see those emotional influences carrying over to their fans in the same way though. While many of the songs on this album were written to open up those emotive tendencies, the duo believes that everyone will take their own meaning from it.
“We have our own ideas as to what songs mean, but it’s different for our fans, though,” says Delgado. “They’ll draw their own conclusions and that’s totally fine. Those songs mean something particular to us and each person should develop their own ideas as well. Besides, some of our fans are drawn to the aggression instead of the emotion. They don’t care what the songs mean, they just want that heaviness. It’s a huge case of dynamics for everyone: the highs and lows.”
“Everyone goes through those in a day,” adds Moreno. “The highs and lows, you smile or put your head in your hands a couple of times a day and I really hope that people find a part of that in what we do, especially if it helps get you through the day. I don’t want to say that we’re this morose band, though. We try to level things out. It took a year to make this album, so we lived the record, went through all of those emotions. They’re important to us.”
Moreno and Delgado stress that music is an emotional catalyst, so it will always strike some person. If that’s only the aggression, fine. If people feel the need to brood, that’s great too. Either way, music is just supposed to impact you. As Moreno says, this album is about “conveying an emotion over saying anything specific.”
“This time around the emotion is pretty dark, so the next record we’ll do during Spring Break at Daytona Beach. It’ll be the happiest record you’ll ever hear.”