ARTISTdirect.com editor Rick Florino recently conducted an interview with DEFTONES frontman Chino Moreno. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
ARTISTdirect.com: How has your lyrical process changed over the years?
Moreno: I don't know if it's changed so much. I just think I'm at a clearer space in my mind where I'm able to paint the pictures that I want to paint a little more clearly than I could in the past. The day before yesterday, we were rehearsing some material from DEFTONES, and I didn't remember the lyrics for a lot of those songs because we hadn't played them in so long. When we started playing "Battle Axe", I thought, "This song is pretty fun musically." I completely forgot the lyrics, so I took a look at them again. Reading the lyrics, I thought, "Wow, I can possibly see what I was talking about in the song, but there's nothing really compelling that I say in it." That made me think about the lyrics for the new record. It doesn't matter if you understand what I'm trying to say as long as I paint a picture where the music and the feeling that you feel matches. More importantly, it changes the way you were thinking for the better or it makes you feel good. Honestly, that's what I do with music. When I put on records, I'll listen to music because I want it to change the headspace I'm in for the better and take me somewhere else. Lyrically, I want to paint these little scenarios. Hopefully, they take me somewhere else, and they take the listener somewhere else.
ARTISTdirect.com: How important is "Star Wars" to you?
Moreno: It's pretty fucking important, man. I'd be lying if I said it wasn't. That movie really made me feel like there's way bigger shit going on than all of this, you know? I still believe that. As a kid, that made it seem like the earth is just so small and there's so much more out there. I got wide-eyed as a kid, and I still just love it. "The Empire Strikes Back" is my favorite. That shit always puts me in a good mood. My favorite scene is probably when they get to Cloud City. Darth Vader's already there. Lando sells them out. You're just like, "Woah! That shit's fucking sick." I love how clean everything looked and the aesthetic. Everything was white. Princess Leia was all dressed up, and it showed that there's decadence in space too [Laughs]. It's rad. All of it is great. It's dope when the Millenium Falcon goes through the asteroid and into the monster's mouth!
ARTISTdirect.com: What's your favorite FAITH NO MORE record?
Moreno: Probably "Angel Dust", that was the record that made me think, "This is one of the sickest bands." The first album had a couple of good songs, but "Angel Dust" sounded savage to me. It sounded way more like a Mike Patton record. I feel like he had a lot more influence on it. Sometimes, I'll take a whole band's collection out of my computer and put it on a hard drive for a year or so. I don't have any FAITH NO MORE on my computer right now. I took it off awhile ago to make room, but I'll put it back on pretty soon. I'll definitely go back and put on the quintessential records of a band. Off that record, "Caffeine" is always sick as hell. "A Small Victory" is a really great song. There's another song that's really beautiful — "Everything's Ruined". "Jizz Lobber" is heavy. I love "Kindergarten". The lyrics on "Land of Sunshine" are so great.
ARTISTdirect.com: Do You still go back to "Hell Awaits" and PANTERA too?
Moreno: I love "Hell Awaits". That's my favorite SLAYER record! I remember the first time I walked by Phil Anselmo's dressing room when we were touring with PANTERA and I heard THE SMITHS coming out of it [Laughs]. I was perplexed! I eventually said something to him about it, and he was like, "Yeah, I like all kinds of stuff!" Phil's a great lyricist too. What about some of his shit? I got into some of the lyrics on "The Great Southern Trendkill", and I was like, "Wow!" He's a smart guy.
Read the entire interview at ARTISTdirect.com.