Deftones are on the cusp of releasing ‘Gore’ – an anticipated new album that once again shows off just how beautiful and how ugly (in the best way possible, of course) heavy music can be in their hands. Recently, Killyourstereo.com chatted to keyboardist/sampler Frank Delgado about his thoughts on modern bands recycling samples, the media circus around Stephen Carpenter, whether we’ll ever see ‘Eros’ released, and his creative input into Deftones.
I haven’t had a chance to hear the entire record just yet, save for the singles, but I saw that Jerry Cantrell features on ‘Phantom Bride‘. Is that for a guitar solo or a vocal part?
It’s a guitar part, and when we were tracking it there was a section that we wanted a guest to play on. I forget who brought it up first, but we asked him and he was happy to provide us with the part. I’m a big Alice In Chains fan so it was an honour, you know?
Personally, do you ever have much input into the mixing side of the records or do you we leave that to the mixers?
Well, we all do to an extent, and we all give our critiques of the mix so that we all get our input.
Well, Matt Hyde did this so you are in very good hands…
Yeah, and he actually engineered the last record, and we got along with him so well we wanted to stick with tracking with him. He’s a great guy to work with.
What are your thoughts on the media recently hyping up what Stephen [Carpenter, guitar] said about not initially wanting to play on the album and his preference towards it? Just starting fires where there are none?
Well, I don’t really have an opinion, as that’s…nothing new (laughs). That’s how you make records. There is a lot of yelling, laughing and bullshitting, and this is no different.
That’s the opinion I had of it too.
It sounds good for a story, you know? (Laughs)
That it does. When not working for a new Deftones record or working on something for Team Sleep, I assume there is a lot of solo work you have lying around?
Yes, but not too much in the last few years. There’s not a lot of down time for us lately, as we all have families and the band. So there have become different priorities for us all.
Completely understandable, man. I know in the past you’ve made a lot of your own samples for the records. Do you still do that today?
To an extent, yes. Now it’s so much easier. Before I had to record or sample things from old records, as I got older and the gear got cheaper and more accessible, I have more tools now to create more.
Sometimes I’ll record something and play it or trigger it live for a song or the opposite, where I’ll use a sample and place it in the song and format it in, and then live I stretch it across a keyboard and play it. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it can be hard.
That’s my favorite thing about being in this band: different things for different songs – it keeps it interesting.
Oh, for sure. The creativity must seem endless. Now, do you have an opinion on the frequent recycling of samples for drums, SFX, and other musical parts among small and large artists today?
I think we’ve always tried to look for new ideas and sounds because you don’t want to try and box yourself in sonically. We’ve always pulled different pads, sampled different drums and then used it just for one song but not for the whole track. Other times we’ve used a drum machine for a whole song. It’s all about what you want to accomplish. But if you keep rehashing sounds then you’ll box yourself in.
Too right. When you are demoing and writing new material, do you do it on the physical synthesizers you have? Or do you prefer to use the digital synths and DAW’s, or a combination of the two?
I use both, honestly. I have my hardware synths and digital synths connected in my rig, and then I have an effects loop [pedals] over it. When I’m writing for the band nowadays I’ll play physically with the keys and find something that works, and sometimes a song will start with me or with a bass line, and what’s very cool for my part is that I may use a part once a song has been fully written or right at the start of the writing process. It’s always very different for me in this band, and that’s very cool to me.
Oh, I totally agree, Frank. Now I know that this may be a touchy subject…but do you honestly think that ‘Eros’ will ever officially see the light of day?
Maybe…we never really sit down and talk about it. It seems that everyone else discusses it but us (laughs). It’s very funny. Also, the record isn’t done. People have this misconception that there’s record somewhere in this vault that’s all done and packaged, and we’re refusing to let it out, which is not the case. It’s a bunch of song ideas that are incomplete. Chino [Moreno, vocals] has only tracked vocals for a few of them. So basically, we would have to go back and finish a whole new record. And it’s not something we’ve tried since Chi’s accident. We stomped on it, regrouped, started jamming with Sergio [bass], and then we made ‘Diamond Eyes’ and kept moving forward.
I get what you mean. I’ve always seen a lot of hardcore Deftones fans saying things like “Oh, Warner won’t them release it”, “They should just release it already!” and so on.
(Laughs) Yeah, that’s not the case. It makes for a good story, though.
On that topic, was it true that the working titles of each song were stripper names? Like Destiny, Dallas, and so forth.
Yeah, they were actually, and that is just us having some fun. It was all stripper names and it was funny to us at the time. We always flirt with dynamic things like that; pretty and ugly, loud and quiet, both in our songs and in our imagery.
That’s probably what’s helped keep you guys around for so long, that duality. Finally, I think the rugs that the band put out on-stage look really classy. Gives it a pretty cool vibe.
Oh yeah, we’ve been doing that for a long time now and it’s an old rock and roll thing. It makes for some good imagery while on stage, and it hides wires and what not, but we shouldn’t take credit it I don’t think.
It goes back to old classical composers, they would put it under the percussion section I’m pretty sure, but don’t quote me on it. Anyway, we’ll leave it there Frank, thanks so much for your time today mate.
Hey no worries, and thank you. Have a good day man.
‘Gore’ is out April 8th via Warner. You can pre-order the album through Maniacs.