There are few modern hard rock bands that come to enjoy the wide appeal and critical acclaim that alt-metal act Deftones has over the course of its 20-plus years as a band, and the five-piece isn’t looking to slow down anytime soon.
“I think the fact that people get this band is not so much genre-based as opposed to just different sounds we are excited about. There’s a heavy element, obviously, but there’s a cathartic energy to it and how it plays out … the sky’s the limit,” bassist Sergio Vega said. “What we do is allow things to organically pop up and be unafraid to get caught up in any one modality. As long as we like it, it’s going to have an energy and intensity, and that’s kind of it. The band established that early on, and people get it and dig it.”
Not that Deftones hasn’t weathered its share of turmoil. Original bassist Chi Cheng was involved in a serious automobile accident in 2008, remaining in a semi-comatose state until passing away this past April. The harrowing experience has strengthened the outfit and helped fuel the creative fire that has raged since its breakout 2000 album White Pony.
“We’d all been friends for a long time, and when you’ve got a lifetime shared together, Chi’s presence is very much at the forefront of everything we do,” Vega said. “There’s an understanding and appreciation of your fragility. There’s no promise of tomorrow, so when you have the opportunity to do something cool, you should do everything you can to make it happen.”
Deftones have certainly done that with their past two efforts, Diamond Eyes and Koi No Yokan, the latter of which debuted to universal praise last year.
“We did the things we were hoping to do,” Vega said of Koi No Yokan. “Diamond Eyes reflected the lack of time we had to make it, and we had more time here and were able to experiment. We played around with arrangements … with chords and intros. There’s lots of little niceties, expansion on good ideas because we had the time.”
The band is currently in the thick of touring in support of that seventh studio album — including the Wednesday, October 23 show at Chesapeake Energy Arena with Avenged Sevenfold — with an eighth in the early gestation period.
“We’re always talking about new things, but right now, we’re somewhere between wanting to hit places we haven’t yet on this record and also looking forward to another batch of material,” Vega said. “We’re all kind of thinking and tinkering on our own, and we’ll come together with everything soon enough.”
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