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Deftones - A perfect storm

2013-08-19 12:34
Northam - Alternative metal gods Deftones braved the dust and beasts at this year's Oppikoppi as the headlining act. The Grammy-winning band has had 25 years of rocking fans and world stages alike and their latest album, Koi No Yokan, has won Album of the Year at Revolver Golden Gods and has a rating of 86% on Metacritic.

In the bowels of dusty Northam Frank Delgado, keyboardist and sampler, and Sergio Vega, bassist who replaced Chi Cheng after his accident, chatted about the inspiration behind Deftones' music.

How are you guys finding South Africa so far?
Sergio: Beautiful

Frank: Yeah, I’m loving it.

How was One Night in Cape Town?
Frank: Cape Town was beautiful, one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. Yeah, and the show was a lot of fun.

How was the crowd?
Sergio: Enthusiastic, it was really nice. You know, we’ve never been here, and it’s nice to connect with people that are into what you are doing and had been into it for a while and you get a chance to go to a place that’s like exotic and new to you. It’s like a perfect storm, it’s like everyone just wanted to have a great time and a great time was had I think.

What expectations did you have of Oppikoppi?
Frank: Wow, I don’t know.

Sergio: Yeah, did you have any?

Frank: Well from what people have been telling me it’s a lot of fun and it seems like it so far. Any stage with devil horns…

Sergio: Yeah, that’s a good thing (laughs).

And the dust?
Sergio: We heard about it and stuff, we got these dust masks. It’s cool, we roll with it. We come into places to have a good time. We’re just open and excited and we love what we do and we like new experiences. We get to come here and it’s so far from home, running around, it’s awesome.

Are you guys planning to party after the show?

Frank: Sure.

Sergio: Yeah, and before. All the time (chuckle).

You guys have been around for a while, so what keeps you going?

Frank: The love of being able just to do what we love for a living and do it with friends. Every night like this, we look forward to this. This is what we love doing.

Sergio: Exactly. I think its strength is its simplicity. It’s just purely we enjoy each other’s company, we really love music, we like making music and that’s it. There is not too much else going on except creating opportunities to do that as often as possible and in as many places as possible.

Which is your favourite album that you have done?
Frank: They all have a special time and place. Right now, it’s the last record, just because we have lived through that recently. So for me the last record was not a big undertaking, but it just felt really good for how it continued from the last record and right now we are still in that moment.

Sergio: Yeah, we’ve been writing in a nice way for a while and you know, circumstances aside with everything that was going on, the energy that came up during Diamond Eyes kind of transferred over into doing Koi No Yokan and we were kinda like surfing, just been hanging onto this huge wave for a long time, just digging it. But favourite albums, I don’t even think I have one, even whether I am on them or not.

What is the craziest thing you have ever done on stage?
Frank: Fall off.

Sergio: [laughs heartily] Definitely.

Frank: Or something like that. Or get hit by Abe’s drumstick.

You guys have been credited with having various musical styles over the years. Is there any musical style you still want to experiment with?
Sergio: I think it goes to what I said earlier, like the simplicity of our thing is that we just enjoy jamming. We’re not genre-based, in terms of what we listen to - we like things that are exciting that are fresh, that just feel hot and we just put out whatever comes out. So there is never a sit-around and saying like ‘Oh well, EDM (electronic dance music) is hot, let’s get some trance chords in our shit’. It really doesn’t go down like that. We just do what we do and because we listen to so much music, we have such a big appetite for sounds and things. We love playing around and being creative, so things naturally evolve and go into different directions, but there’s never a moment where we’re like ‘We are gonna do hip-hop funk with a little bit of indigenous you know’. It’s never like that.

Frank: I think all those things seep into it. You take a little piece of everything whether we go with it or not.

Where do you guys draw inspiration from with writing songs?
Frank: It’s different at times. For me, it comes from the other guys, when we are at the point in time altogether just trying to create. And that’s really what it is honestly. I listen to a lot of music and I don’t think that when I go into making a record that I’m trying to take something from what I’m listening to, because honestly when I am making a record I don’t listen to a lot of music. It’s all about generating what we do at that time and all of our feelings come through naturally.

Sergio: I think that’s key, I would go as far as to say that that’s everything to me. A lot of bands who are conscious of what they do and they lay it out and they intentionally go in directions - that never really jives well with me. I like this feeling of spirit and the excitement of something that’s tangible, so it’s never about thinking too much, it’s about the feeling and being excited. Because we listen to so many kinds of music and we tinker with things in our own time, I find my own time is always like preparing myself for a chance to jam with these guys by listening to music, making some tunes on my own, but when we get together it’s just…

Frank: We start with a blank slate.

Sergio: Yeah, nothing, we don’t come in with anything. We just look at each other and be like ‘Hey, how you been? What’s going on?’ Somebody picks up an instrument and we feed off that.

Frank: There’s no ‘someone bringing something in’. It seems to work really good for us that way.

Sergio: It has real energy. Because what lives is what’s really exciting to us and we really are excited the whole way through the song and there’s no thought about it. There’s no ‘it must have this function’. It’s our baby and we love it.

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