David Deco Oosthuizen of The Metal Review conducted an interview with DEFTONES members Frank Delgado (turntables, keyboards) and Sergio Vega (bassist) prior to the band’s August 10 performance at the Oppikoppi Festival 2013 in South Africa. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
The Metal Review: Tell us about what’s been happening with the band since your latest album, “Koi No Yokan”, launched back in November 2012.
Frank: Well, our touring schedule has been hectic, of course, but we have learned after many years to take some important breaks more frequently as needed. We all have family, so these breaks are more important perhaps than in our younger years, so it all works out.
Sergio: For me, regular time home helps to balance all the important things in our lives. For “Diamond Eyes“, for instance, we used to do three months solid touring runs, which were awesome, as we were tight and cooking as a band, but it did create a sense of distance with our families, so balance is very important.
The Metal Review: Guys I have to ask, with the tragic passing of Chi Cheng on April 13, years after his 2008 accident which left him in a coma, it obviously affected you as a band. How have you managed to cope and come to terms with this sad event when it comes to the writing of new material?
Frank: For us, the creative process and our music are organic and when we get into the studio we do what we do best. We all know Chi would have wanted us to keep on going. We all overtly feel he is part of everything we do anyways and his legacy as such lives on.
The Metal Review: So vinyl is back right, what are your thoughts?
Frank: Oh, yes! CD never really improved much on the album thing at all, really. Vinyl still sounds so much better and is just cooler. We love vinyl; it is more tangible and for me as a DJ, I have a massive storage space housing a collection with thousands of vinyl records. With digital music, people get their songs on their devices, share new music and go see their favorite bands live. Music is now either digital or people buy it on vinyl, so the CD as a format has simply started to drop away, really.
The Metal Review: For me, looking back at your career and albums, you still stand out today with a unique sound, that quintessential DEFTONES sound essentially. Tell me about your creative process. Is there an “it” formula?”
Sergio: Oh, boy, I wish there was an “it” formula. We are veracious in our appetite for music. Our criterion is all energy based. It’s not modality, genre or the world around us but all of us as a band. One of us would, for instance, start with a killer riff and we would all be over that and start to unpack it and expand on it. It is all about the energy. That is what we keep checking for. Everything else works our organically. We never start out to write, say, a heavy or a light song. We start off with what we feel is different and then we take it from here.