DeftonesTamar Levine

Deftones Offer Commentary On Nearly Every Track From “Ohms” As Part Of New BBC Radio 1 Special


The BBC Radio 1‘s ‘Rock Show With Daniel P. Carter‘ aired a Deftones special today, September 27th. The special program traces the band’s history with archival interviews and select tracks from their catalog before serving up a full playthrough of the band’s newly released album “Ohms“.

Several members of the band discussed the songs from “Ohms” during the course of the album playthrough. Should you want to hear the special for yourself, it will be available online for a limited time at this location. Otherwise, I’ve transcribed some excerpts below:

Genesis” (Chino Moreno):

“The song ‘Genesis“, there was a whole other song to that. I wrote lyrics and sang a whole different song to that. The same exact recording, the same song, but it was a whole different approach. It was my initial idea.

It wasn’t an attack kind of vocal, it was very much a lead through the music, whatever… It wasn’t bad, but because we did it all [the writing] in chunks…I came home… towards the ends of the year and I was listening through all the roughs of my vocals and stuff and some of the finals of my vocals.

And I listened to that song and I was like ‘man I just want to approach this differently’, like this song deserves something more intense, because it was a little meandering at times. I started it all over from scratch and I’m so glad I did, because I love where it is now to what it was, it’s like night and day.”

Ceremony” (Moreno):

“That was one of the first songs that we wrote. But a lot of the stuff kind of comes from jamming. So “Ceremony” was one of those ones where someone was just playing something and then everybody just kind of picks up their instrument like ‘oh!’ [and] starts reacting to each other and then it just starts to build.

I feel like I really connected with the song. Lyrically that song is pretty dark, I kind of tether with the true meaning of that song, ’cause it’s really, really, really bad. It’s not good. That’s a hard one to talk about.

But as far as the music and the whole vibe, the whole song to me, I think that it’s a special one on this record for sure.”

Urantia” (Moreno):

“The song itself was a trip, because it’s probably one of the most—especially the way it starts out—I mean musically it’s like reminiscent of thrash metal. [Imitates opening riff] that reminds me of Death Angel or straight up Bay Area thrash from when we were growing up.

When Stephen [Carpenter, guitars] was playing that, when he came up with that, right away I was just like ‘Yes!’ this is so like something that we all love but we’ve never really done.

And then the song kind of drops into this swoony kind of verses, whatever. But the lyrics are pretty interesting because I’m really, really kind of painting a picture of a scenario. I live on a lake, or right by this big lake. I ride my bike around it a couple times a week [or] walk around it. It’s like a seven mile kind of loop.

But I talk about circling around the lake, this is all like literal things that I was seeing from like digging into the ashtray and pulling out someone’s cigarette and lighting it and taking a drag—very descriptive kind of things.

Although it’s all made up, it’s kind of fun sometimes when you can do that as far as be very, very descriptive. I don’t do that all the time. That’s kind of something that I really don’t do that much. Sometimes my lyrics all look too camouflaged. So sometimes to be very descriptive is kind of outside of my comfort zone in a way.”

Error” (Frank Delgado):

“…I’m able to approach [the songwriting] right at the beginning, so where I can initially spark an idea, or I can come at the end when Chino‘s just finished lyrics, which is usually the last and then I’m able to enhance that with the lyrics… And sometimes it takes towards the end for me to find something that works or what he’s talking about or it eventually makes itself known. But for me it’s really cool because I’m able to attack it in different ways.”

The Spell Of Mathematics” (Sergio Vega):

“There’s a part in one of the songs where it breaks down to a cool drum & bass thing and there’s clapping and snapping coming in. And what I really like about that moment was how organic it was. Because we had written out the arrangement for the song, we merged two ideas in the studio.

We were trying to come up with something in the studio. And I had just kind of written out a test arrangement, so Abe and I played it, just to hear it. And at the end of what was the song, at the time, we kind of went into this jam.

And then we were like ‘that’s really cool’ and I think it was like Chino or Stephen who were like ‘this should be in the song.’ So that take that was meant to be a scratch take became the actual song.”

The Spell Of Mathematics” (Abe Cunningham):

“…There’s obviously a lot of space in the song towards the end. It allowed itself for something a bit different. We ended up having little snap barbershop quartets… we had some buddies that were around. If you know Zach Hill,—rad drummer from Hella, Death Grips and a million other bands; we ended up taking a little break, met him for a beer or two, and then he wound up back at the studio with us and it was like let’s just see what we can do.

And he went out and did snaps. Zach‘s quite an amazing mega-drummer, so something as simple as doing some snaps on the record is pretty cool. Always good to have friends as well, so…”

Pompeji” (Delgado (?)):

“One of my favorite parts is the end of “Pompeji“. The end of it sort of like dying out and it goes into this synth bed… It takes it out of its element, when I put those seagulls in there, the song sort of changes setting. I love when you can do that, just add this one little element and it shifts the whole setting of ‘you may have thought this song was taking place…’ whatever setting of it, it’s kinda neat.”

“I love transitions. If you’re making a record these days, everything’s so single driven. If you’re gonna make a record that’s a piece of music—and it’s not a conceptual piece of music, but the fact that every song can sort of transition to one another, when things like that happen; that takes me back to some of my favorite records of all-time, be it Pink Floyd or whatever…”

Ohms” (Moreno):

“Some songs are demoed. For instance, ‘Ohms‘. Stephen sent me that demo three years ago. I love when I open up my email and he’s sending me something, that to me is one of the biggest highs that I can ever get. He doesn’t do it often, so it means that he’s hyped about it, it’s something he wants me to hear. It must be special.

The tempo that is on the record, it’s WAY sped up from when he sent it to me. It was like this really kind of stonery, sludgy kind of thing. But the riffs were there. The ideas were there. But a lot of the stuff kind of comes from jamming.

Maybe a third of the stuff will come from just us being in the room and jamming. Those are probably the most Deftones tunes I think because obviously its everybody just sort of reacting to each other.”

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