The ††† (Crosses) Interview
††† (Crosses), Chino Moreno’s electronic side project with Far’s Shaun Lopez and producer Chuck Doom is set to hit the Altar Bar this Monday, May 12. Veering off the typical vocal path Moreno takes with his heavier project, Deftones, the music of ††† explores a more lo-fi, electronic territory. They just released their debut, self-titled album after dropping a series of free EPs online over the past few months. It’s exciting to see Chino apply his talents to other genres, something he attributes to the influences of those around him, and perhaps a little bit of coincidence. We had a chance to catch up with him right before the tour launches tomorrow in Missouri, where the band will be sharing a bill with Queens of the Stone Age, Band of Skulls, Neon Trees, and others. For him, this project is all about having fun.
When ††† first debuted, they were often touted as a “Witch House” band, a label that is not necessarily embraced, but that doesn’t mean they can’t have fun with it.
Given your bands name and all the symbolism surrounding it, are you going to play up the fact that you are playing at a former church called Altar Bar?
Haha, I had no idea. It’s more of an aesthetic. That’s interesting, it should be cool.
When’s the last time Deftones were here, 2011?
I was thinking about that. It has been quite some time.
No stranger to Pittsburgh, the Deftones have been here a few times, as well as another one of his projects, Team Sleep.
Thoughts on Pittsburgh, do you like playing here, do you like the city?
I feel like we’ve always had good times there. I wish we went there more often. I have lots of great memories from shooting the Warped Tour back in 98 while I was playing there with Team Sleep. Out of all the time’s we’ve been there, it’s always been good. I’m looking forward to it and going back.
After the massive success of 2000’s White Pony, the band didn’t stop. They have been releasing a steady stream of music every few years since their debut in 1994.
Outside of Deftones, how do you define success with †††? What are your goals with this project?
I don’t want to say I don’t have any goals with it, but we didn’t go into the project with an agenda. What we were trying to do is make a record. We got together in an unconventional way. Chuck and Sean, the other two guys in the group, were working on some songs and I happened to come by the studio one day when they were working and heard it. I asked what their plan was for it and they didn’t really have one. They were just getting a batch of songs together. At that point I joined and put my two cents in it.
After a while, ††† began to come into its own.
By the time we had enough songs to put out, we went the unconventional route and released a series of EPs on the net. I wanted people to find them on their own and not solicit it too much and discover it on their own. Word of mouth was spreading, and we were approached by a record label who wanted to put them out. So we finished up the third EP, put them all together for an album, and that was just a few months ago.
An overarching theme of our conversation was fun and friendship, something very important to Chino.
Is it any different working with friends than it is the Deftones? I’m sure they’re your friends by now too.
I’m very lucky, especially with Deftones, and the fact that we’ve been friends since we were kids. Being able to still make music with your friends – it’s an important part of why we’re still a band and why we make music together. It’s a job and it’s definitely a fun one. I enjoy Crosses. It’s not necessarily the same thing, it’s just different people, different friends. When you work with different people, you get different things. The reason why I really like it is that I know it’s not something that I have to do. We didn’t create this project to fill some sort of gap in my creativity. It’s a fun project with fun people.
Given the heavy electronic lean of their debut album, it seemed natural to discuss the rise in popularity of electronic music and if it at all influences the band.
With technological developments alone, there are more electronics in music. Not that that’s such a great thing, but it’s why I think a lot of people that are making music these days. It’s a lot easier to sit in front of a laptop and create something by yourself as opposed to being a drum/bass/guitar player and the more conventional tools that people use to make music. My favorite electronic musicians are more the pioneers of electronic music. To me, it was way more exciting at that point because a lot of the sounds that were being created were new sounds. Whether they were samples, like people going out recording sounds of nature or people going to a junkyard and beating sheets of metal and making these unorthodox sounds and then making music, that was really interesting and what caught my attention early on. There’s a lot of great art out there, but the exciting part is sharing things that you’re not used to hearing.
And while we traditionally like to end an interview with a question about touring and being on the road, or what’s in store for the future, we decided to cut right to the chase and ask about the Deftones’ track from their 2010 album Diamond Eyes, “This Place is Death”, which many fans recognize from the cult TV show LOST.
That’s pretty funny when you caught that. As a band, we pretty much were hardcore fanatics. On Thursday night, the whole group would meet up at the studio and watch it religiously. It’s a great show. I want to start watching it again, but I don’t know if I have the patience or the time for it now. In retrospect, it’s so long. I’m still kind of confused about the ending. All in all, it’s a really awesome show and I dig it.
We dig you, Chino, and your music. Whether you’re into lo-fi electronic music, an old school Deftones fan, or simply adventurous. This one comes highly recommended from taste makers around the city and is the perfect excuse to do it up on a Monday. We’ll see you at Altar Bar this Monday, May 12 at 6:30. Tickets are $19-21 and can be purchased here. We’ve also got a giveaway for this one. Enter below and we’ll notify the winner via email.