For much of the summer, the Deftones have been writing, erasing and rewriting songs in a Malibu, California, studio. Now the band is hitting the road, ready to premiere the material on a monthlong U.S. club tour.
"We're just going to get used to playing as a live band again," frontman Chino Moreno said. "For me, the best part of being in a band is playing shows, all the raw energy. So we want to get some of these new songs worked out live. It'll be interesting."
The tour starts September 27 in San Francisco and finishes October 30 in Hartford, Connecticut. The band plans to head right from the road into producer Bob Ezrin's Connecticut studio.
"The tour is routed so it ends in Connecticut, and the we load our equipment into Bob's studio," Moreno said. "He produced [Pink Floyd's] The Wall, so he's known for building songs. And we've been FTPing songs back and forth all along, so we're slowly constructing a record. We're building an album as opposed to just making a bunch of songs and putting them on a record."
The band has written 18 songs for the new album, Moreno said, describing them as "more White Pony than our last one," 2003's Deftones.
"The songs are kind of brainy. They're more Rush than Tool in a way," he continued. "On our last record, we got kind of lazy by writing as few riffs as possible. This one we're writing way more riffs. We have formats where we have to write the songs down and go over them and over them again."
In addition to gearing up for a new Deftones album, Moreno just finished the mastering on his long-awaited, even-longer-delayed Team Sleep side project. Formed in 2001, Team Sleep recorded a demo that leaked online and was all but abandoned by Moreno. But earlier this year, he rounded up musicians like Helium's Mary Timony and Pinback's Rob Crow to record a whole new album.
"We turn it in on Friday and it'll be out November 2. It came out really good. It's all pretty mellow and very un-rock," Moreno said. "It's very moody. Very beat-driven. We have an avant-garde drummer and a programmer who uses only an old sampler. And then there are all these melancholy, romantic guitar lines through it all."
He's a lot less open with information about the new Deftones record, refusing to reveal track names or even a title. But he's hopeful that fans will have the album in their hands by early next year.
"This is the tightest we've ever been, going into the studio. And we're going to record it live," Moreno said. "So we're going to be done with the album in time to turn it in before Christmas and be home for the holidays."