Chino Moreno Says Ambient Team Sleep Aren't A Snooze

Deftones singer's side project already has 15 songs written for next LP.

If you've listened to the self-titled debut from Team Sleep, you might think the band is worlds apart from Chino Moreno's other group, Deftones. Team Sleep's ambient, experimental sound seems a far cry from the meaty aural assault Moreno churns out with his primary band. But while some might argue there's a stark sonic difference between them, Moreno doesn't quite see it that way.

"You know, everybody thinks that it's just all down-tempo stuff, but Team Sleep actually has a lot of dynamics to it, and that's one thing Deftones has that I think draws people in," he explained. "With Deftones, there's the loud-to-quiet, hard-to-soft dynamics that go on, and the same's true for Team Sleep. It's not as hard as Deftones, not as aggressive, but in some ways, [Team Sleep's] a lot more chaotic. It's not quiet the whole time, this whole sullen atmosphere. It gets pretty chaotic at times, and I think there's a misperception that people have, that it's just this really quiet thing."

To be fair, Team Sleep (see "Deftones Singer's Team Sleep Emerge With Dreamy Debut") isn't a far cry from some of the tunes Moreno's made with Deftones over the years. After all, that band's eponymous 2003 release contained the like-sounding "Anniversary of an Uninteresting Event" and "Lucky You." Also, "Teenager," the moody but melodic, electronically enhanced gem from 2000's White Pony, was originally conceived in Team Sleep's creative, collective womb.

"I don't approach Team Sleep any different when I'm singing," Moreno added. "Anything I do with Team Sleep, I'd do with Deftones as well. With [Deftones guitarist] Stephen [Carpenter], it's just straight-up metal all the time. What's cool about Deftones is, I kind of counteract it, and this is just another thing. It has chaos in it, but it's not that straight-up, 'I'm gonna punch you in the eye'-type stuff."

Team Sleep — currently in the midst of a European tour with openers Idiot Pilot — recently put the finishing touches on their first video, for the track "Ever (Foreign Flag)."

The clip, shot in downtown Los Angeles by director Shaun Peterson (... And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead), features footage of the entire band — Moreno, guitarist Todd Wilkinson, bassist Rick Verrett and turntablist/programmer DJ Crook — moseying across the city's cluttered sidewalks and through unruffled parks and alleyways as black images of numbers, letters, splashes of paint, flowers and trees waft through the air, quickly sprout and then gradually mushroom across the screen. Like the song "Ever (Foreign Flag)," the video possesses an atmospheric, tranquil and, at the same time, melancholic feel to it.

Moreno said Team Sleep have already written 15 songs' worth of material for their sophomore album. The band will start rehearsing and recording the tracks this fall while Moreno's on the road with Deftones; when he returns to Sacramento, California, he'll lay down vocals for the songs. Former Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha will contribute, Moreno said.

"Koolade," which didn't make the cut for Team Sleep, will be released overseas as the B-side to "Ever (Foreign Flag)." On the track, Moreno trades vocals with Fantômas/ Faith No More legend Mike Patton. "It just really didn't fit in context with the album itself," Moreno said. "It's kind of a novelty-type song — it's also kind of funny and spooky, too."

Deftones are expected to release their as-yet-untitled fifth album later this year.