Deftones, Team Sleep Frontman Chino Moreno Works Double-Time On Upcoming Discs

Singer says Saturday Night Wrist follow-up will be in stores next fall, but Team Sleep fans will have to settle for free EPs.

When you front two different bands like Chino Moreno does, you've got to prioritize.

Sure, Moreno would like to devote just as much time to both projects, but at the end of the day, he knows which band butters his bread: the Deftones. So, while Deftones fans can expect the follow-up to 2006's Saturday Night Wrist to be on store shelves by fall 2008, followers of the singer's electronic side project, Team Sleep, will need to wait until 2010 for that outfit's sophomore effort.

In the meantime, though, Moreno said Team Sleep will issue a series of free, downloadable EPs to whet fans' appetites for the impending follow-up to 2005's Team Sleep (see "Chino Moreno Says Ambient Team Sleep Aren't A Snooze").

"We've got two weeks of shows coming up, so we get to play together again," Moreno said of Team Sleep's upcoming mostly West Coast run, which kicks off November 29 in Sacramento, California, and runs through December 16 in San Francisco, with former From First to Last frontman Sonny Moore, Strata and Monster in the Machine in tow. "We're going to put out the first of the EPs to coincide with the tour, and we'll probably make the music available for download on a new Web site we're setting up."

So, what is the new material sounding like? "It's mostly electronic stuff," Chino explained. "We've been working on it the last few years, and we'll continue to write over the next couple of years, while I'm doing Deftones stuff. And in 2010, hopefully, we'll be able to release a full record. It's a big, long, drawn-out plan, but it works."

For the recording of Team Sleep's eponymous debut, Moreno took time off from recording the Deftones' Wrist, which, he now admits, delayed the release of the Deftones' fifth outing and led to some considerable tension within the ranks. He said his balancing act nearly led to the D-tones' demise — but that won't be happening again.

"To do both, right now, I'd be trying to squeeze in too much," he said. "The last time, I was in the middle of a Deftones record, and it wasn't thought out ahead of time, which caused me a lot of problems."

Team Sleep are still working on the EPs, and they have about 20 songs to choose from — some instrumentals and others featuring Moreno's unmistakable pipes. The band is offering the material gratis, Moreno said, because he has no illusions about what kind of act it is.

"You just want people to hear it," Moreno said. "I'm not looking to make a bunch of money from this. It's not like anything that I think is pop-oriented, that, all of a sudden, is going to turn into something gigantic. It's the music I like, and a lot of people who enjoy music like ours will love to hear it. I just want to share it with them, it's as simple as that. And it's also a promotional tool for us. We make our living from playing shows, and being out there touring. We don't make it from record sales, so the EPs are an advertisement for our show."

Along with the EPs, Moreno promised several free videos would be making it onto their site, which all of the bandmembers have been working on over the past few years. "The EPs will be a little less live-sounding," he explained. "There were live drums on our last record, but this stuff's more electronic, I'd say. There is still a lot more of the whole initial idea of Team Sleep, which is just down-tempoed, dreamy kind of stuff."

As for the new Deftones album, which they plan to produce themselves, Moreno said they've spent about six weeks writing for it and want to spend the next three coming up with even more material.

"The band's been working really good together and utilizing our time really well," he said. "We have a little more than half an album's worth of material right now — written completely. We plan to have a record's worth of material written before the holidays, and we'll start recording at the beginning of next year.

"The last two records have been a lot more impersonal," Moreno continued. "Once we started using computers, it got super impersonal. Everybody would come in separately and do their parts. We looked back to our sophomore album, where we wrote and recorded it and mixed it in four months, and that's still one of my favorite records we've ever done. We want to work in that way [again], all together in one room, and we just play everything until it's memorized, and then we'll record it live. That's what we did with our first records."

It wasn't until 2000's White Pony that the Deftones discovered ProTools. "That's when it started becoming more separated," he said. "So this is kind of us going back to the easy way of doing things."

Moreno said he won't be contributing guitars to the yet-untitled LP, and he feels that aids the creative process. "[Guitarist] Stephen [Carpenter] has been writing tons of songs, and he's got some really great ideas," Moreno said. "I don't think I'm slowing things down by trying to change everything in the midst of writing it — I am letting them write the music, and I'll take care of the vocals."

The singer said the material the band has come up with so far is "dance-y" and "way uptempo-ish, which is kind of neat."

"[Drummer] Abe [Cunningham] is playing really, really fast, and I like that," Moreno said. "It's way more energetic. Our last couple of records have been more midtempo, which is the stuff I tend to write. But on this record, everything is more snappy."