Deftones Interview 5/17/2010

May 29, 2010 by: admin

DEFTONES

Warner Bros.

Sergio Vega (Bassist)

Sacramento, California

Myspace.com/deftones

By: Shauna O’Donnell

HI GUYS THIS IS SHAUNA O’DONNELL AND YOU ARE LISTENING TO MUEN TALK. WE HAVE SERGIO VEGA THE BASSIST OF DEFTONES ON THE PHONE.

MUEN: HI SERGIO, THANKS FOR TALKING WITH ME. HOW ARE YOU?

Hi, how’s it going? Thank you so much for the opportunity, I’m psyched!

MUEN: AWESOME! THAT’S GOOD TO HEAR. ON MAY 4TH YOU RELEASED YOUR 6TH STUDIO ALBUM TITLED DIAMOND EYES. THIS RECORD’S SOUND TAKES US BACK TO THE EARLIER DEFTONE’S RECORDS.

Do you think so?

MUEN: I THINK SO.

Okay, I’m not arguing it, I hear it sometimes and sometimes I hear the opposite. I like that.

MUEN: WAS IT INTENTIONAL, DID YOU DECIDE TO GO BACK TO YOUR ROOTS WHEN WRITING THIS ONE OR WAS IT SOMETHING THAT WASN’T EVEN IN YOUR THOUGHTS?

The way that this album came together in terms of the modality of putting it together, was that the only area that we were conscious about were the parameters. We wanted to work from this hour to this hour and this amount of days. We created an infrastructure with Nick Raskulinecz’s guidance. We put together the understanding of how we were going to approach it, not so much about what it was going to be or sound like. It was more like; we are going to work like this and put in these hours. We decided to stick around each other and instilled a work ethic from the get go. At that point, it was just jamming. We would show up, everybody would show up on time and everybody was really happy and excited to get to work. We started jamming and he was documenting it. Whenever anything caught fire he was really on top of whoever it was coming from and it was really awesome. We had so much fun; there was a great energy to begin with. We had a mission to put our best foot forward and then he came in with great energy at the same time. Nick’s mission was to capture this and make the most amazing thing we can. He set up a little mic and Pro Tools and we just recorded everything. There were ideas that we were documenting so if anything ever slowed down he would go back to something that he dug the day or week before. He would be like “Go back to this man, this was awesome.” Everything came together fast and with a great energy. Nick is the man, if anyone has anything to say about him, they should check themselves. He was so cool, he saw everything and everyone. He wasn’t the kind of producer that came with riffs from their childhood that they were trying to get see the light of day. You know, trying to sneak in up on your shit.

MUEN: THIS IS YOUR FIRST EXPERIENCE WRITING WITH THE BAND.

Yes, it’s the first record I got to make with these guys and it was cool. I worked with the guys in Quicksand prior to this. It was a nice opportunity to work with two different groups that I really respect everyone in.

MUEN: EROS WAS SUPPOSED TO BE YOUR SIXTH STUDIO ALBUM, BUT YOU OPTED TO WRITE A RECORD WITH A POSITIVE AND OPTIMISTIC VIBE INSTEAD.

It wasn’t about that, because that implies there was a conscious effort to do that. It just came out that way. Everyone felt positive and good because we were appreciative of being able to do it. It was more like everyone was amped and we felt like we should just write a record because there was an energy there that was undeniable and we should utilize it. The simplest way to put it is that it allows Eros to be recontextualized and not be the album it wasn’t intended to be. It wasn’t intended to be a dark album and it will see the light of day. It will get a chance to be framed in a way that will allow it to exist for what it is as opposed to the conditions that derailed it. My hope of hopes is that Chi will be alert and available to bask in it.

MUEN: ABSOLUTELY, HOW IS HE DOING, ABOUT THE SAME?

Yes, I think that on a physical level because of his condition he’s really looking good. His body is healthy, as far as his level of consciousness; it’s where it’s been. I took interest in it, researched it and sent some emails to his mom talking about it. You see how it is such a gray area and there is a lot of misunderstandings about it and misdiagnosis about what it is. There is so much room for error in that it takes a person to not be passive about his condition and really do anything that they can to bring him back to consciousness. That is the way they are approaching it.

MUEN: I READ THAT THEY WERE GOING TO BRING IN A DOCTOR THAT HAD A REALLY GOOD SUCCESS RATE.

Yeah, someone from New Jersey. I was visiting some family and I was reading this article that there is a 40% misdiagnosis rate for these kinds of things. I was like “Holy Shit!” I’m a father and if someone said that about my child I’d be like “Fuck you, I’m going to do whatever,” especially giving those kinds of numbers. That’s how they’re rolling, thank goodness for Chi. It’s a horrible place for them to be and they are devoted to making sure that they do anything they can to get him back.

MUEN: HE HAS GREAT FRIENDS, FAMILY AND FANS. EVERYONE’S THOUGHTS ARE ALWAYS WITH HIM.

Yeah, as are mine.

MUEN: I ASSUME YOU ACCOMPLISHED WHAT YOU SET OUT TO DO WITH THIS ALBUM.

Yes, we wanted to make a sick ass record and we feel good about it. This is an honest, earnest body of music and we feel like we really got to be creative and concise. I’m happy with the ideas, the placement, the arrangements and the support. The love that you can see is palpable, these guys love each other. They embraced me and I was so psyched. It was all about me and Chi, it was awesome. It was never one or the other, it is always understood that we are homies and that’s it.

MUEN: THE ALBUM IS DOING VERY WELL; IT DEBUTED AT #6 ON BILLBOARD.

We were psyched about that; we were like “We’ve got a number!” We were talking about that today “For another few hours, we’re #6!” We have no illusions about what will happen after that. We are not saying anything about tomorrow, but we know for today.

MUEN: I KNOW, ISN’T IT FUNNY, YOU KEEP GOING AND LOOKING TO MAKE SURE. YOU CAN’T HELP IT.

It’s like we know where it is, we never have any false impressions about that. We understand what this band is, what we do and how we roll. It’s a blessing that there is an interest and that the band has been together for so long and can really do it. We’re not fooling ourselves and thinking we are up there with Lady GAGA and BOB.

MUEN: YOU GUYS ARE PRETTY GOOD THOUGH, I MEAN….

No, No I’m not saying it’s about the quality of the work. I’m just talking about that being an indicator for the bands. That is not the way that this band will be measured, by our chart position, because that does not reflect where this band is. We are having fun with the fact that we are #6 this week and we are goofing on ourselves that we will probably be #600 next week and we don’t give a fuck!

MUEN: IF YOU GOOGLE MY NAME IT ALWAYS POPS UP AS #1, BUT I’M ALWAYS CHECKING TO MAKE SURE.

I know, I used to be #1 with my name, but then there is this other TexMex  guy named Sergio Vega who made all of these records. He took my slot! Then there’s this dude from Australia and there is also this guy named Sergio Vega from Argentina who is a sculptor, so we are all in competition.

MUEN: FIGHTING TO BE #1 ON GOOGLE!

Fighting to be #1, I had it for a lot of years, but then this dude Sergio Vega the singer stole it. I have #1 in images, but he has the rest.

MUEN: NOW I’M WORRIED ABOUT MY SPOT.

You have to ask yourself “Am I going to shut down the people with my name or am I going to support them? How do we play this?”

MUEN: I THINK I WOULD BE A SUPPORTER.

Yeah, me too, I don’t want to hate people named Sergio Vega, that sucks.

MUEN: YOU HAVE ALREADY PUT OUT TWO MUSIC VIDEOS, ONE FOR “ROCKET SKATES” AND ONE FOR “DIAMOND EYES.” HOW IS IT YOU WERE ABLE TO PUT OUT TWO SO QUICKLY?

What’s cool about “Rocket Skates” is that it wasn’t a single per say, it was our “Hello” and “Thank you” to all the cats who were proactive with the band. We are excited about it, it’s a creative endeavor and we are just happy to be doing things. We had a chance to work with 13th Witness from New York City who is this awesome cat that we ended up becoming friends with. He hung out with us for a couple days and did a lot of photos. He and this other guy Kenji Digital got together and shot a video for us real quick. His work was something that we really felt good about. We are a fan of his work and we have similar personalities.  He is a down to Earth dude who appreciates the act of creativity. It was a cool thing to just blast for people who have been waiting for Deftone’s stuff for a while. It wasn’t something that we solicited for placement or anything; we just wanted something for people to check out.

MUEN: WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE WHITE OWL BOTH ON THE ALBUM COVER AND IN THE VIDEO?

It’s really about the way everything came together. It’s a lot more organic than contrived. Things resonate and I think that probably the study would be what subconsciously brought all this together as opposed to why we did it.  What happened was, just like the music, ideas were coming forward. Everyone was blasting out ideas of different things and putting together bullet points of what we would want. Frank Maddocks who is and has been the art director for the Deftones since White Pony showed us this picture and it just resonated. We were like “Whoa! That’s it!” Once that was there some of the names started to resonate differently, “Diamond Eyes” came up and it just felt right. I really love it, the image and the starkness of it. The Deftones don’t really directly say anything necessarily; it’s all impressions and things that feel good at the time. I like that because it allows for association for people that can read into it. A lot of people have tried to tie us into the ‘Fourth Kind’ because that movie has the white owl in it.  The lyrics dabble with space motifs and stuff, so people are like “Are you guys on that alien abduction thing?” We are like “Maybe yes, maybe no, but you will not find me in Alaska anytime soon.”

MUEN: YOU ARE GOING TO BE PLAYING ROCK ON THE RANGE THIS YEAR, BUT NOT ONLY THAT, THIS FALL YOU WILL BE TEAMING UP WITH MASTODON AND ALICE IN CHAINS FOR THE ‘BLACKDIAMONDSKY’ TOUR.

Yes

MUEN: I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT THAT, I CAN’T WAIT.

Me too, I’m excited about it all. We are just really amped about that. What I like about that tour is from one prospective it’s a rock tour that seems narrow margin wise, but if you know about that music you will realize it’s three different eras and three totally different approaches. It’s three different takes on guitar rock. These cats are really passionate about their approach, what they do and what they provide. I think that is the common denominator.

MUEN: I THINK THE TOUR IS GOING TO DO ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL.

I’m excited, I’m from New York and we get to play Madison Square Garden. That is such a big deal to me.

MUEN: ARE THESE BANDS FRIENDS OF YOURS ALREADY?

Personally, I’m not really, I got to meet Jerry Cantrell when we were working on the record because he is friends with the guys and they know each other better. He is really sweet and I got to meet a couple of the guys in the band after that. They are just cool. I have never met the Mastodon guys, but I have some friends who are down with them. Everyone says that they are really cool people and I’m looking forward to that. I don’t like when people feel to self important, I think it’s all just rock and roll and having a good time. I come from the hardcore scene where when you get off the stage, you hang with your friends and your friends are your fans.

MUEN: THERE ARE A LOT OF NEW BANDS THAT MODEL THEMSELVES AFTER YOU?

Speaking for the Deftones, as a friend and not in the band, knowing them prior I think that they are really good dudes. I think that they are good people to check for in how they roll. They do it in a nice way, they are true to their hearts and their sense of creativity. They invest in their art, they will go the extra mile to make sure that things look and sound good. If you get to meet them they are not “I’m so this,” they are just kickin it.

MUEN: YOU USED TO BE A SOLO ARTIST, ARE THEIR PLANS TO DO THAT AGAIN?

Not in an aggressive way because I’m having a lot of fun with these guys and we kick it a lot together on tour now. I’m looking forward to creating with these cats as much as possible while we are rolling together.

MUEN: I WANTED TO PAY YOU GUYS A COMPLIMENT. WHOEVER IS IN CHARGE OF YOUR BLOGS ON MYSPACE ARE REALLY DOING A GOOD JOB AT KEEPING IT UP TO DATE.

Oh right on, that’s been between us and a couple of cats over at Warner Bros. We are definitely active online with sending little Twitter pics and blasts. They have been really on top of taking that stuff and pulling it together. They get it out to any outlet that we may miss personally and they keep things moving. It is a nice combination between them sending out good information and us sending out personal pics and little slices of our lives.

MUEN: IT’S PERFECT; YOU GUYS ARE DOING A GREAT JOB. I WANTED TO LET EVERYONE KNOW THAT YOU WILL BE PERFORMING ON JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE ON JUNE 4TH. AND KROQ’S WEENIE ROAST ON JUNE 5TH.

That’s right, yes! I did Jimmy Kimmel a few weeks ago. I’m like “Twice in one year! Get the fuck out!” It’s a really fun time.

MUEN: BE SURE TO CATCH THE DEFTONES ON JIMMY KIMMEL AND AT THE WEENIE ROAST AS WELL AS ON TOUR. THANKS SO MUCH FOR TALKING WITH ME SERGIO. IT WAS SO MUCH FUN, YOU ARE AWESOME.

I appreciate the opportunity, really.

MUEN: NO PROBLEM, BEFORE I LET YOU GO WAS THERE ANYTHING YOU WANTED TO ADD OR SAY?

I’m just psyched and I want everyone to know that we are amped to play and we hope to get to kick it.

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