DEFTONES frontman Chino Moreno recently sat down with ‘The Peer Pleasure Podcast‘ and spoke to host Dewey Halpus about the status of the band’s incomplete and unreleased album “Eros”.
The effort was shelved back in 2008 when bassist Chiu Cheng was in a severe car accident, causing the band to abandon the project and move in a differentdirection with a new album that would become “Diamond Eyes”.
The injuries Chi sustained from the accident left him in a waking coma and would eventually claim his life several years later in 2013. Only one finished song has ever been “released” from the project, which was the track “Smile“, released by Moreno in 2014 on the one-year anniversary of Cheng‘s death.
According to Chino, the album was never fully completed and still hasn’t been touched since 2008.
Chino says (transcribed by theprp.com): “There’s maybe like an EP’s worth of music that has vocals on it. The rest of it is like—there’s probably vocals on it—but it’s definitely not finished. It’s probably more like what I was saying earlier, it has melodies and ideas, but no words yet. I was still working on it when Chi had his accident, and we kinda just halted everything. So it’s not finished.
I think there was probably like 12, 11 or 12 songs or something from the session. That specific song “Smile” I had finished, and I actually recorded that vocal at Shaun‘s [Lopez of Crosses, etc.] house. At that point I went through so many different people that I was working on that record with.
Terry [Date] did all the music for it. But that’s when I was still living in Burbank and Shaun was my neighbor, so I just skateboarded over to his house and was like ‘Hey, put this on.’ Because I always love the way he… I love recording vocals with him. And especially I love the way he treats my vocal. And it’s just a very comfortable vocal booth and it’s just a good vibe and he’s really good at… Someone who I can bounce stuff off of.”
…So I finished that song, or finished what it is—I don’t think it ever got mixed or mastered. That’s like a rough mix from when I left [Shaun‘s] house that night. But it was the year anniversary of Chi‘s death. I had found it on my computer maybe a couple days before that and I was like, you know what I’m just gonna, without telling the band, put it out. Literally from my YouTube, I put it up on YouTube that’s it.
…I just kinda leaked it out and then I think when people heard that they just assumed ‘oh, well the whole record’s finished, why can’t we hear it?’ But the truth is it’s not. That’s probably the only song that was finished, finished. There’s some others that were close, but honestly I’ve never opened up those files since then, since like 2008. I’ve never opened up that hard drive to see where everything sits.
And in my mind back then, it was like I’m not going to… I mean obviously we hold that stuff pretty sacred, ’cause obviously it’s the last thing that Chi played on. But also we were sort of, we were doing “Diamond Eyes” and we were already kind of moving forward. And I didn’t want to listen to these songs that we had been working on for the last three… It was so fresh, we were that we were just like moving forward and making music in that moment.
As to where if I put those on, it was gonna take me back to that time, which I didn’t want to be in. And I’m still kind of hesitant to go back and listen. It’s probably why I haven’t opened it up and listened to a lot of it.
I will say that I remember it being not that great, I will say that. I remember when were done with writing that batch of songs I remember thinking ‘man, we can make better songs.’ There was a couple good moments, but I remember not being too enthusiastic about that batch of songs.
And it was actually a good time. We were having a really good time when were writing that stuff. We were all getting along so well. We working in Sacramento at our studio and we had finally come out of those dark times, which started with the self-titled album and went pretty much all the way through the “Saturday Night Wrist” writing and recording and a little bit of the touring. We started to repair our friendships and everybody got on the same page again.”
Chino would go on to say that activities like playing poker and marathon games of Risk seemed to take priority over actually working on new music. He explained: “Because of lack of regiment, whatever, which we didn’t adopt until we started the “Diamond Eyes” record, the record [“Eros“] sounded kinda fragmented that way. There was nobody really taking charge. We were all repairing our friendships. So I really went out of my way to not dictate where the record should go in anyway. I was just gonna stand back and let everybody be themselves, which is great. But sometimes we didn’t have a producer there really, so no one’s driving. And it lacked a lot of direction. So as pleasant as it was and fun as it was. It wasn’t as good as it could have been.
And then I think once we started “Diamond Eyes” and we started to adopt this bit of a more regimented work ethic, it was like ‘wow, it’s like a whole different band.’ Obviously not because Chi wasn’t there, it was just where we were at at that time.”
Chino did say that he’d “never say never” when it comes to finishing the album, but he would have to find the time and the motivation to do it. He would also need the rest of DEFTONES involved. Moreno says: “I wouldn’t want to do it by myself. I’d want input from the rest of the band, so it’d have to almost be like we were doing a record again, but starting with ideas that were like how many years now? If that was 2008…”
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