Deftones: Diamond in the Rough
Carpenter played all of his parts of Diamond Eyes with the eight-string tuned to A-440, the same tuning Moreno used on his six-string. For songs like “Rocket Skates” and “This Place Is Death,” he and Vega doubled their parts, but just as often the bassist played an octave up from Carpenter so the mix wouldn’t sound too swampy. “It’s a little weird because Sergio can’t really go all the way down to where I’m at,” Carpenter says. “When I hit that low F#, he’s going to a higher register than me to be there with me, but he’s a really good player, so he can handle it.”
In mid May, Diamond Eyes debuted on the Billboard Top 200 Album chart at Number Six. The release was accompanied with accolades from the press, which concluded that Deftones’ collision with tragedy had unified their cause and resolidified their bond. The assertion makes sense and neatly packages the “triumph over adversity” theme that plays so well in the media. But Carpenter, who loathes hype almost as much as an empty bong, refutes the assessment.
“I’ve actually been in exactly the same headspace with our music for the past 10 years,” he says. “I don’t ever question whether we’re in or out. I feel like our first three records have proven our consistency. I think the self-titled record is just as great as the first three, I think Saturday Night Wrist is just as great as the first four. This is our sixth record, and when I reflect on all the records, they are all good to me.”
Which brings us to the unfinished, and unreleased, Eros. Both Carpenter and Moreno say its songs are less direct and more experimental than those on Diamond Eyes, and they want their fans eventually to hear them. The real question is, when will that happen? Clearly, Diamond Eyes will remain on the shelf for the next year while Deftones are on tour. After that, Moreno wants to get back together with Raskulinecz and maintain the momentum of Diamond Eyes. But Carpenter wants Eros out sooner rather than later.
“When Chi’s accident first happened, I thought, Fuck, I don’t want to release that stuff without him being here to hear or see it,” Carpenter explains. “And since all of this time, I’ve really changed my perspective to the point where I really want people to hear what Chi’s done and put it out there to promote Chi. And when he comes back we’ll say, “Yo, dog, here’s the shit. It’s out. Welcome back.”
Moreover, while Carpenter is enjoying the group’s commercial resurgence, he says the songs he writes for Deftones’ next record will be more sonically challenging than anything on Diamond Eyes or Eros. “I have left the realm of anything being as it’s been,” he claims somewhat cryptically. “I have 100 percent intention of being as wild and creative as possible in the future, without it making any sense to hardly anyone. That’s just what’s exciting to me.”
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