Interview: Crosses’ Chino Moreno and Shaun Lopez open up about their elusive band

November 7, 2011 by Jason Pettigrew

Interview: Crosses’ Chino Moreno and Shaun Lopez open up about their elusive band

Shaun, if you couldn’t get this dude to sing on your record, who were you looking at?
LOPEZ
: I don’t know. [Laughs.] I don’t really want to get into it.

The reason I ask the question is because obviously, it’s your work that initiated the whole thing. What type of vibe were you going for?
LOPEZ
: I talked to one guy, Richard Patrick from Filter. He wanted to do it. Then, shortly after that, Chino was like, “Dude, I want to do a whole record,” and then it just made sense. Because in the beginning, the material was a little more scattered—it wasn’t as cohesive. There were songs that were really heavy and I didn’t think there was a way to mix those two things together. There are ways to be heavy without [having] loud guitars and crushing drums and all that. That’s all I talked to, really. We were thinking about [singers] but to be honest, I don’t really like that many singers. There were not many people we really thought of who fit over what we were doing. Chino was definitely one of them and luckily, we were friends.

What made you choose to offer the tracks for free?
MORENO
: I remember when we were done with the EP, we hadn’t even figured out what we were doing management-wise or anything. We met with some people and went with the people we were with. We basically just called them up and we were like, “We want to do this, but we want to put this out in two weeks from now.” They were like, “All right. Let’s go!” For me, I think putting it out for free is a brand new thing. None of us expects every single Deftones fan is going to love this or buy this. Let’s just put it out and not even say anything. Just let people find it and spread the word. I think if we put it out for free, it’s going to be a lot easier to do that. It’s just cool to put it out and not say a word.

Everyone keeps asking me “Why are you doing this?” and I’m like “Why not? What else am I going to do with my time?” I make music. That’s what I do. If you don’t like it, don’t listen to it. It’s that simple.

You just do good work and hope people respond to it. At this point, Crosses don’t need to be part of the machinery of a record’s promotion.
MORENO
: Maybe a lot of that has to do with what I’ve experienced in the past anytime I ever recorded anything aside from Deftones. Deftones fans are very opinionated. I never go on [the internet] and read any of the fuckin’ message boards or nothing like that. Motherfuckers piss me off—they feel like they are in the fuckin’ band sometimes and they are so entitled. [Like they know what] we “should” do and what I “should” be doing. I end up getting pissed, so I don’t even pay any attention to that shit anymore.

My main thing with doing Crosses is, I already know there’s going to be a bunch of people, like, “Oh, here he goes again. He’s doing some mellow shit.” I know there are Deftones fans that just want to hear me fuckin’ scream my head off. That’s fine, too, you know what I mean? I do that sometimes, but at the same time, it’s like I’m doing this because it’s fun for me. I’m sure there will be a lot of people who will appreciate it, but I’m sure there will be a lot of people who just want to hate on it. The last thing I want to do is give anybody any reason to have any preconceived thoughts about what it is. It’s free. Listen to it. If you like it, that’s great. If you don’t, that’s great.

What’s the game plan regarding how you’re going to make music available in the future?
MORENO
: I hate to sit here and tell everyone exactly how it’s going to roll out because it might change, but the idea is to keep putting out EPs and possibly compile everything and put them all on a record or a double record. Put it all together as one package and do a very limited special-edition so the people that really want it can get it.

We’re not interested in doing any major-label deal or getting in a van and touring across the country or anything like that. It’s more or less just putting out some music. I wouldn’t say we may never play [live]; we might, we may not, I don’t know. But if we do, I’m sure it would be a specialty type of thing. I think everything should be treated like specialty everything: limited, numbered packaging and if we are to do shows, specialty kind of things. I think if we start to look at this as it’s a band and a full-on thing, I think it might take away from the specialness of how it came about and what it is. I think the best part about this, though, is everything you hear was generated by us: three people with nobody else’s opinion, money, favors or whatever. [To Lopez] Not to hype you up too much, it’s pretty awesome that you pretty much recorded every sound on there and mixed it. There is no outside help as far as producers—I’m just not used to that. I’m used to always having a million people around like doing this and engineers. To me, that’s rad because I know that everything on there is untouched.

Last question, a typical Rock Journalism 101 one: Why the name Crosses?
MORENO
: I think religion in general—the art of it and the mystique around a lot of things—has always been intriguing to me. The initial name for this project was to be the Holy Ghost. We went back to the drawing board and there were a few other names; they all had some sort of holy vibe to them. I think Shaun is the one who came up with the Crosses idea. Then, as we started to develop [musically], the initial idea was just to use crosses [as symbols] instead of using a name. Then we thought it would probably be too hard for people to find so we would probably have to use both. I think it fits along with the music. There were thoughts in my head like, “Are they going to be inverted crosses or regular crosses?” I didn’t want people to think we are a religious band, a satanic band or that we are a witch-house band. It’s difficult using a religious symbol, but at the same time, I think in an artistic way, it can totally go somewhere else and I think we are kind of walking that line.

It sounds like you’re seeking something spiritual and fulfilling, instead of some kind of specific religious dogma.
MORENO
: It’s more of an artistic thing than anything literal. I think it’s awesome that I play with a lot of these things in the lyrics, as well. I’ve always been into religious art, the occult and a lot of different things—not because I follow [them], but because I am intrigued by it all. I’m always reading about it, whether it be on the dark side or on the lighter side of things. I’m always intrigued by it and I think it fits well with the dark, erotic kind of vibe of the music.

Usually when we are making this music, we usually put up some movie on the TV in the studio. A lot of the movies we put up are really weirdo, visual movies, usually from the ’60s and ’70s. A lot of them are weirdo, religion-sort-of-based and satanic-sort-of-based. I love visual inspiration while I’m making music. That stuff is always inspiring to me. Those movies—back in that era, before CGI and any of that—it’s just amazing to just have up whether you’re tracking a guitar, tracking bass, or singing. It’s cool to look over and see this bugged-out whatever. [Laughs.] alt

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deftones crosses chino moreno shaun lopez

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