Deftones Racing Through Next Album, Hoping for October Release

'It was important that we wanted to not drag it out,' says frontman Chino Moreno

Mixing for Deftones' next album is under way, and frontman Chino Moreno says the California heavy rockers caught a full range of sound for this venture.

"It's not a super fast or slow record. It's very dynamic," Moreno tells Billboard.com. "Some of my favorite things about Deftones are the dynamics. Yes, we're a heavy band, but we're not just in-your-face aggro the whole time, punching you in the face. There's a lot of aggression in some of the music, but there's also this very soothing element where there's a lot of soundscapes rather than attack, attack, attack the whole time. I understand that's a big part of our sound, but I really feel like we reached a peak on our dynamics on this record with those two qualities -- the beauty of something and just straight, ruthless aggression."

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Moreno says Deftones also approached the as-yet-untitled album -- which was produced by Nick Raskulinecz with a hoped-for early October release date -- with a certain kind of work ethic in mind.

"It was important that we wanted to not drag it out," he says. "We have a well-documented history of taking forever to make records. But with our last record (2010's 'Diamond Eyes') we did it in a really short, good amount of time, probably four or five months from the time we started writing until we finished it. For us, that was record time, so this time the idea was, 'Let's go in and start a record on this date and let's try to be finished by summertime and keep this work ethic we kind of stumbled upon on the last one,' and we did."

Moreno says the new album is marked by greater contributions from bassist Sergio Vega -- still filling in for Chi Cheng, who continues to recover from a 2008 automobile accident that left him in a coma -- and also by a more collective approach to the writing process. "Everybody came in together and someone would start playing something and another person would join in and then another person, so the songs were really built with us together in the room at the same time," Moreno explains. "I think it's a very honest record because it's not anything pre-conceived. We didn't come in thinking, 'It's gonna be like this' or 'It's gonna be like that.' It's just us hanging out as friends and playing, making something out of nothing."

Deftones begin a short tour with System of a Down on Aug. 2 in Camden, N.J., and will also play Slipknot's Knotfest events on Aug. 17-18 in Iowa and Wisconsin, respectively. Moreno expects a full tour in support of the new album around the time it's released.

Meanwhile, Moreno is helping Team Sleep cohort Todd Wilkinson with a solo album and is also getting ready to record vocals for Palms, a new band he's formed with former members of the Boston metal band Isis. "The music's all been recorded and everything, and obviously I"ve been engulfed in the Deftones record. But I told them as soon as I was done, we would record the vocal stuff," says Moreno. A six-song EP is planned, but he notes that "the songs are long as hell, so it's like a full LP. I don't know what it'll be like or when it's going to be done or released, but it's a project I think is pretty rad."