“We knew we wanted to work with Terry again at some point — there’s a level of comfort there,” says Moreno. After what he describes as a “fragmented” experience recording Gore, the creation of Ohms was more freewheeling and collaborative, with Date joining the group in Los Angeles in 2019 and Moreno making the three-hour drive from Portland to the producer’s Seattle home studio to finish the album. Sonically, Ohms is Deftones’ most focused sucker punch since Diamond Eyes: “Radiant Eyes” contains an explosive bassline from Vega, opening track “Genesis” is a push-pull led by Carpenter’s careening guitar, and “This Link Is Dead” boasts one of Moreno’s most animated vocal performances to date.
Wakefield teases a few “big, tentpole” surprises for fans leading up to the release of Ohms, while the title track, which debuted at No. 31 on the Hot Rock & Alternative Songs chart, will continue to be pushed to rock radio. The album was finished, save for some overdubbing and mixing, prior to the pandemic shutting down most of the United States; Deftones had already announced separate U.S. and European tours for the summer, which have been postponed to 2021.
Also shifted to next year: the third iteration of Dia de los Deftones, an annual festival that the band launched in San Diego in 2018. The one-day event has featured a headlining performance from the band and metal-adjacent acts like Gojira and Brutus on the bill, as well as Future, Megan Thee Stallion, Chvrches and Doja Cat. “To be able to get Megan Thee Stallion and also Gojira, we feel like that encompasses who [Deftones are] and the diversity of their fan base,” says Wakefield of Dia de los Deftones, which grossed $279,000 in 2018, according to Billboard Boxscore.
Moreno grew up listening to a wide variety of genres, including new wave — his older sister got him into bands like The Human League and Thompson Twins before he delved into metal, and he listens to a lot of ’70s rock radio now, especially when he’s working around the house (including coop construction). He hesitates to credit any one factor for Deftones’ longevity, but says that the band’s diverse sonic palette has been crucial in its survival.
“If there’s a trend in music, it’s never like we go, ‘Oh, my God, this is big right now, let’s try this,’ ” says Moreno. “All of our influences are embedded in us, so it comes out not sounding forced or shoehorned into a certain time. And then, hopefully, the records don’t sound as dated.”