There’s something cryptic and mysterious about ††† (Crosses), the latest project headed by Deftones front man Chino Moreno, ex-Far guitarist Shaun Lopez and Chuck Doom.
The electronic rock band’s tracks are full of sultry and sleek melodies and lucid lyrics with visual romanticism that nestles on the shore of their previous alt-metal/pop influences.
Crosses first arrived in 2011, introducing new music organically with two EPs before releasing a 15-song album earlier this year. They are currently on tour with a stop at the Independent for two shows on March 30 and March 31. We caught up with lead singer and Sacramento native Chino Moreno to talk about the band’s formation, his experience at Austin’s SXSW and why he roots for the Dodgers.
You’ve known Shaun Lopez for a long time when he was in Far, touring with the Deftones and collaborating on songs. How did this idea transpire?
We’ve known each other long before that, and even dating back to those times, Shaun and I always talked about wanting to do a project. We share an affinity for all the same stuff beyond rock and metal.
We had this idea of one day getting together and making music. I didn’t know what ††† (Crosses) was going to be. He was working on stuff with Chuck and I just happened to stop by his house and was like, “let me get up on these tracks.” One track turned into two, and two turned into three. It was one of those things that was just meant to be.
Crosses formed in 2011 and released a couple of EP’s before dropping a full-length album this year. Why did the album take so long?
We decided to put music out slowly and let people find it. That’s another thing about music in general, I love it when I find something on my own. You feel closeness to it and it’s more personal.
People seemed to respond well to the first EP that we put it out for free. We put the second one out a few weeks later and played a handful of shows on the West Coast in San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego, and then we all got busy so we hadn’t quite finished it.
The project fell by the wayside until we regrouped and a label came to us. They wanted to re-release the EP’s with a third one. At that point we already did the DIY thing and the record as a whole sounded like a cohesive piece of work. I can say now that I want as many people to hear it as possible.
All the bands that you play in are a little bit different. Do you have a certain approach with ††† (Crosses)?
The main thing is that it’s for the people. I personally don’t approach it any differently, vocally or lyrically. I basically react to the music in front of me.
It’s not a guitar-led project like Deftones, so there’s that differentiation. But I don’t approach it differently; it’s just a different project. It’s still my voice and my reaction to the music.
You just played a string of shows at SXSW. How was that experience and what was your favorite moment?
It was all pretty interesting. I’ve never been there before with any projects or even myself. So that was cool, just walking around and experiencing it as a person off the street, going into a club here and a club there and seeing tons of different music.
We played a couple shows and they were really cool. Last minute, I was asked to do a Jimmy Hendrix tribute with Slash, so I sang “Foxy Lady” with Slash and Wayne from MC5 playing guitar. It was very last minute and wasn’t planned at all. I just walked on stage to about 10,000 people. It made me feel like a kid again.
Do you find it kind of exhilarating and rejuvenating when you play in a new band and sort of start over again?
Playing with different people and starting from scratch again is tough. Luckily for me, because of all my projects, it makes it easier for people to know who we are and what to expect. It’s humbling going in and playing smaller shows.
You grew up in Sacramento yet you’re a Dodgers fan. How did this happen?
My dad is from LA and as a kid, that’s the way it was. If you were in my dad’s house you liked the Dodgers, and the Dodgers were great back then. That was a great time to be into baseball. It’s funny now cause my mom is a hardcore Giants fans, so the house is very split. But I gotta roll with pops on that.
Ok, I’ll forgive you. Any plans for Crosses after this current tour?
We’re just kind of kickin’ it, doing a little here and little there. Deftones are starting to write a new record. I’m just playin’ it by ear.
Crosses performs at The Independent on March 30 and March 31 (sold out). Tickets are $18 in advance and the show starts at 8pm.