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Interview: Deftones Bassist Sergio Vega

By Marielle Shaw in Arts & Entertainment on Sep 30, 2013 6:00PM

Photo by 13th Witness.

The past year has been a full one for the Deftones.

Since the November 2012 release of Koi No Yokan, they’ve hit the ground running. The album debuted at #11 on Billboard Charts, made Spin’s Top 50 Albums of 2012 (and #5 Metal Album), and won a coveted Golden God award for Best Album from Revolver.

Their most recent single, "Romantic Dreams"; will hit radio soon and a new music video for the song debuted Friday. We recently had the pleasure of talking with Sergio Vega, bassist for the group, about Koi No Yokan and life with the Deftones.

CHICAGOIST: We heard the name of your album, Koi No Yokan, had been incorrectly translated as “love at first sight.” Can you tell us more about the meaning and how it fits the album?

SERGIO VEGA: One of the reasons we picked the name is because it rolls off the tongue, and the sound was important to us too. It’s actually not love at first sight, but a premonition of love, like when you meet someone and you suddenly know “this is someone I could fall in love with.” Kind of like, wanting to know more about that person, a yearning. I feel like that’s where we’re at as a band in general, consuming music and appreciating life.

C: Speaking of consuming music, what are you listening to now, or inspired by?

SERGIO VEGA: Lately, for me it’s been rap: a Juicy J record…also mix tapes--there are a lot of people doing mixes for free online. I also like electronic music.

C: We heard a few of the band members DJ now and again…

SERGIO VEGA: Definitely. Frank and I did it for a living for a while. Chino DJs as well.

C: What are some of your favorite places in Chicago? Plans while you’re here?

SERGIO VEGA: I go to the Chicago Diner a lot. It’s fun. I’m a vegan, and they make a lot of really good comfort food if you’re vegetarian or vegan. It’s a tight schedule, but we always check out food, and we like to go to dive bars. A few of our crew members are from Chicago. I was actually just here last week for Riot Fest. As far as venues, I really like playing the Metro and the Vic.

C: What is your favorite thing about Koi No Yokan?

SERGIO VEGA: Mostly that we got to spread our wings and do things we hadn’t done before. We did Diamond Eyes quickly and Koi No Yokan came together quickly too. We actually ended up with probably double what made it on the album, which has never happened before.

C: Any chance of any of that making it as b-sides?

SERGIO VEGA: No, I don’t think so… [albums] have a sense of time, it’s a body of work and it’s hard to go back.

C: What were the challenges you faced with this album, if any?

SERGIO VEGA: Nothing external really. It’s more about getting something from nothing. Sittin’ in a room…we’re not really gonna rest on our laurels, we want to take our last record and then make a better record. We have high hopes. There’s a lot of internal pressure.

C: How do you think the internet has changed the way albums work? Our first listen to an album always used to be track one to the end. Do you feel that order or flow matters anymore?

SERGIO VEGA: Totally. We definitely have an album flow. For Koi No Yokan there were a couple of configurations that sounded good. It was fun- a chance to be creative. We tried a few different sequences before the last one came up.

C: You guys are playing 15 shows in 3 weeks. What’s your survival plan, and what are some of your on-the-road time killers?

SERGIO VEGA: It’s a short tour, so there’s a lot of times when we are not playing. We record on our own time. My backpack is like a studio, so I like to mess with ideas when I’m waiting around. Also, some video games-I’ve been playing FIFA.

C: Have you guys worked with Avenged Sevenfold before?

SERGIO VEGA: No, I don’t know that we’ve ever met them. I’m looking forward to it. I’m stoked to see how they roll. Touring with a band is like worlds colliding, and I like learning a band’s culture, and their jokes and language. It’s always been a good time.

We think the Deftones will be a good time when they appear on October 3 at the Allstate Arena on the first stop of the Avenged Sevenfold Hail to the King tour, with Avenged Sevenfold and Ghost B.C. ">Tickets are still available.