The PV Q&A: Chino Moreno and Aaron Harris' Palms Wave and Take You Away

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The debut album from Palms feels more like a destination than a record. Given the collective talents of Deftones main man Chino Moreno and Aaron Harris, Cliff Meyer, and Jeff Caxide of Isis, it's easy to slip into the icy distortion, ethers of melody, and cacophonous beats. Instead of taking a flight to the farthest reaches of the globe, just press play on Palms.

In this exclusive interview with PureVolume's Rick Florino, Chino Moreno and Aaron Harris open up the gateway into their hazy, haunting, and hypnotic paradise, Palms.

Thematically, musically, and texturally, what's the through line of the Palms record? It feels like a living and breathing entity.
Chino Moreno: The music's pretty visual. From the first time I heard it, even though it was a lot to take in, I immediately got this cinematic feeling. The music is panoramic to me. I'm looking at it, listening to it, and seeing all kinds of different images. Even with the name Palms, we didn't come up with it too late into the process. Everything gave it this feeling. I felt like it was very cinematic. A lot of the lyrics are painting pictures of landscapes. There's not too much storytelling in the lyrics. It's more or less the music is speaking to me and, I think, you guys as well in a very visual way. I paint along with what I'm hearing.

Aaron Harris: I've always loved records where when you hear the music they bring up some sort of emotion or feeling. You can make a connection with it, and you almost don't want to know what he's singing about. You don't want to know what they were thinking when they were writing it because it could ruin the feeling you have. That's how I feel with Chino's lyrics. I don't want to know what he's singing about.

Chino Moreno: Good, cuz I'm not going to tell you [Laughs].

Aaron Harris: I like the lyrics and the way it flows. I just want to have my own connection.
Why did you release "Patagonia" first?
Chino Moreno: It's funny that was the first song I played for my friends. I played it for my buddy Chuck Doom and Todd Wilkinson from Team Sleep. They both sat there, looked at me, and gave me the thumbs up. I don't think they'll lie to me [Laughs]. It's good to have buddies you can trust their opinion on things.

Aaron Harris: That was the hardest song for me to mix. I don't know why. I'm happy with it. I'm not as happy with it as I am with some of the other songs. That one just gave me a hard time.
This is very emotional music in a different way.
Aaron Harris: I've talked to a couple of my friends who feel music completely different than I do. I have one friend who was like, "I feel music in my stomach." I kind of feel it in my chest. Music that brings out a visual, an emotion, or a sensation is really important. That's what really sticks with me. It's what I enjoy. Music in the background is great to it.

What bands do you bond over?
Aaron Harris: Mogwai!

Chino Moreno: There's a lot of stuff. I'd say Clams Casino.

Aaron Harris: I like Clams Casino a lot. Then, I'd go with Northcape.

Chino Moreno: Northcape is really good. I'm a big fan of Isis. I like dynamic music. Mogwai is a big influence. At their quietest moments, you can hear a pin drop. It's the most delicate thing. At the heaviest, it's like your chest is caving in and all in between. I love the dynamics of group like that. It's weird that I'm a singer and most of my favorite music is instrumental, but that's the way it is for me. You know what I mean? I don't know why, but I love when music is not cluttered up with what you're supposed to think it's about or hearing somebody tell their idea of what it's like. Instead, why not let the music speak for itself.

Aaron Harris: We're also big fans of rock and prog as well. We're just music fans—all kinds of stuff. I think that's really important. Anytime somebody says, "All I listen to is heavy music," that's probably the genre I listen to the least. I try to listen to all kinds of different stuff. "Heavy" can mean different things. It's not all screaming and yelling. It's just something that moves me.
Are you going to have visuals to accompany the live show?
Chino Moreno: I'm not really sure if we'll have the resources to pull that together. We do have a show at the Hollywood Bowl which I'm really excited about. That might be the chance. I don't know if we're playing in the dark. We may not have enough time to do it, but with this music it would work so perfectly. I love doing that. To me, putting visuals to music is one of the most fun things ever. Marrying those two things is so cool.

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