2022 is full of surprises, but I bet the triumphant return of acclaimed electronic act ††† (Crosses) was not on your bingo card. The duo, composed of Deftones frontman Chino Moreno and producer/multi-instrumentalist Shaun Lopez, has shared two new singles “Protection” and “Initiation,” with the latter’s video receiving an exclusive Paste premiere.
Heavily inspired by gangster classic Scarface’s iconic “The World Is Yours” scene, “Initiation” has a sense of urgency. Moreno opens with “Our lives will never be the same,” twirling the threads of a decaying relationship. Lush, atmospheric synths and vocal echoes set a simplistic backdrop punctuated by samples of breaths cut short and wobbly guitars. The accompanying video features Thais Molon, reprising her role as a protagonist that originally appeared in previous ††† (Crosses) videos including 2013’s “Bitches Brew” and 2014’s “The Epilogue.”
The band returns to share their first new material in over half a decade.EP 1 in 2011 with the second installment following in 2012. 2014’s EP 3 was the last of the duo’s output for several years. Despite returning six years later to release a cover of Cause and Effect’s “The Beginning of the End,” followed by Q Lazzarus’ “Goodbye Horses” in 2021, there has not been any new original material until now.
Below, watch the Paste exclusive premiere for “Initiation” and keep scrolling for a short Q&A with Crosses.
Paste: What does it feel like making new Crosses material after so long? What made this feel like the right time?
Chino Moreno: When starting this batch of songs we went in with the idea of just getting together at convenience more than making a full fledged plan of where it would end up. Getting together and plugging in gear lent itself to more of a experimental and collaborative experience which took precedence over any kind of schedule. After some time working in that mindset it seemed we raised our heads a year or so into it realizing we where sitting on a solid batch of material.
Shaun Lopez: We had to overcome a few speed bumps in the past years, but it feels great to make this music again. When Chino and I go in the studio together, sometimes it’s hard to finish up songs because we just start going in on new ideas. Just fueled with inspiration it can feel effortless. I’m really happy with all the new material we’ve been creating.
Paste: Both of your projects are so prolific within their respective genres. Do you set aside time to work on both Crosses and Deftones material, or do you create and see what pops up?
Moreno: I rarely write music on my own as of late no matter what project. Collaborating is my favorite way to create. With Crosses, the majority of the ideas spawned from us being in the same room just hanging out building ideas from scratch. Sometimes an idea would start from Shaun sitting behind the piano playing chords. Sometimes ideas would be born tweaking around with old synths or drum machines. One of us will usually look up and say say “Ooh what’s that?” And from that point, we start building.
Paste: What have you both consumed within the past decade that has influenced your recent work?
Moreno: Musically, I’m mostly inspired by specific sounds. When Shaun or I stumble upon a sound that inspires us, that could easily be a foundation and lead to the emotion of the lyric even. Of course melody is important, but it doesn’t always need to start from that place.
Lopez: Echoing what Chino said, I’m a huge fan of sounds and trying to build and make sounds that I have never heard in this context. I’m still a huge fan of music and finding something fresh. That feeling of finding a new artist and turning your friends onto it never gets old. I have to admit when a friend turns me onto a new artist that I really like, I get a little upset like, “I should already know this, am I slippin’?”
Paste: Finally, tell me about the Scarface inspiration. What role do films play in your upcoming work?
Moreno: That “world is yours” with the blimp I referenced in particular has always conveyed deep emotion to me every time I watched it. Still does. Having movies or any type of visuals playing in the background when writing has always been something present working in Shaun’s studio. Film and video have always inspired us and seem to marry well with the vibes of these songs.
Lopez: From day one working on ††† stuff, I would always have some kind of visuals playing on the TV. I think it’s actually shaped our sound and esthetic. For “Initiation”, I remember I made a loop of the main guitar part and the breath percussions and sent it to Chino. He laid down a rough verse idea, sent it back and immediately I knew it would be something. When we got together in person next, we were listening to the Giorgio Moroder’s score to Scarface which is so great. Somehow I feel like that crept into the overall vibe.