Q&A: Nu-metal vets form Palms
Deftones lead singer Chino Moreno joins the remaining members of Isis to form the latest nu-metal supergroup, Palms.
The future looked uncertain for three of the five original Isis members after their breakup in 2010. Since that time, Clifford Meyer (guitar/keyboards) Aaron Harris (drums) and Jeff Caxide (bass) have been busy working on their new project. The only component missing was a lead singer, and that’s where Moreno came in. Palms’ self-titled album was released over the summer and has been rising in popularity with music critics, along with fans of both bands.
The group is venturing out on the road to tour this newly praised effort, stopping through Albuquerque on Sept. 24 to play at the Launchpad.
The Daily Lobo asked Meyer about the band’s songwriting style, the importance of side projects, and his closet musical influences.
DL: Explain the songwriting process for Palms; is it jam-centered or is it a more structured process?
Meyer: “I guess some of both, I mean Jeff, I and Aaron have been playing together for so long now that we kind of have not a real written way to do it but we definitely have our way. We usually just bring in some ideas… I don’t know if jam is the right word, but work out the ideas and bring them into form. We probably did a little more jamming with the Isis stuff and that’s how we would get together. Chino actually had some suggestions and we were able to do some new songs and we were actually able to flush the new songs out with him involved so that’s going to be a good thing. We are going to try to play a couple of the new ones on these shows coming up, which is probably something that we’ve never done before… looking forward to it.”
DL: Are these songs fans can look forward to hearing on a future Palms record?
Meyer: “Yeah, we are not certain what the format’s going to be, but we got some stuff that we’ve been working on over the past year, in the studio and in rehearsal. So hopefully we can have some stuff out relatively soon.”
DL: What is the importance of having side projects for high-profile bands? What does this outlet do for you guys?
Meyers: “Well, it keeps us busy. Anyway, for the three of us this is our main side project. I think for Chino, he’s obviously in the door in lots of different musical stuff, so I’m sure it keeps his mind working on doing all the musical projects. For me, personally, the stuff I do by myself is definitely more electronic-based and more self-indulgent than playing with the other people. It’s definitely a way to release a different kind of energy and play a different kind of music.”
DL: How did Chino Moreno come to be involved with this project?
Meyer: “Aaron had kind of gotten to know those guys through one way or another… I think he was doing some teching for those guys. I don’t remember if it was after or before he met Chino. Just mainly through different circles, especially around L.A., when you get into those circles it’s not that big you just start to know people. The Deftones guys are in town a lot so, he (Aaron Harris) started hanging out with Chino, and we would all hang out with them from time to time, you know get beers with them. So it just kind of worked out… I think Aaron gave him (Moreno) a demo of some stuff and asked him to listen to it and he dug it and we just went from there.”
DL: The Palms album has a thick atmosphere on it. What is your draw to this particular sound?
Meyer: “Between the three of us, that’s what we’ve been doing one way or another between all our various bands and projects. That’s just the kind of music we make. I don’t know what draws us to that in the first place, but I think just a variety of all our different influences growing up and music that we still like to listen to. I guess we could’ve gone in a more rock direction or something, buts that’s just not really what we enjoy doing. We just enjoy doing something a little bit different and more atmospheric and the results are pretty good or a least we think their alright. We take pride in doing that kind of stuff for sure, so hopefully that shows.”
DL: What are two of your closet musical influences that you don’t mention around other musicians?
Meyer: “The main one is the Grateful Dead. I’m a big Grateful Dead, fan and I certainly understand why people wouldn’t like the Grateful Dead and that’s fine, so that would be one. I like George Michael. I think George Michael is pretty good. That would probably be considered in that category. Yeah (laughs), I like that stuff and it’s funny because most of that stuff I really and totally abhor and can’t stand, but for some reason I think he does alright. I actually like a lot of that 80s production I think that stuff sounds cool. In the very end of the 80s when people still actually used tape and you still had to perform the song differently… I mean he could definitely sing. There’s no doubt about that.”