Crosses is a band that made waves in the alternative music scene upon their formation in 2011, blending a unique mix of Shoegaze, Industrial, New-Wave influences, and dream pop to create their own distinct sound. With their thoughtful and provocative lyrics, Crosses has ignited the imagination of listeners everywhere. Originally made up of Deftones vocalist Chino Moreno, Far guitarist Shaun Lopez and Chuck Doom, the group has since transitioned into a duo with Chino and Shaun the sole remaining members.
Fresh off the release of their EP Permanent.Radiant (their first release in six years), Chino Moreno, and Shaun Lopez recently sat down with us to discuss their plans for the future. In this exclusive AltWire interview, we explore the creative journey of this incredible duo and find out exactly what they’ve been up to these past few years. We hope you enjoy it, and please let us know your thoughts in the comments!
Derek Oswald / AltWire: Before returning in 2020, crosses had gone without releasing music for a significant period. Given that the first material came out amidst the pandemic, did you two face any challenges from the pandemic in creating this material? And if so, what was the writing recording process like for this release?
Chino Moreno / Crosses: I wouldn’t say there were challenges. In a way, I would say that it maybe was a catalyst for us to get together. Obviously with having time off and it just being us two it was sort of easy I guess, for us. It was kind of the only thing that really, I personally, did creatively during that timeframe.
And then, with it just being Shaun and I getting together, I think we got together here at my studio amid the pandemic and did some writing and recording here and then a bunch of times over at his studio. And I remember it being a little desolate outside the studio, just like around town.
Everything was closed and sort of post-apocalyptic looking out around there. But yeah, we just kind of locked ourselves in the studio and just started being creative.
Derek Oswald / AltWire: Without delving too much into the drama, Crosses is now a duo. Shaun, in a recent interview, you touched upon the creative differences that came up with your former collaborator. Could you talk about the journey to get back to finding your confidence to pick up the pieces and continue the project?
Shaun Lopez / Crosses: It really just came down to just like putting my head down and jumping in and realizing that for me, Crosses was me and Chino, and we could still do this. Once I started putting my head down into the computer, into the synths, into the guitar, and just started making ideas, sending Chino some ideas, and then getting together and making sounds together, it just kind of parlayed in there naturally. There wasn’t really too much of a thought process. One of the first times we got together in Bend, Oregon, I think we started the track “Holier”. It was like, ‘well, that sounds like Crosses to me,’ you know? But it sounds like maybe a bit more futuristic.
Derek Oswald / AltWire: You mentioned since you transitioned into a duo that, you have started bringing in some friends, other musicians, and collaborators for some material that remains unreleased. Um, are you able to share some of those previously unnamed collaborators that you worked with on this material?
Shaun Lopez / Crosses: There’s a track, “Cadaver,” and that one was co-written by John Evans, who, when Crosses played live, was the other guitar player and synth player. And he’s a great friend of ours, and he sent me an idea that was kind of like the starter of that song. That was just exciting to me because that’s something that would’ve never been possible before with the previous trio. I just feel like, for me personally, and I can’t speak for Chino, I’m just kind of open to that.
I think to me, and maybe that’s more the producer side of me, I’m more like, “Hey, whatever gets the job done and whatever makes the best like final product, you know, is, is to me is what I look for.”
Derek Oswald / AltWire: Are there any artists that you both idolize that you would hope to collaborate with one day, you know, in some form or another, perhaps even some of your early influences?
Chino Moreno / Crosses: I mean, definitely. Going on what Shaun was saying, I think we’re super open to collaborating in general. The basis of this project is definitely collaboration. In no way is it like Shaun’s solo project or my solo project. The songs come together when we get together and just go back and forth, both reacting to what one another does. So, adding any other element in that only broadens the spectrum of where we can go musically. All that stuff’s exciting. As Shaun said, it’s anything that sparks inspiration.
I couldn’t even start to name people who have influenced us from back in the day or whatever. I mean, we’re very open to that. Releasing this first EP, I think, was sort of just solidifying us as a duo. I feel like the music that we’re currently working on -which is hopefully a full length that we don’t have a timeline specifically for, but something that we’re currently working on –, is venturing out even further creatively and sonically now that we’ve laid this foundation with us, as being the prime collaborators. So, we’re definitely open to a lot and to see how else we can expand with where we’re at.
Derek Oswald / AltWire: Initiation and protection were excellent introductions to the new era of Crosses, but interestingly enough, neither song features on permanent radiant. Do you feel like you would like to continue releasing other songs in that format where every once in a while, they’re not connected to an ep or is your focus solely on a full length at this time?
Chino Moreno / Crosses: Honestly, I want to say that maybe just last week, we, lightweight, solidified the idea that we are going to do a full-length album. How many songs that consists of, we still haven’t even really decided. We have, I want to say, over 20, you know, closer to 30, pretty strong ideas for songs. Some finished, some closer than others, but it runs a spectrum.
I like the idea of putting things out, especially when things come out unsolicited and sort of unexpected. It’s exciting for me as a fan of music. I like it when I find stuff that is like that. So, I wouldn’t count that out as something that we will do in the future, especially considering that we’re sitting on so much material. But as far as for now, we have decided to focus on a full-length LP, and that’s kind of where we’re at today.
Derek Oswald / AltWire: Speaking of the unreleased material, did Crosses when crafting the new music, return to any unreleased music from the first LP that maybe didn’t see the light of day? Or is all this music completely new, for this era?
Chino Moreno / Crosses: It’s all new.
Derek Oswald / AltWire: Gotcha. Shaun, what were some of your favorite synth gear or VSTs to work with on this record, and what hardware did you all explore for this EP?
Shaun Lopez / Crosses: I feel like we have so much stuff now between the two of us. It’s almost like Chino will just, every time he comes to town, be like, “I just got this synth,” and then he’ll just leave it there, which, you know, I ain’t mad at that. But we have like a MOOG Voyager, Prophet 5, a Pro 2, Juno 106, and a Juno 60 now. And I ain’t afraid of VSTs either, you know like there’s a VST called Diva. And there’s a ton of stuff in the Roland Cloud thing that’s really cool. I could go on and on, but I love it. Even some of the Arturia stuff is really cool, but yeah, I can go on and on.
Derek Oswald / AltWire: Arturia is my favorite as well. Continuing on, as part of this preparation for this interview, I did branch out to both the Deftones and Crosses subreddits on Reddit to get some fan questions, and the fans on both subreddits really enjoyed the covers that you did. Can we expect more covers from both of you in the future?
Chino Moreno / Crosses: I never like to give people expectations. I know that sounds bad. Like that’s not really a great sentence to say, but we definitely love doing them as well. So most likely, yes. But you know, as far as telling people to expect them. I like what I said earlier. I love when things aren’t expected, and they just happen. I think that’s more exciting. So I’ll leave it at that.
[Editors Note – Less than a week after this interview transpired, Crosses dropped a cover of George Michael’s “One More Try” which you can listen to here].
Derek: A few of your fans on Reddit have also pointed out how one of the phrases in Vivien is similar to the phrasing in Britney’s “…Baby One More Time”. Is this a similarity you’ve noticed yourself, was it deliberate, and what are your thoughts on that comparison?
Chino Moreno / Crosses: I think people are really smart. They figured us out. What are we gonna do? [laughs]
Shaun Lopez / Crosses: They’re a bunch of Audio Detectives out there!
Derek Oswald / AltWire: You’ve also mentioned wanting to take crosses out on tour. Do you have any details you can share about when fans can expect to see you guys on the road? And will this be a worldwide tour?
Chino Moreno / Crosses: Oh, we definitely hope to do some traveling. It’s just us figuring out what the incarnation of the live group will be this time. We haven’t really gotten to that point just yet, as we’re in the middle of creative mode. But we’re excited to go play some shows for sure. We’re hoping that roughly sometime in late Spring or early, early Summer, we’ll have that together. I’m ready to go out and say what’s up to anybody who’s curious.
Derek Oswald / AltWire: Perfect. And Chino, given that Crosses came back after a little bit of a hiatus, do you have any plans or even wishes that maybe some of your other projects will follow suit such as Team Sleep Palms, or Saudade?
Chino Moreno / Crosses: I’m not really working on anything else right now. Most of those projects have sort of been dormant for a while now. So, no, I’m pretty focused on what we’re doing right now with Crosses, and it’s taking up most of my creative juice right now. So yeah, that’s where I’m at.
Derek Oswald / AltWire: Is there anything else the two of you would like to add for the fans reading this?
Chino Moreno / Crosses: Just obviously, thank you for your support. With a project like this, for us to go away as long as we did, and then to come back, I don’t think it’s something that we ever expect, that we just have this built-in following that’s just gonna like everything we do. So, we definitely do appreciate people taking the time to listen, and we thank them for their interest and their support.
Shaun Lopez / Crosses: I appreciate it. I appreciate those people talking and figuring out things, and I appreciate it. I like it. I like them.