The Depeche Mode album that was pivotal for Chino Moreno: “Paved the way”

Meta Description: Discover how Depeche Mode’s “Violator” influenced Chino Moreno and Deftones’ music. Explore the eclectic mix that shaped their iconic sound.

How Depeche Mode’s Violator Influenced Chino Moreno and Deftones

Chino Moreno never claimed to be a snob for heavy music only. Listening through any of Deftones’ greatest albums, you’ll hear traces of everything from new wave to hip-hop to heavy metal to post-rock somewhere in the mix. Half the reason why the band works is because of how eclectic their tunes can be, and Moreno thought that the initial spark of his creativity came from hearing Depeche Mode’s Violator.

The Eclectic Influence of Violator on Deftones

When looking at the very beginnings of Deftones, they seem like the furthest thing from the sounds of pitch-black pop. Sure, their songs were still heavy, but an album like Adrenaline feels like the heavy metal version of Pablo Honey by Radiohead. Both are solid releases but nowhere near indicative of what the respective bands are capable of.

Then again, Depeche Mode had that same shaky start as well. For a group that was all about making something dark in their later years, hearing that same band make songs like ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’ sounds like a completely different outfit in retrospect. Once they discovered that following in the footsteps of Devo wasn’t the best idea, hearing them get darker made for the best albums of the 1980s.

Violator: A Beacon in the 1990 Music Landscape

While 1990 stands as a virtual wasteland for good music, Violator is one of the few exceptions. A few years shy of grunge’s arrival to take over the world, these tracks primed the pipes for something darker on the horizon, like hearing the demented twang of ‘Personal Jesus’ or the uncomfortable atmosphere of ‘Waiting for the Night’.

For Moreno, hearing pop music get this dark helped open his eyes to something much bigger. He said, “I went to see Depeche Mode after they released the Violator album. I was 14 years old, and Dave Gahan was bigger than life to me. And the music on that album was amazing. I’m a big fan of 1980s music in general, but that album was pretty cool and paved the way for the first gig I went to.”

Depeche Mode’s Dark Influence on Deftones’ Sound

And even though most of Deftones’ music is meant to be a collaborative affair between every band member, Moreno’s contributions usually have that same kind of stirring mood that Violator has. Songs like ‘Digital Bath’ or ‘Change (In the House of Flies)’ blend both the melodic and spooky sides of their sound and yet the guitars still remain effortlessly pretty on later songs like ‘Sextape’.

It’s not like Moreno was the only one taken with Depeche Mode’s brand of melancholy. Chester Bennington of Linkin Park always praised them throughout his lifetime and even spooky icons Ghost paid their respects when cutting a version of ‘Waiting for the Night’ on one of their EPs.

The Enduring Legacy of Violator

Although Depeche Mode still fit the mould for what a pop band should sound like, their choice to lean into their dark side has been paving the way for edgier music in the mainstream. The charts might just be about finding the best hook that you can, but sometimes it makes sense to put something a little bit demented on the hit parade as well.

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