Deftones' debut, Adrenaline, introduced a powerful, if still raw and unfocused, new force in heavy music. Around the Fur marked the first evolutionary step toward the transcendent sound and vision we know and love today. But White Pony was the major leap, a dive off the deep end into a sensual world without sonic limits. The Sacramento-bred trailblazers' signature alt-metal grooves were wedded with ambient electronics, synth-pop, experimental rock and trip-hop. Tool's Maynard James Keenan guested (on the immortal "Passenger"). "Elite" won a Grammy. And a generation of fans were inspired to make their own genre-defying music — including Sean Radcliffe, drummer of U.K. experimental metal group Loathe. We talked to him about his connection to White Pony and its enduring impact on him.
WHEN WAS THE FIRST TIME YOU HEARD WHITE PONY?
During childhood, from ages 6 to 13, my dad and I would spend every weekend traveling to Delamere forest, Moel Famau or somewhere similar to ride the downhill tracks with a group of riders. For many, many years, Deftones' albums were almost always the soundtrack to the long drives to and from the tracks — from Adrenaline through to Saturday Night Wrist — and though at the time, "albums" never really occurred to me, I know now that White Pony was always my favorite.
WHAT DOES THE ALBUM MEAN TO YOU?
It holds a special nostalgic place in my heart. It was almost all I heard growing up. Deftones, in general, were played a lot in the car, so whenever I listen to them, I'm instantly transported back to those days.
WHITE PONY WAS RELEASED IN A VARIETY OF PHYSICAL EDITIONS. WHICH, IF ANY, DID YOU OR DO YOU OWN?
The album was my dad's — we had the gray one. I'm not sure what the significance is of the different colored covers.
HOW, IF AT ALL, DID WHITE PONY INFLUENCE YOUR OWN CREATIVE DEVELOPMENT, OR THE WAY YOU THOUGHT ABOUT WRITING MUSIC?
It's definitely massively influenced my writing, mostly in my guitar playing, as I'm not very technically gifted with a guitar, but Deftones aren't necessarily flashy — they just convey lots of really strong emotion, melodically.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WHITE PONY TRACK?
"Knife Prty," the bridge section, it's horrible, in the best way. Nothing gives me more chills than that section — it's like "The Great Gig in the Sky" by Pink Floyd, but terrifying.
IS WHITE PONY SOMETHING YOU REGULARLY GO BACK AND LISTEN TO? OR DOES IT REPRESENT A CERTAIN PERIOD OF TIME IN YOUR HISTORY?
I still do occasionally listen to my favorites from the album, but it's hard — it was played for such a long part of my life, it carries a lot of bad and good feelings with it, so it depends a lot on how I'm feeling.