Chino Moreno + Shaun Lopez = Crosses

Two Sacto buddies of Far and Deftones fame form a cool new side project

Chino Moreno (left) and Shaun Lopez, two former Sacto dudes, now Los Angeles buds with a budding side project.

Chino Moreno (left) and Shaun Lopez, two former Sacto dudes, now Los Angeles buds with a budding side project.

Crosses plays Friday, February 3, with Dawn Golden, Rosy Cross and Secret Empire at Ace of Spades, 1409 R Street; 7 p.m.; $20. Download Crosses’ second EP, EP †† at

It’s a great little success story on the side: Shaun Lopez has a studio in Burbank. Chino Moreno of Deftones is his neighbor. The duo get together, put out six songs for free on the Internet under the moniker Crosses, and the music—minimal and industrial, but with pop and experimental flourishes—blows up online. “You can’t ask for more than that,” Lopez told SN&R on a conference call with Moreno last week. The band plays its hometown this week, and has a second EP now on its website. Here’s what’s up:

When you guys come back to Sac, is there anywhere you just have to go to?

Chino Moreno: Well, you know we have to go to Jimboy’s [Tacos].

Shaun Lopez: Yeah, Jimboy’s.

Moreno: That’s definitely the spot, 29th Street. But there are tons of places I miss in Sacto. But recently, I’ve noticed that Sacramento has become more and more of a foodie place. … When I come back to Sac these days, it’s time to grub it up.

I think the local music scene would like to grow like our food scene.

Lopez: When I lived there, five or six years ago, even then I didn’t know what was going on. But I did notice—and people say the same thing—a lack of all-ages venues.

Moreno: We were lucky to come up in a time—when Deftones and Far were playing—when there were a lot of touring and regional bands coming through and playing these small clubs, which we were able to witness as kids and be influenced by.

Did you like the music scene here as a kid, or did you shit talk it?

Moreno: I always thought Sacto had a great music scene, and my favorite part about it was that it wasn’t a scene where there was just one type of band. There was a big melting pot of different types of music, and it was good in all genres.

It feels like the best scenes grow out of illegal venues.

Moreno: When I was in high school, we’d play a bunch of, like, warehouse parties. I think we might have played some shows with Far together back in the day. Keggers or whatever in warehouses, and barbecues and stuff like that. That’s how we started out.

Our first Deftones show was playing in someone’s backyard with barbecue. And those things are always fun. They may get broken up, or whatever—even before we got to play. Or we’d play one song and [neighbors would] call the cops. But I guess that was kind of the fun. It was a youthful time.

You guys are neighbors in Los Angeles, right?

Moreno: Actually, when I first moved in out here, literally our backyards met up. Now I live about 10 blocks away.

You guys put out both of Crosses’ releases as EPs, with five or six songs on each. Is the full-length album straight-up dead or what?

Lopez: I wouldn’t say dead. There are albums that still come out that can still hold my attention.

Moreno: Especially in the last four years, everything has been a lot more singles-driven. … A lot of albums are kind of filler. It’s rare that you find records now that all the way through are just great. But I still try to do that.

But the model has totally changed since you were 20 and playing in Sacto. Now, a band like Sacto’s Death Grips can just do whatever and, maybe, move thousands of downloads or even play Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

Lopez: It’s great to see stuff like that with Death Grips, and, honestly, the way this has gone, I never would have expected that it would have played out this well.

Oh yeah, why not?

Lopez: It was really exciting, but also somewhat scary to release the first EP for free. Something that we had spent time on and money on, and just to give it away for free was, “Are you sure you want to do this?”