Willow Smith Says Deftones’ Chino Moreno Is “Huge Influence” on Singing

Willow Smith via Getty Images/PATRICK T. FALLON, Chino Moreno via Ralph Arvesen, Flickr
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Have you heard Willow Smith’s new album ?

If you haven’t given it a shot, it may surprise you in its variety. Smith is going full in on merging a lot of different rock influences into one thing. After listening, it’s not totally surprising to find out one of her biggest influences on the record was Deftones.

In a new interview with Guitar World, Smith dives into the album and her guitar playing. She was also asked about the recent cover she did of Deftones’ hit “My Own Summer” saying:

“It’s such a clever riff, it’s genius. And I agree 100% about the Spanish thing. I love that chromatic kind of feel. When I’m writing, I try to use some of those chromatic intervals for the dissonance it creates. I’m all about dissonance – that’s my thing!”

Beyond just the riff, she gives props to Deftones singer Chino Moreno for influencing her style of singing, as well as shouting out NOLA sludge greats Crowbar.

“I feel like Deftones do a really good job of mixing dissonance with ethereal beauty and harmony. That’s where it’s at for me. Chino [Moreno] is a big influence on me vocally: he’s the best. I also really love Crowbar. ‘Lifesblood For The Downtrodden’ is one of my favorite metal albums ever.”

Smith also dives into her perspective on rock music as it relates to her album:

“I feel that rock is such an expansive genre. People focus on pop-punk a lot. We all love pop-punk, it’s beautiful and amazing. But let’s not forget the metal, thrash and classic rock. There are all these different forms that rock takes and all these different feelings it can express. This album is a love letter to all the flavors rock can have, from Smashing Pumpkins to Lamb of God.”

Aside from the bigger artists in the rock and metal world, she also gives insight to her new friendship with Covet guitarist/songwriter Yvette Young, who hooked her up with one of her signature guitars:

“Yvette has this beautiful way of creating sparkly, ethereal sounds and I feel like her guitar is perfect for doing that. It gives the player this angelic kind of tone, and then there’s the color it comes in. Also, I just love Yvette. She is one of the best guitarists of this generation, if I’m being completely honest.

“It was such an honor to receive this guitar from her. Her two-handed techniques are insane. When I first met her, she tried teaching me how to do a little bit of that tapping. Obviously, I’m not as talented at that as she is, but it stuck a little bit. There are a few riffs I’ve written since which have a good amount of tapping. I’m so grateful for the times we’ve spent together and the things she’s taught me.”

It’s awesome to see Smith give props to one of heavy metal’s venerable greats, and to hear the wide-range of influences she took for her own record.

Read the full interview over on Guitar World. Check out her “My Own Summer” cover below.


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