– Hi, thanks for your time. What are you currently up to? How is everything doing right now with ILL NIÑO?
Everything is great. We’re really excited about the new album. The fans are really enjoying the new music and the ill niño army is strong. The Mayhem tour is going beyond amazing. We are honored to be out here doing such a massive American summer tour and we’d love to do it again! There is a real awesome vibe between all the bands and not one band has an ego. Very grateful for all the love the festival audiences have been showing us and for the great friendship amongst the bands.
– You have just released your new album, Till Death, la Familia. A quite explicit title, it seems inspired by the mafia and movies alike. Why such title?
I wouldn’t consider it much of a mafia statement. For us, it is very much about brotherhood and the bond between the fans in the heavy music scene. In many ways it’s a testament to those Niño fans that have stuck by us for so many years. Ironically, it relates very closely to my personal life but it was not intended to be that way. I see it as a fitting title that was meant to be and very representative of the current state of the world. My wife and I just had a baby and I can honestly say there is nothing I wouldn’t do to protect my wife and child. I think most of us in the band feel the same about our families and many of us feel the same about our friends. I know many readers right now feel same about their families as well. However I may connect with the title personally and no matter how much personal element I added to the lyrics of Till Death, La Familia, it is an album about unity, persistence, strength in numbers, and acceptance of sacrifice.
– And what could you comment on the cover artwork? It seems to share a strong link with the album’s title, with a certain «Scarface» vibe to it.
It is a close rendition of Scarface. At the end of the day it’s a very shocking but welcoming image. It does speak directly about the title and to what extent sacrifices may be made to protect ourselves, our friends, and our freedom. It is not a gang that we are inciting or form, it is a very clear statement about the future ahead and how choices made in the present can reflect the outcome of future reality. I know it will mean many different things to different people and I certainly don’t want to ever strip anyone of their personal perspective. I’ll just leave it at that, please feel free to fill in the meaning as your listening experience wishes.
– Till Death, La Familia has already been out for a while, so I would first like to know how is its feedback being.
The feedback has been amazing. We are very flattered and more than grateful. Thank you to all the friends, fans, and press for believing in this message and groove that we carry.
– Expectations in a band of your size and fame may be big so, what are your expectations on is new opus?
I have no expectations. We can only write music that touches us as musicians and while we do think of our fans when writing we don’t do it for formula’s sake, we do it for inspiration. I do know that Till Death, La Familia will speak to many people of all walks of life. I knew that the moment the band guys started sending me music. I hadn’t recorded any vocals and I was already moved by the emotion and character of the songs as instrumentals. It truly wasn’t tough to be inspired by such great tracks and being outside the box also allowed me to have a better vocal perspective on the entire album. I give great credit to the guys in the band and also to Eddie Wohl, our producer, for believing in my ideas, helping me be a better person, and also helping me be a better artist.
– Personally I have always thought your best album ever is Revolution, Revolución, and I believe creating such a superb album as your debut it has both a positive and negative sides. Positive: your stardom is well-deserved and maybe gives a better promotion, but the negative aspect is that even though you don’t low that much your standard, people will always want you to release a second part of that album. What are your thoughts on this?
I think first impressions are ever lasting and there is nothing wrong with that. I appreciate that you feel more connected to the first album the way many new listeners will only feel more connected to Till Death, La Familia. I have no opinion about the phenomena to be honest. I am simply an inspired fan of music trying to write cool songs that have deep meaning and emotion. Everything else I am not in control of, especially trying to make every single person happy, that is just unrealistic. All we can do as a band is evolve, be unique, and be more profound as evolve.
– But Till Death, La Familia is another solid release, I think heavier and more powerful than some of the previous ones, going back to your roots, to the heavy sound of your first releases. Was this how you envisioned the album or did you just go with the flow?
I think we didn’t have a lot of time to really think about it. It is a very modern sounding album for us but we cannot be to blame. We believe in the evolution of music as well as the evolution of the soul and one can argue that. We can’t stay stuck in the past. Beyond that, music is meant to be from the gut, instinctive and pure, this album is just that. Sure it is very catchy and very groove oriented, I guess that’s who we really are. When you strip down any preconceived conclusion, we are a bunch of catchy grooving Latin metal heads.
– Your tribal rhythms and influences from different music styles have always been depicted on all your albums but, how is the songwriting process like in ILL NIÑO?
We have always collaborated together musically but this time around the band guys did all the musical work while I stayed outside the box and focused on vocal patterns, melodies, and lyrics. Ahrue and Laz did put a lot of time into pouring their hearts into the music and I look forward to doing more albums in this fashion. It was a great creative experience for me and for everyone in the band. I am very lucky to be in such a great band and to have many loving fans. We owe all this to the fans.
– And talking about such, what bands have been the most influential ones for your sound? I guess everyone may have their own inspirations and somehow you manage to gather them into your songs.
The Sepultura Roots album certainly opened many doors for a band of culture like ours. Also, bands such as Quicksand, Nacao Zumbi, Santana, Metallica, Bad Brains, and Fear Factory have all influenced Niño every step of the way. Those influences are evident in our music but we never once sounded exactly like any of these great artists. All of them were unique writers and had their own sound. I think that allowed us to appreciate identity and original style in music. We never claimed to invent any new style but no one can take away the fact that we are a genre crossing band and a very unique one at that.
– You have always had some Spanish lyrics in your records so, have you ever thought about doing a whole album in Spanish? I guess you may feel more comfortable singing in English but, what language do you think could fit better your music?
I think this is the natural language. I speak Latin English in my own personal life, why would I do any different in my music? The absolute most original thing in my band lyrically is the bilingual element and the fact that it follows no guideline previously done by any other artist in heavy music. Doing things on a per song, or a per album basis doesn’t interest me. Maybe in the future it will, I can’t predict the future, I can only speak for the present.
– You have done a video for «Live Like there’s no Tomorrow». Where did you film it and how was the experience like? It has a certain «What Comes Around» flavour.
-We filmed «Live Like There’s No Tomorrow» in the California desert which may remind you of «What Comes Around» but this new video is far more different. There isn’t the pretty colors or an over saturated look to it, the «Live Like There’s No Tomorrow» video is very high energy and a lot more obscure than «What Comes Around». It’s also more meaningful in the sense that it is about freedom to do whatever you want to do in life as long as you cherish the present moment and harm no other soul. The «What Comes Around» video had zero meaning, just some people hanging out having a good time. This new video is about letting go of fears and taking life on full throttle.
– All this about Till Death, la Familia; how could you describe it in just 3 words?
Modern Jungle Groove
– You are a really well-known band with a long career so, what could you say have been both the best and worst moments with/for ILL NIÑO thus far?
I don’t like to ponder or recall anything negative in my life anymore though I will say that we have had our share of mistakes and lessons learned. I don’t think any of it was «not meant to be» or else I wouldn’t be here feeling great about the present moment. It is all part of growth and experience of the ride we call life. If you take this ride too seriously you’re gonna forget how to have fun and how to live with unconditional love. There are many negative things to point out in this world, and some song topics speak about those evoked emotions however, I don’t ravel in it. I do believe doing this year’s Mayhem Festival is truly a blessing and I want to thank Victory Records as well as John Reese and the Mayhem staff for allowing us this great experience; we hope to do it again soon!
– And what are some of the things you would still like to achieve with the band?
We have still to play many countries. I would love to do a proper world tour where we play every continent on earth within 2-3 years. We’ve come close but have yet to include South Africa, India, and parts of Asia. Perhaps it’s all a fantasy but I do imagine and dream of doing a world tour the way Gods of metal Iron Maiden and Metallica get to do!
– Finally, what are your near-future plans?
We plan on touring to promote our new album. We certainly have to be a lot smarter about touring since we all have families but within this cycle we will hit Europe, Russia, South and Central America, and do more North American touring. Perhaps somewhere in there we can visit Asia, India, and South Africa. Hit us up and tell us if we missed you.
– That’s all, thank you once more for answering our questions. If you want to add some final words; feel free to do it.
Buy our new album Till Death, La Familia. It costs less than 2 Starbucks coffees and it is worth much more than that! Also check out our website illnino.com, on Facebook and Twitter we are @officialillnino and on Instagram we are @illninoofficial. See you soon and thank you for sticking by us!