Interview by David Pearce
Distinguished hard rock mainstays ILL NIÑO took time out of their busy schedule to talk to us about their new album, new video and the Monster Jam Fest; here is what they had to say.
Hello, I’m David Pearce, Welcome To Metal Shock Finland!
Which bands would you say inspired or influenced you?
I would say culture has inspired Ill Niño initially. Many great metal and non metal bands have also inspired us to create music. I know some of us love old British metal: Maiden, Priest, Sabbath; But also many cultural bands such as Santana, Sepultura, Puya, & Nacao Zumbi. Apart from that, we are hardcore kids at heart having deeply embedded roots with bands like Sick of it All, Cro-Mags, Agnostic Front, Leeway, and even the Misfits. And that’s not to say we aren’t in touch with our more mysterious side. We are also highly influenced by bands like Massive Attack, Sade, The Police, Queen, Ministry, Portishead, Quicksand, and even Depeche Mode.
What has been your most memorable show or moment?
There are way too many amazing experiences to pick just one. I would have to say that the 1st time is always very impressionable. 1st time we played Tokyo, Japan was amazing. Beijing, China was incredible. 1st time in Moscow, Russia blew my mind. 1st time in Sao Paolo, Brazil was unbelievable. Every time we play Texas, NJ, NY, Cali, just way too much love for all these places! Can’t ever forget the amazing love & times we have in Holland. And, the kicker would be the Soundwave Festival in Australia 2 years ago. That was just as life changing.
I see that you played at the Monster Jam Fest how did that go?
The show went great. It was amazing to watch Dio Disciples. They sounded great, really impressive. They played all the classics but furthermore, they appeared with Ripper Owens. I got to hang with him for a little bit. Really awesome dude he is. Seeing our great friends in Hell Yeah was also amazing. We look forward to playing more shows with those guys in the near future.
What kind of set did you guys play there?
Our set consisted of a lot of old songs from our first 2 albums. “God Save Us”, “If You Still Hate Me”, “Te Amo/I Hate You”, “How Can I Live” as well as songs from “One Nation Underground” such as “This is War”. The 2 songs from our album that we are playing are “The Depression” & “La Epidemia”. We are trying to focus on the songs that define who we are as a band. It gets complicated after having 6 full lengths. Picking songs can be a bit tricky but, seriously, I am not trying to complain, I love bringing music to our fans live.
If there was any festival in the world that you could play at, which one and where would it be?
I’ve been hopeful to play Dubai one day. Being a well-travelled musician, I guess I am starting to run out of places to visit. Dubai & South Africa are still on my list of places I would love to visit. I’ve been very lucky to have travelled the world and I feel blessed. This is the soundtrack to my life & I want to bring our music to the darkest corners of the world.
Your Video “La Epidemia” has had over a 60,000 views on you tube did you think it would go down so well with the fans?
Our fans are the ones we have to thank for such an amazing response. They have really taken to this album as if it was our first. Many say our band was dormant until “Epidemia” was released but, we’ve just been in a small creative hole. I truly believe we have dug ourselves out & I look forward to a very successful future. We are bringing Latin Metal and re-defining the meaning of Culture Metal as we speak, I am very hopeful that our next album will continue to drive that nail through the over saturated coffin of the music industry.
You have a new album out can you tell me about it?
Our album is called “Epidemia” and it is a prolific record for ILL NIÑO. It encompasses who the band is without any social infiltration. It’s a stand out modern metal record or, as I like to call it, a modern Culture Metal record. If you don’t have it, you are fucking up. There are 10 very distorted lullabies on this album which I guess we can call songs but they are more a state of mind rather than just a sound. In a time where music needs more depth & clarity, “Epidemia” is absolutely a stand out. Please pick up a legal copy.
Technically how does this album differ to your last album?
It has a lot more profound content. It is relentless & will not let up until you are forced to hear the message. I truly believe that it took us several years to re-program ourselves into what we were when we started ILL NIÑO in 1998. After having worked with so many different record producers, a lot of our own personality was diminished by constructs of what we should be or, what our label wanted us to be. We are very lucky to have survived this era in our band. Many times, bands break up when they find themselves on different sides of the room. We actually fought each other until it brought us closer and helped us realize that we need to be producing & recording our own records. I will not minimize the growth that producers may have brought to the band with those experiences but, it was not one that was positive at that point in time. Within the last 2 albums, we’ve become brothers again, musical partners, & fans of our original style of Metal can hear that in “Epidemia”.
What can you tell us about the lyrics to the album and what influenced them?
There is certainly a lot of suffering behind the lyrics of this album. There’s an entire concept that sits underneath every character on “Epidemia”. However, I truly feel that any involvement in altering a listener’s personal view of the meaning would be selfish. I will say that the word “Epidemia” was a simple nickname that I gave the psychotic side of the mind which pulls us closer to death & our own morbid delusions. The titles are very definitive to the songs themselves and it many ways the lyrics are one with the feeling behind the artwork. I am optimistic & there is a bright side but, it is not apparent. I am not interested in being an artist that is shallow and blatant. All great art has a deeper meaning but, what is it? Each should hold their own conclusions. To blatantly write without the motion of feelings is to miss the point completely. And the artwork presents that as well. Gisella Rose did a body suspension for nearly 3 hours. Being a witness to her devotion for the art form in itself was influential. I am optimistic to this new way of looking at life & personally, I’d rather disconnect myself from all politics, sports, war and live life creatively driven into the darker topics of the psychology.
The album has been out for about Three weeks now how has the response been for it?
The response has been amazing. Our fans have taken to the album as if it was our first and, it is an album entirely for them. We need to justify their need for Latin Metal and their demand for original modern music. They are the reason we still thrive and I promise to make every release stronger than the last from here on out. The reviews have also been incredible. We wanted to focus on a real feeling rather than a musical piece and after all, music is what feelings sound like. “Epidemia” is a devotion to that. Obviously, any art form will always have people who appreciate it and people who don’t. The few that can’t appreciate what we do, well, I guess this album isn’t for you. To the rest, thank you!
What is your track of the moment, the song you have to keep on playing?
I can’t really pick 1 favourite but, I do like the heavier tracks the most: “Eva”, “Demi-God”, “Invisible People”, “La Epidemia”, “Only The Unloved”, etc.
Have you any plans of a tour or work for a new album in the pipeline for the future?
I am already looking forward to our next album. The reception for this one has been so great that am eager to bring on the next step up. As for a tour, we will be doing an entire Epidemia World Tour: U.S.A., Europe, Scandinavia, South America, Asia, Australia and, hopefully more.
Thanks for the interview! Are there any last words that you like pass on to our readers and your fans?
I would like to thank our fans for placing their belief unto us and for sticking by us through 12 years of amazing change. We promise to deliver Culture Metal on the next level, Latin Metal on steroids. This album “Epidemia” is for you. Spread the word because you are our army. Que viva el Latin metal!!!!
To read the Epidemia review click HERE