Interview: Ill Nino – Lazaro Pino

Ill Nino formed in 1999 and has since sold 800,000+ albums over the course of four releases; 2001’s ‘Revolution…’, 2003’s ‘Confession’, 2005’s ‘One Nation Underground’, and 2008’s ‘Enigma’. 2010 marked the release of the Latin metal bands fifth studio album titled ‘Dead New World’ and their first on Victory Records.

Having toured the world in support of their last four releases, the band have established themselves as a force and one of the top forces in their genre, if not the top. With the release of their incredible new album ‘Dead New World’, I had the chance to submit some questions via email to the band which bassist Lazaro Pino took time to reply to.

Ill Nino Band Photo

Having been able to give the album a listen through, it does come across as an album that you would expect from Ill Niño in terms of your sound but it does seem to have a little more intensity, and it feels fresher compared to previous releases which helps really make this album stand out as of one of the best you have ever recorded. When you went into the process of writing this album was there an idea of where you wanted to go with the sound or did it naturally develop during the pre-production stage?

Let me begin with a big thank you for the amazing words about the new record. All of our past records have been approached with fresh ideas in mind and they’re all individually very dear to us. This band has always pride itself on sticking to our own guns and being true to our music. An album to album progression has always been the aim. But sometimes timing is everything and the planets seem to align perfectly in your favour. With ‘Dead New World’ I’m thrilled to say this one seems to be the case. I think what inspired the concept of the record was the talk in America of a wall being built in Arizona to keep Mexicans out. Truth is this album was carefully thought out and crafted. We decided on a topic that was very close to us, one that triggers emotions of pain and anger. Let’s write about the struggles through the eyes of an immigrant in a new industrialize world. Immigrants are often depicted as alien intruders and hardly as strong people who have committed big sacrifices, leaving families behind, all in a quest for a better opportunity in life. Unfortunately, this quest is more often than not, a path of pain and suffering.

In terms of writing and recording, was there anything done different this time to how previous albums were created?

Well, to start this is our very first self-produced album. So, we had complete control from start to finish. After getting together for almost two months for pre-production, we all went back home to record at our own studios. Cris and I recorded at SoundWars in Hoboken, NJ, Dave recorded all drums at Collective Artists Studios in Austin, Texas, Ahrue and Diego recorded at Illustrious studio in Denver, Colorado, and Danny did his percussion parts at Bound By Iron in Newark, NJ.

You worked with Eddie Wohl on the previous two releases. What was the decision to take control of the album this time and do you believe it benefited the album?

Well, throughout the years we’ve had the pleasure of working and learning from some of the industry’s best. Producers like Eddie Wohl, Andy Johns, Ron Saint Germain, and Bob Marlette, all have played strong roles in shaping the sound of our albums, as well as our drummer Dave Chavarri who has co-produced every Ill Nino release since our debut ‘Revolution…Revolucion’. Although, in the last several years most of us have become producers ourselves. Cristian and I have a production team called SoundWars, Ahrue has Illustrious Productions, and Dave has been producing bands way longer than all of us, and has a company called DC Productions. So, it only felt right to take on the responsibility to produce the record between us four. Initially I don’t think it even crossed our minds on how this would benefit the album we just felt the time had arrived for us to have complete control. The final outcome will ride on our hands. However, we can’t take all the credit, as it turned out Eddie Wohl had his hands on this one as well, mixing the whole record. Also, Clint Lowery (Sevendust) and Sahaj (RA) had co-production contribution on three songs.

Ill Nino Dead New World ArtworkThe album title, ‘Dead New World’, sets a mood before you even press play, especially when you are viewing the artwork for the album. What is the meaning behind the album title? And what was the inspiration behind the artwork for the album?

You know it’s weird how we’re all effected by album artwork and colors before hitting the play button. It really sets a mood. For ‘Dead New World’ we chose the images of three shrunken heads. It’s a powerful image of human heads which ones served as trophies. Kind of like when hunters put dead wild life on their walls in celebration of a kill. ‘Dead New World’ is a metaphorical description of this new land.

‘Against The Wall’ is the first single from the album which you have already filmed a video for. What was it about ‘Against The Wall’ that made you choose it for the first single? Would you be able to tell us the meaning behind the song?

Victory chose it for the first single. That’s usually how it always goes, it’s up to the record company to decide. Besides, we’d probably pick the heaviest song. ‘Against The Wall’ to me is about taking a stand to fight, never allowing defeat as an option and rising above.

‘Dead New World’ marks the band’s first release on Victory Records and in recent years the band has went from Roadrunner to Cement Shoes and now on Victory. What was it about Victory Records that made you sign with them?

The history behind Victory Records is pretty remarkable. Consistently throughout the years so many great bands have been a part of this label, it’s cool to be in the company. Victory is the latest chapter to our careers.

Touring is always a major part of the bands life so how do you keep yourself motivated on the road when you’re away from family?

Constant connection with home is very important to us. With the evolutionary rise of technology it’s become easier to tour around the world and still to be able to reach out to family and friends via mobile phones, texts, Wi-Fi, live internet chats, etc. When it’s all set and done we also have each other, we’ve become a stronger family on the road.

With a U.S. and European tour in the works and Australia already booked for next year, are there more touring plans or locations that you plan to visit in 2011? Is there anywhere that you have yet to perform but you would like to?

It’s always very exciting to play countries for the first time, it doesn’t matter which country it is, if fans live there we want to play it.

With five albums now under the band, how easy or hard is it for you to create a set list to take on tour knowing that fans may want to hear something from the first album or more new material to the older material? Do you try stick to the greatest hits with new material or do you prefer to play some fan favourites but also personal favourites to the band?

Always try to choose the fan favourites but it’s tough when we you have to replace an old song for a new one. After playing a certain song for several years, you get attached, its heart breaking to let it go. Set lists are also sometimes determined by who we’re playing or touring with. The more brutal bands get the brutal hits, the less brutal bands get the greatest hits and the brutal hits. HA!

For the fans who have supported the band over the years and continue to show their support, do you have any words for them?

To all our fans throughout the globe, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you so much, you keep us alive.


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Michael is the owner and creator of EspyRock. He is your general all round geek; sports fan; TV show fanatic. You can find him sharing his thoughts on his personal Twitter account. Contact Michael on Twitter or via Email.

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