Music » Music Stories & Interviews

New Jersey’s Ill Niño roars in on a metal wind



Latin metal masters Ill Niño blast through San Antonio with “Restore The Insanity,” a U.S. headlining jaunt that ends their two-year absence from the American touring landscape. The New Jersey six-piece is hitting the road in support of their fifth full-length, Dead New World, released via their new label, Victory Records, in October 2010. Ill Niño exploded onto the scene with their major-label debut Revolution Revolución in 2001, introducing the world to their unique sound — crunchy heavy metal infused with Latin rhythms, bilingual lyrics, and alternating harsh and melodic vocals. Thanks to a mighty following (they’ve sold over a million records globally), the band is still around a decade later. The Current caught up with drummer and band founder Dave Chavarri on the front-end of the tour.

“We’re psyched to get back out, and to be on the roster of a great label,” said Chavarri. Though Ill Niño’s breakout debut propelled them through 2003’s Confession — their most mainstream and commercially successful album to date — the band has hit their share of rocky terrain. Ill Niño parted ways with parent company Roadrunner Records in 2006, flirting with indie-label Cement Shoes for 2008’s lackluster Enigma before inking the deal with Victory early in 2010. Finding their way to Victory was a process that kept the group from gigging or recording for six months. But the effort appears to have paid off.

“Things are going great with Victory, and they haven’t pressured us to alter the sound of the band,” said Chavarri. “With the new record, we wanted to go back to a more aggressive sound, capturing the energy and the attitude of our debut.” Dead New World is primarily self-produced and self-engineered. Four of the band members acted as producers and solicited a little help from their friends — including Sevendust guitarist Clint Lowery, who joined them in the studio as a co-producer. Chavarri said fans should expect to hear three or four songs off the new record at upcoming shows.

The group just did a one-off in Beijing, China, and made a memorable appearance before 120,000 raging metalheads at last summer’s Wacken Open Air festival in Germany. Chavarri rattled off a long list of tour dates extending through the greater part of 2011, including various stops in Europe and South America. A definite highlight will be a slot playing with the likes of Iron Maiden, Slayer, Queens of the Stone Age, and Rob Zombie on Australia’s 69-band, five-stop Soundwave Festival that begins in late February and bleeds into March. “It’s the sickest lineup ever!” exclaimed Chavarri. “The crazy thing that people don’t know about Soundwave is that the promoter puts all the bands on the planes together — it’s insanity.”

Ill Niño is quick to credit their rabid fanbase for the band’s staying power. Chavarri says if it weren’t for the fans, Ill Niño would have disbanded long ago — adding that the group relishes being known as a band that sends out a positive message to fans despite their angry, aggressive style of music. “The biggest trip of being in this band, for me, is playing a show in a place like Germany and having German kids sing Spanish lyrics,” said Chavarri. “It’s kind of funny, but it’s cool too. We’re breaking down ethnic barriers, and it’s an amazing feeling.”

Ill Niño w. Anew Revolution, Ekotren, and Fashion Bomb

$13.50 presale, $18 day of show

Tue, Feb. 1, 9pm

Backstage Live

1305 E. Houston

(210) 224-2747

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