Ill Nino Interview

Band Name: Ill Nino
Interviewed: Laz Pina
Date: 2006-04-21
Previous Ill Nino Interviews

The Gauntlet: How you feeling?

Laz: It sucks, I think I'm getting sick.

The Gauntlet: That's not good. Being sick on tour is the worst.

Laz: Yeah, it's fucking miserable. It's bad being sick at home, just imagine being stuck in a bus or van. You can't take the day off. We play sick or well. I threw my back out in Europe recently. It was a stupid fucking competition on who could do the most sit-ups. I wanted out of the competition so I had to prove I could do them, but I threw my back out doing it. I suffered the rest of the week.

The Gauntlet: How many sit-ups were you able to do before throwing your back out?

Laz: I did 20.

The Gauntlet: That's not many.

Laz: No, it's not good, but I did it cold. I said if I can do 20, I want out of the competition. I did it then got to enjoy the rest of the competition as a spectator. The next day my back was killing me.

The Gauntlet: That's the problem being on the road. It's all the stupid little shit that bands do to pass the boredom. The whole, 'I'll give you $10 if you drink this bottle of salad dressing' games.

Laz: For $100 I drank a bottle of Tabasco sauce. That was horrible. I used to love it and throw it on all my food. I used to be able to handle it, but those days are long gone.

The Gauntlet: Ill Nino just got back from tours in Europe and Australia.

Laz: We were in Europe headlining in thirteen different countries. Then we did the co-headlining tour with Static-x. The European tour was our most successful out there. We had a great time. It was nice to feel the love and the respect from the fans. It's nice to know it's still out there after all these years. In this business it's a difficult thing to just make it passed your first record. It's really a great accomplishment. With our first record, we wanted to go all out as it might have been our last. We will be doing music regardless of if we can do it on an International level, but it is still good to be doing it and survining off of it. We have been very fortunate to be able to play all over the world like Asia, South America, Mexico, Canada, etc. We plan on playing in more countries as we go along. We plan on playing in Turkey and Russia sometime in the future. Right now our main focus is our American tour. We are headlining so our fans can come out and expect a longer set and hear music from all of our records. I love touring the states. It's a little more comfortable for us. We have communication with back home, overseas we don't always have that. I am looking forward to being on this US tour.

The Gauntlet: Ill Nino's upcoming "One Nation Undivided" tour was handpicked by you guys.

Laz: Yeah, we got God Forbid. They are touring nonstop. We don't stop touring either. Although this is our first headlining tour for this new record, we have already done two American tours. One was with Disturbed, right before the record came out. And then we hit the Static-x tour acrossed the country. It is always nice to be able to play more songs. You are always prone to getting more of your hardcore fans than when you are the support band. It is nice to have God Forbid. They are also a New Jersey based band. It is nice to go out with bros from the area which is one of the reasons we wanted them on the tour. We wanted to mix it up with a variety of bands. Heavy bands representing a different style. A lot of times you go to a metal show it can sound pretty much alike. So we wanted to have variety like a European festival show which puts all forms of heavy music on the bill. We wanted to have that feel. Something for everyone to enjoy.

The Gauntlet: Eyes of Fire, Bleed the Sky and Silent Civilian are all Southern California bands. What was it about them that got them on this tour?

Laz: Dave was pretty much behind wanting to pick these bands. We all went and listened to these bands to make sure they were appropriate. I thought they were some pretty exciting new bands and I have been hearing great things about their performances. It is nice to have those types of bands on tour. You want the tour to not just be about the headlining band. I think that these bands have some form of interest for people to want to check out. It is going to be a good tour.

The Gauntlet: Silent Civilian won't have their CD out til May 2, are they being brought along mainly for the buzz they have been generating?

Laz: They have good music online. And we are good friends with Jonny. We had done some tours with Spineshank and developed a friendship with him. He has a great band right now. From the music I have heard, I like it. I think our fans will enjoy it. Jonny has been around and is fun to tour with. Silent Civilian is buzzing from the music they have online and the kids are feeling it. Hopefully this will open up some bigger shows for them in the future and get them a successful record. I know it's a new band, but it will be fun to go out with them.

The Gauntlet: Will more dates be added to the tour?

Laz: yeah, hopefully by the end of today or early next week the rest of the dates will be up. They are just finalizing some of these shows. Originally we were going to go out earlier, but we couldn't get the bands we wanted. So we moved some of the dates around. The west coast dates will be up soon along with the Midwest ones.

The Gauntlet: Will the second leg of the tour have a different lineup?

Laz: No, it is going to be the same lineup for the entire tour.

The Gauntlet: I understand Jagermeister jumped on the tour after you guys put it together?

Laz: They have always been a supporter of the band. They came aboard and it's nice to have them aboard. We have been a Jager band since the beginning. It doesn't hurt top get the word out there. Our main concern is getting the word out that we are on tour and that all these bands are with us. To have Jager with us is always nice to send that extra message. They really get behind the bands with posters and advertisers. They have always been supporters of heavy music and always nice to have them help out.

The Gauntlet: What are the bands plans after the tour?

Laz: We have two days off and then we go to Europe to play some festivals. We will spend two and a half weeks out there. We then plan on coming home to take a couple months off. Ahrue, the guitar player, is expecting a little girl so we want to give him some time to be home for the birth of his child. Then we plan on doing a tour in Asia, we will hit Korea, Japan, and then go over to South America.

The Gauntlet: So no two years between Europe stops? I think you are going to spoil the Euro fans.

Laz: [laughs] Yeah, the fans are so loyal. They always love it when we are there. They want to have us there and we are always happy to be there. We have no problem touring out there. The support and love from the fans in Europe is very deer to us in our hearts. They seem to have that long lasting love, that everlasting love. It is almost like a relationship. They love us and we love them back.

The Gauntlet: Ill Nino has only been touring for the latest album, "One Nation Underground", for 8 months now. Is it too early to be thinking of the next album?

Laz: There are a couple projects we want to do on our time off. We do plan on writing. After we go back and do some more dates, probably get really serious. We are a band that loves to play. God Forbid is a band that is very much like us. Every time a record comes out, expect to see us three or four times in each market. We are a band that loves to tour. We do have new material in mind, writing, and other things we would like to do as well.

The Gauntlet: What are some of the other things?

Laz: We would like to do an acoustic album.

The Gauntlet: Really?

Laz: It definitely can be done. We had an acoustic song on the first record. We have always wanted to do it. The percussion element with the Latin swing and jungle feel will work well. This is a band that doesn't limit ourselves. We have no boundaries. We aren't afraid to explore different options in music. We love heavy music the most and that is translated through our record. We also have another side that has more of a musically feel to it. I think of music and I want it's soul to move the crowd. It's not going to be a pussy acoustic record. We want it to have lots of percussion, lots of different rhythms in there. A lot of culture. It will have a lot of culture in its sound.

The Gauntlet: Would it be a live acoustic album, new material, or record one of the older albums as acoustic?

Laz: We want to do some new material, but for the most part, the majority of it would be songs converted to acoustic versions. A lot of these songs were written on an acoustic guitar. It is a more organic version of some of the songs. Sometimes it comes off better acoustically. It is something we have in mind. It isn't set in stone whether we are going to do a new record first. We have been talking about doing this for a while though. It also shows diversity in a band.

The Gauntlet: Acoustic albums aren't for a lot of bands out there. You can't cover up any inabilities with noise and distortion.

Laz: Yeah, it is more detailed. It is harder to hide behind the noise when you play acoustically. That's all good. We are a tight band. Everybody is talented in this band. It is a challenge, but no one is afraid of it. Whatever we do, we do fearlessly and with conviction. There are some great players in this band. The acoustic record can also showcase the other side of us. It can show how detailed we are without hiding behind a wall of noise. This is a fearless band and we don't give a fuck. We will play on a bill with anybody and go up there with the intentions to crush. We have a tough East Coast vibe and just don't give a fuck. We are all out there doing the same thing we always have and playing music for the love of it. We look at it that way. We are not a typical band approaching metal. It is what makes us unique and we pride ourselves on originality.

The Gauntlet: The originality is what sets Ill Nino apart from the pack.

Laz: When it is all said and done, we want to say we didn't follow any trends and we did it our way. That's the biggest accomplishment. We can always be proud of what we did. What is the purpose of playing music; to contribute or imitate? We are the kind of band that wants to put our stamp down and be original. 10 or 20 years down the line when you look back at bands, we want people to look at us and know we did something a little different and that we were using different rhythms that have never been used in metal. Music is exciting and always growing. Metal was born and was never meant to be played a certain way. It's an aggressive way of expression in music and doesn't have certain rules. I get sick of people talking about what's' metal and what's not. They are full of shit. This is the way they express it, and this is how we express it.

The Gauntlet: Those are usually the people who follow trends, and 6 months later they are listening to Beyonce.

Laz: They have one thing in common, they all sound the same. Shit, we have already heard Slayer and already heard Metallica. These are classic bands in their own way. You can show your influences which is nice. We display our influences, but they come from all forms of heavy music. Ours come from east coast hardcore and metal and a little of the west coast. We all have one thing in common in the band. We all love aggressive music in the same way. When you bring us together, we are a unique band. It's alright to display influences, but take it to the next level, get original with it and contribute something.

The Gauntlet: To many bands are just cover bands that play original songs.

Laz: Yeah. When our first record came out, we displayed an original style. It would have been easy for us to stay that way. I don't think that any single individual in the band could live with that. We are moving forward and like all kinds of music and want that to come out on the record. It would have been easy to do the first record over, but we wanted a different record. A lot of the fans were disappointed with the second record because they were expecting the first album again. But what's the point, go buy the first record and listen to it over and over. We want to incorporate new ideas and new styles and show some growth. We are not a band that is afraid of that. We take pride and do it our way. The real fans appreciate that.

The Gauntlet: Anything else?

Laz: Now that we are playing in America, I am glad people can get more exposure to the new material. This is our favorite record and I think our most diverse record. It has everything that Ill Nino is about. It took three records to finally get to where we want. It's an aggressive album and has all the melodies that make up Ill Nino. I think the integrity of the band will always be there, but this is my favorite record. It is going to be cool to play to the American audience; the newer shit live. Sometimes people are less prone to picking up the new material. So hopefully when they hear it they will think it's hot. I feel like the new record captures the audience the most. Expect us to come out swinging from beginning to end.