Latin metal enthusiastas Ill Niño will be returning to Australia for their first headline tour since 2006 in support of their 15 Years of Revolution tour, performing their debut “Revolution Revolucíon” in its entirety. We had a chat with the band’s frontman; a very excited and cheery Cristian Machado all about their upcoming Australian leg of the tour, their previous appearances at the now-defunct Soundwave Festival, the nostalgic feel to their debut, the possibility of some new music coming soon, and how they’ve grown over the years as a professional full-time band.

“We did that headline tour with Static-X a couple of years back, but other than that, we came back to do mostly festival shows with short, tight setlists. But, we’re just grateful and feel blessed to be able to come back with the first album, and to be able to play with a little bit more maturity, too. We’ve obviously grown up as human beings, so we’ve been able to focus a little more. Earlier, I was talking about what nut-jobs we were when we came out with our first album. In many ways, I didn’t think about how challenging it was for me, but for the way I dealt with it, it was about partying my ass off. Some of the other members in the band were a little more extreme, so we dealt with it great. But, at least for me, to be able to play all of those songs and be a little more focused, I’m lucky and we’re really grateful to be returning to Australia – one of the most beautiful places in the world!”

2011 saw the first show Ill Niño had done in five years since their co-headliner with Static-X, where they performed as part of the Soundwave Festival, sharing the stage with bands such as Slayer, High on Fire, Dimmu Borgir and more. They were then invited back to the festival in 2014 as part of a bigger lineup.

“We were deeply impacted when Soundwave was cancelled, and we had done it two years prior and three years prior to the other. We were looking forward to come back, because we were gonna perform the first album, and Killswitch Engage were gonna play “Alive… or Just Breathing?” as well. The idea of doing the first album kinda started coming out of that. Some of the early bands as the same time period have been doing their debuts or a particular album on their tours. To be able to come back with a good headliner and to be able to play the album from beginning to end, and to be able to add a couple of surprises here and there and do some cool things, I think it’ll be worth the wait for us. We’re truly sad that Soundwave doesn’t exist anymore, because we always had a great time and to us, it was one of the greatest festivals that ever existed.”

Cristian also states that he has Soundwave to thank for all the things they got to do in Australia because of the offers they got from the country. He feels that Ill Niño could’ve still made it to Australia to perform their own shows, but if it wasn’t for Soundwave, they possibly wouldn’t have made it back to the Aussie shores. But he has his fingers crossed they’ll get to have another Aussie festival experience soon.

“We might’ve been able to come back on our own, but if we weren’t on any of the lineups, we possibly wouldn’t have done any sidewave shows with DevilDriver or any of those bands. It was always an amazing experience, because Soundwave was a festival for everyone, for every musician, it was 100% pure exhilaration and I was always looking forward to it. Maybe Australia will get another tour like that again, but it’s always still great when a band gets to come out on their own.”

He then proceeds to talk about what made the festival cycle of Ill Niño’s Australian experience so special.

“Getting to spend time with the bands there was one of the more memorable things I could think of. But the most beautiful thing about Soundwave was, all the bands had to fly with each other to get there. It was always an experience to do a show and having to wake up at 6am the next day, and it was a different way of doing it. The coolest thing for me, personally, was to play a little earlier and see some other bands. As much as I am a musician, I’m still a music fan and I love seeing my friend’s band play. That’s part of the thing I loved about Soundwave. Not just seeing them, but also getting to travel with them was also awesome.”

As mentioned before, Ill Niño’s first Australian tour were with their good friends in Static-X, sharing a headline tour with them and performing in 1200-2000 capacity theatres including the Palace Complex. While they’re excited to return to Australia, they’re also hoping to get some free time settled in during the tour cycle, to go have a look around and enjoy the culture’s vibe.

“Our first time there was an absolute trip. We were doing it with our homies in Static-X and Wayne Static lost his soul, but for us, it was an amazing experience. The first day was in Perth, and we got to go a couple of days earlier and meeting local people. It was appealing to be connecting with what the community was about. By the time we left Australia, we were just absolutely in love with the country, the island, the culture, everything about it. I’m trying to plan some time there and I know some of the guys in the band are too, because our drummer Dave, his wife is from Australia, and we’ve got a lot of great friends in Perth. The biggest challenge of all is making sure that our crew guys are comfortable and rested, and that they feel 100% about everything. Once we have that, it’s just about relations to being in the moment and being grateful for everything that’s going on.”

The band’s 15 Years of Revolution tour started last year in Europe, and then proceeded to do shows around the US, and then back in Europe, again. Asking Cristian about his highlights of the tour so far, he wasn’t so much fixated on what were their favourite countries or cities they had performed in, so far. He was much more focused on being in the spotlight to perform onstage, and more predominantly, meeting the fans and hearing their stories on how they connect with Ill Niño.

“My personal highlights are obviously either being onstage or meeting the fans that really feel connected to the music. Whether it was from the beginning or it was with one particular song. To me, the greatest feeling is meeting the people and hearing their stories. Because, to be honest with you, back then, there was a lot of strategy going on. I don’t think anybody was really over-thinking things too much, because they were happy to be there. But then, there was this really obscure, ugly side to the psychology that we didn’t get. Part of it, I think it’s kinda connected with that feeling with all the people. Musically, we always try to have that message, but just meeting all the fans and hearing their stories is the best part. Usually, when we meet the fans, they always wanna ask questions, but, I wanna ask you questions. You already know everything about me, but I wanna know something about you.”

At the same time, Cristian has felt that the shows that they’ve done in support of “Revolution Revolucíon” has given them a nostalgic vibe, giving him thoughts as to why Ill Niño started making music in the first place.

“It’s definitely brought back a lot of memories, and it’s also reminded me what made me started this thing, whether it be musical or personal. We were able to trace the songs or the entire album in many ways that reminded me of so many things that are now connecting with today’s world, or the ones that made the most impact on other people.”

Since it has been three years since their last record “Till Death, La Familia”, the question is, are Ill Niño plotting a new album after the tour? As it turns out, Cristian says that they’re “touching base” on it and are going to take as much time as they need to make their next record sound perfect.

“We’re definitely touching base and sharing ideas with each other. But, we all need to book flights and book a studio, because, we all started out living in the same city, but somewhere along the way, we were driven to different parts of the country. So, we all live spread out. We have to book flights, hotel rooms and studios, we need to have a clear budget for the album, and question what it is we want to say and put it out. We don’t wanna rush through and put an album out in 2018, we just want it to be a very powerful album, not just for us, but for the rest of the fans. So, hopefully, I’ll be able to convince the rest of the band to start sharing the ideas and really be picky and thoughtful and not waste anybody’s air time.”