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The Download Interviews: Ill Nino

03 June 2004

Ill Nino drummer extraordinaire Dave Chavarri all dreadlocked and pierced spoke to VF about his band that's all geared up to take Donington by storm at the 2004 Download festival

Virtual Festivals: Seems you've undertaken a pretty gruelling tour sechedule over the past few years - What's that been like, What's the band's work ethic?
Dave: The band's work ethic is just playing as many shows as possible in terms of reaching as much of a mass audience as we can. It's been kinda crazy for the Revolution, Revolution tour... I mean we did 23 months of touring with only 85 days off. With the latest record we've done about 9 months of touring with about 35 days off. I mean, the whole thing behind doing what we do is to do as many shows as possible. You might not always enjoy it because you might miss your family, your girlfriend, or you might miss being in your own house, your own bed or watching your own TV, but it's a thing that we have to do.

VF: Any good stories from the tours, one show that maybe stands out from the rest?
Dave: What, girl stories? No, I can't talk about anything like that or I'll get into trouble with the rest of the band. One show though that stands out from the rest this year is Mexico City. We co-headlined with The Mars Volta and we played in front of 64,000 people... that was pretty amazing on the main stage, it was really cool - everyone was singing along with the band in English and Spanish.

VF: How would you say you have progressed musically and lyrically in your second album Confession compared to Revolution, Revolution?
Dave: Definitely I would say this second record, Confession, is a lot more personal than the first. Christian, when he was writing the lyrics on the first record, he was more behind, you know he wasn't very upfront about what he was trying to say, he intertwined - kinda personal giving messages but sometimes keeping what he really wanted to say more to himself. On the new record its more like, whatever he said he meant, and whatever he said was completely real, upfront and very very clear. You know it wasn't hidden or like left up to the imagination - very much like if he was hurt or depressed or angry about something then it all came out word for word. As for muscially, for us it was about not simply putting the first record out again, whilst still maintaining who Ill Nino was... that's what we do.

VF: From your website and the fan section - questions and answers it looks like you take time to stay quite close to your fans... is there one of you who answers most of the questions or do you take it in turns and how important do you see this as being to help you keep in touch with your fans, and how crucial is the web to you as a means of promoting your music?
Dave: We all do the question and answers. It's kinda hard to do it on a daily basis but we make sure we do it weekly or bi-weekly so we don't get behind. I think the website is a really important way to stay in touch with our fans. We get to know what they think about the set list, how we were live, what they think of the records and so it keeps you on your toes.. you find out what they like and don't like so we can adjust to be more to their liking.

VF: What's the best thing about being in Ill Nino?
Dave: The best thing about being in Ill Nino is the number of girls that... no, no I'm just kidding. Possibly the best thing is that we've been able to be a heavy band that has had commercial success as well, you know on radio. Something a lot of bands try to do but so many fall by the wayside either because they become too 'Radio', or are just too heavy for their own success. I think we've been lucky managing to be an underground band but also having some commercial success. I appreciate it so much because I love playing heavy music but I like alot of other types of music as well.

VF: In your music you combine a latin feel with metal - did this come naturally - how would you personally describe your sound?
Dave: Um, I think we are just a latin metal band. When we write music we don't just say hey we're going to put this piece here and let's make it Latin. We'll just jam on a piece and then Lez will come up with a latin bass section, or me and Danny again on a percussion section and depending on the speed of the bars and how the part feels we'll see where it will fit in our songwriting. But other than that it's not something we would try to fit unnaturally - it's whatever comes out at the time.

VF: Is there any particular band on the Download line-up - besides yourselves, who you would really recommend people to go and see?
Dave: I'll definitely go check out Linkin Park and Slipknot - see what's going on - I've seen them both before and they're both great live bands. And I might go see Metallica - to see what they're doing now, I haven't seen them for about 10/12 years.

VF: When the band isn't doing band things then do any of you have any interesting hobbies or sideline projects on the go?
Dave: Smoke weed... no I'm just kidding. Everybody has different things, I'm into business, I do all the business for the band plus manage a couple of other bands too. So for me it's about doing the business thing, overseeing how things are organised and stuff. Ahrue, he works out. Christian, like I said, smokes the pot, Jardel plays video games. Everybody is into different little things, something that takes them away and back to home a little bit.

VF: Dead or alive, who would you put on the bill with you for your dream festival line-up?
Dave: Umm... I think the line-up for Download is pretty much the line-up I'd choose, but then I am going to say that in an interview for Download aren't I! But without a doubt it really is a great line-up

VF: What's currently playing in your CD/MP3 player?
Dave: Last night I listened to Sade and the night before Queen - 'News of the world'

VF: Interesting. While you're over for Download are you doing anything else?
Dave: Yeah, we're doing five weeks of gigs and festivals in Europe... we're doing Download, of course, South Side festival in Germany, Grasshoper in Belgium, a festival in Greece with Korn, another with Slipknot and Korn in Italy... I mean we're doing around 12 festivals all mainstage between 28,000 and 35,000 people maybe more - it's gonna be amazing.

VF: And finally any message from Ill Nino to those going to Download?
Dave: Hey everyone, come to Download and get f*cked up by Ill Nino in the pit, I'll see you all at Download!

VF: Excellent, well that's it, thank you.
Dave: No problem and thank you VF!

Click here for our Ill Nino Gallery

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Article by: Sara Bowrey

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