Former ILL NIÑO members Cristian Machado (vocals), Ahrue "Luster" Ilustre (guitar) and Diego Verduzco (guitar) have finished recording the debut LP from their new project.
Machado, who released his debut solo album, "Hollywood y Sycamore", on September 25 via Chesky Records' sub-label Coconut Bay, discussed his renewed collaboration with Ilustre and Verduzco in a new interview with Hablas Rockas. He said (see video below): "There's an entire album done. The album is completely done — 100 percent done. 12 songs finished. They're not mixed or mastered. We have rough mixes.
"We're all trying not to talk too much about it, just because until we can put out the album, should we really talk too much about it? I don't know," he continued. "I will say this… The things that are reasonable to say is the songs are fucking awesome.
"As far as me focusing as just a vocalist and not having to be involved mentally in some kind of other way with the instrumentation, as far as me thinking as a vocalist, it's definitely the best work I've ever done. And I have to thank Ahrue and Diego — Diego, who really began this whole thing by writing some songs, putting them together, getting a producer, starting to move the ball. He was, basically, like, 'I'm gonna start working. I'm gonna start writing songs. I'm gonna start doing this and see where it goes. No pressure. Let's just make sure we're all having fun.'"
Asked if the new band's music follows the same "Latin metal" approach as ILL NIÑO, Machado said: "No, because we're not tied to that. We wouldn't wanna do that. It would be dumb to do that, I think. Now, will there be other things that I do that are more like Latin metal? Yeah, there are things, but not with this other thing we're doing, which is really focused on writing an album where every single song could sound like it was a hit or a single — in a metallic way, obviously."
As for when the new music might see the light of day, Machado said: "We're probably gonna try to seek some label interest. And, like I said, the songs are really phenomenal, so I think it's not gonna be hard to do that. But we would like to seek somebody that gets it and that knows how to grow it, how to bring it to the next level. We don't wanna do things on the level we were at, which, for many years, was a level of struggle, to be honest with the whole world. There was no grace and glamor at the level we were at. The thing that really was the rewarding thing was the fans, the shows. That's what was the most rewarding."
This past March, Machado, Ilustre, Verduzco, drummer Dave Chavarri and bassist Laz Pina announced that they "have reached a mutual, amicable and binding agreement" that will allow Chavarri and Pina to continue with ILL NIÑO while Machado, Verduzco and Ilustre will move on with new projects. According to a joint statement release by the five musicians, "No party has admitted fault and there has been no court judgment on the merits. The parties entered into a confidential settlement agreement."
Back in January 2019, Chavarri and Pina said that they had recruited vocalist Marcos Leal (SHATTERED SUN), lead guitarist Jes DeHoyos (SONS OF TEXAS) and rhythm guitarist Sal Dominguez (UPON A BURNING BODY) to be in their new incarnation of ILL NIÑO. The Chavarri-led ILL NIÑO also issued a new single, "Sangre". A day later, Machado, Ilustre and Verduzco dismissed reports that they had left ILL NIÑO and vowed to continue with their own version of the band. Two months later, the trio filed a lawsuit against Chavarri and Pina, accusing the drummer and bassist of failing to pay the band's tour rental company and engineers, slandering Machado by spreading rumors that he has a drug problem, collecting and spending the band's money without consulting in all of the members and refusing the members access to the group's financial records.
In a statement announcing the launch of his new version of ILL NIÑO, Chavarri said about the split with his former bandmates: "Being in a band is much like being married, and sometimes people grow apart, and no longer see eye to eye, and a separation becomes inevitable."