The Mayhem Files 2014 – Vol. III: Diego Verduzco and Ahrue Luster from ILL NIÑO

Diego Verduzco and Ahrue Luster play guitar in ILL NIÑO. They are also both really great guys who just happen to have put out one of the best records of their career with Till Death, La Familia. We sat down for about ten minutes to talk about that as well as the craziness of Mayhem Fest in this, Vol. III of The Mayhem Files 2014. Have a look:

IMG_20140809_133558Amps: I just got the record a few days ago. You really hit a good one this time out. Tell me a little bit about the songwriting for this one. My son/helper Mini-Amps loved it, too.

Both: Thank you.

Diego: Thank you, Mini-Amps!

Ahrue: We were actually on Soundwave in Australia when we found out we had the Mayhem Tour. And the label’s like, “Yeah, you’re on Mayhem, we need a new record.” And there was probably about a three month window that we had to go home and just whip out a record. We did it in record time because normally it takes longer. We just wanted to bring it a little more modern but at the same time do what we did in the past. We went back to a lot of the single-note riffing and the big choruses and brought the electronics back. I think the fact that we didn’t have a lot of time really helped because often when you have a lot of time you second-guess yourself. We just had to bust it out and it’s more spontaneous that way.

Amps: I think the electronics on this one really enhance the songs a lot, especially on “Live Like There’s No Tomorrow” and “Blood Is Thicker Than Water.” That’s my favorite song on the record, guys.

Diego: Awesome! That’s getting a lot of attention and becoming a favorite on the disc. An accidental favorite, I guess.

Amps: But it’s a great song! Hey, it doesn’t always have to be the heaviest track on the record to be the best song, you know?

Diego: That’s true.

Amps: Tell me about the sequencing of the record. How did you know what order to put these songs in to attain those highs, lows, hills, and valleys?

Diego: Roll the dice and pick the songs (laughs).

Ahrue: I think Dave (Chavarri, drums) has a lot to do with the sequencing and he has a feel for that sort of thing. He just wanted it to be always exciting, but at the same time I think we front-loaded it a little bit where some of the favorites are up front. A lot of times people don’t get a chance to listen to the whole record and you wanna make sure that they hear all the good stuff.

IllNino_TomValdez_1Amps: Yeah but the album CLOSES on a great one-two punch with “Payaso” and “My Bullet.”

Both: Thank you again.

Amps: Overall has this been a fun experience for you?

Diego: Mayhem has been absolutely great for us. It’s been a great way to see the States again with a large crowd. We’re on the biggest metal festival the U.S. has to offer, totally different than the European ones we’re used to doing. We’re back home now seeing our friends and family members. It’s a great way to expose the music to a generation that maybe doesn’t know who ILL NIÑO is. But friends might or even parents might, and they may wanna show it to their children.

So it’s nice to be able to expose ILL NIÑO to people who might not ever have known the band. And to hear real good comments like, “Dude, I had no idea who you guys were but you killed it. When are you comin’ back around?” That’s really great to hear.

Amps: So the crowds have been real good to you guys then?

Ahrue: Crowds have been good but another thing is we’ve been having great times with the other bands making friends with bands from every genre: black metal bands to more nu-metal bands. It’s been like a big family type of vibe going on and nobody is bothering with subgenres; everybody just parties together. One of the things that happens is bands throw parties for all the other bands and the one we had yesterday had a Headbang Competition between Diego and Corpsegrinder from CANNIBAL CORPSE.

Amps: Who won?

Ahrue: They said Corpsegrinder won but popular opinion was that-

Diego: I WON. It’s like a boxing match where the champion wins but the crowd’s booing and this time the challenger won, but we all know who the champion still is.

Amps: Oh, kind of like George St. Pierre in his last fight?

IllNino_1Diego: Yeah, yeah. Exactly. Corpsegrinder’s an awesome dude and who would’ve thought that CANNIBAL CORPSE and ILL NIÑO would become such great friends on this tour? Those guys are amazing. His band was all pulling for me to win (which I DID), but it was all about fun.

Amps: Other than yourselves who is an absolute must-catch on this bill?

Ahrue: SUICIDE SILENCE for sure, WRETCHED is awesome…

Diego: CANNIBAL CORPSE, MUSHROOMHEAD is one of those bands that have been around forever. And if you missed ERIMHA I recommend you catch them next time.

Amps: What do you want to say to all the ILL NIÑO fans out there in the world?

Ahrue: We take pride in the fact that we have a great relationship with our fans and we all understand that we wouldn’t be alive for this long without them and the new record Till Death, La Familia is basically a dedication to our fans. Because we consider them family and they’re our lifeblood.

Diego: This record’s for you. We have nothing but love for you and we can’t wait to see all of you around the world again.


That wraps up our Mayhem Fest interviews for 2014. I had an absolute ball, not just talking to these guys but Joel from WRETCHED and J Mann from MUSHROOMHEAD as well. And all the bands seriously whupped some ass onstage. Hot damn, is it next summer yet??

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