Stephanie talked with the El Paso, TX band Illum as they talk about the Music, The Band and The Future - Read it HERE
BY STEPHANIE STEVENS
Texas is pouring out new talent every time I turn around and the next band up is El Paso, TX very own ILLUM. Brand new band making some waves with a metal, hard rock sound. Using heavy, hard hitting soundscapes with melodic and relentless vocal attributes. The band screams diversity from the first single I heard entitled TIDES OF MAN. The band focuses on sonic sounds and layering the music to bring you on an adventure from start to finish. The band, Anthony Gonzalez (guitars), Eric Chaffino (vocals), Johnny Mo (drums), Aaron Bass (bass) and Stephen Sandoval (guitars) are putting the finishing touches on the band’s first EP TRANSFORM and will be heading to California to record the official video For TIDES OF MAN. For now, I had a chance to speak with Anthony and the rest of ILLUM to get some inside information on the band, its members and what fans can expect of this band once TRANSFORM comes out.
YOU GUYS JUST FORMED IN 2018. WHERE YOU ALL IN OTHER BANDS IN THE SCENE AND WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO PUT THIS BAND TOGETHER?
Everything started back in July 2017 as an idea of a certain sound for hard rock music. We all were doing our own things at the time. I (Anthony) started working on song ideas and recording them myself not sure where it was going, but the more I dug into the music I started to really like where it was going and wanted to pursue it more.
HOW IS THE SCENE IN THE TEXAS AREA AND HOW ARE YOU GUYS CHANGING THE SCENE FOR THE BETTER?
El Paso music scene area for the most part it’s pretty supportive. We all have been in different parts of Texas and Texas is for sure a Metal State. What we hope to bring is not just a show or a concert but an experience for all the viewers and listeners.
IF YOU COULD LET THE MUSIC WORLD KNOW THE ATTRIBUTES EACH OF THE BAND MEMBERS BRING INTO THE BAND AND WHAT INSTRUMENTS THEY PLAY AND HOW LONG HAVE THEY BEEN PLAYING?
Anthony Gonzalez, At age 14 I got my first guitar from a pawn shop in Vegas. I move to El Paso at age 15 where I heavily pursued a career in music. Aside from my father, I also greatly influenced by Dimebag Darrell, Jimmy Hendrix, and Tool’s Adam Jones. Other musical influences such as A Perfect Circle, Sevendust, Nine Inch Nails, and 30 Seconds to Mars.
Eric Chaffino, vocalists of IlluM began playing instruments at the age of 10. I was influenced by my late Dad who was a musician. My icons which motivated me were Phil Anselmo (Pantera/DOWN), Mike Patton (Faith No More), Nicko McBrain (Iron Maiden). IlluM became real when Anthony and I got together in the fall of 2017. We exchanged ideas and wanted to combine our musial talents. Johnny Mo, Aaron, and Stephen all came in early 2018 and we are currently working in the studio. I’ve played for numerous bands and today I/We finally are bringing what I’ve always wanted to showcase! Unique, diverse, quality, heart and soul are what we/I pour into our music. Let the Music Speak!
Johnny Mo, I play drums for Illum, I started playing at 13 and have been in many local bands since then. I have many influences ranging from Ginger Fish (ex marilyn manson), Chris Adler (Lamb of God) to Nicholas Barker (ex cradle of filth). I joined the band about 5 month ago when I reached out to Eric to make sure he was still alive after our last project died. A short conversation later and the ball was rolling to meet up with him and Anthony and continue with the project they already had going. I bring an aggressive rock and metal drumming style along with a very sarcastic personality that my current band mates have come to love....
Stephen or Steve O as my degenerate brothers say! I’m the lead guitarist in ILLUM and joined maybe 4 months after the band was officially formed. The rhythm guitarist/founder of the band Anthony Gonzalez was the one who considered me for the part. In which who I previously played with in a band called Andromeda Theory as bassist. I picked up playing music around 16 years old. Never considered it until my one of my good friends played guitar and he always would try and get me to play bass so we could start a band together but we never did! I just kept playing until years later I got into my first band with El Paso nu-metal locals Chromatic Algorithms. The band split up few years later and I just began session playing with other musicians and bands until joining El Paso alternative metal locals Andromeda Theory in 2014. The band officially parted ways December 2017 which led me into the world of music production.
I’m Aaron. I joined Illum February of 2018. Anthony actually found me on Instagram, but we did play in different bands in the past so we knew of each other. I’ve been playing bass for approximately 10 years and my original band was named Morning Shift. We were a hard rock band that performed from 2005-2009 and the band ended. My biggest influence playing-wise would be Ryan Martinie of Mudvayne but musically I like most hard rock and metal. I like to think that I bring comedy and an outgoing image/personality to the band. I really like joking around, talking smack, and socializing...Needless to say, our first group rehearsal was awesome and I haven’t looked back since.
YOU JUST RELEASED A SINGLE CALLED THE TIDES OF MAN. WHAT DOES THE SONG MEAN TO YOU GUYS AND WHAT DO YOU HOPE PEOPLE WALK AWAY FROM AFTER LISTENING TO IT?
The Tides Of Man. We feel like this song is another chapter as a man in this journey called life and one of the many struggles we go through and having to figure out how to confront these demons within us. So, we hope that people can feel the same and can be used to help them in their own lives as the way music does for each of us. The release date for the single is August 24th on all digital outlets.
WHO ARE SOME OF THE BANDS INFLUENCES AND HOW DO YOU THINK THOSE BANDS OR ARTISTS IMPACT THE WRITING AND CREATIVENESS YOU GUYS HAD WORKING ON YOUR FIRST RECORD?
Our influences are Mudvayne, Chevelle, Breaking Benjamin, light the torch, and 10 Years, Tool, Perfect Circle, Love & Death, Korn, Five Finger Death Punch. These bands influence our playing style by making us challenge ourselves and be more technical players. The most influential people for us is each other and our styles as individual musicians putting together the sound which is, ILLUM”
YOUR WORKING ON FINISHING THE RECORD. ARE YOU GUYS DOING EVERYTHING STUDIO WISE YOURSELVES AND HOW MUCH DIVERSITY IS ON THE RECORD FROM SONG TO SONG?
We are recording and producing everything ourselves and our songs are getting mix and master at DarksVille Studios out of West Virginia by Jeremy Dove . I believe each song has its own diversity and its own sound we hope the listeners and the fans can walk away with an overall good experience once hearing the whole album.
HOW HAS MUSIC CHANGED YOUR LIVES AND IF YOU WEREN’T DOING THIS WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU WOULD BE?
Music has changed everything in our lives’. It’s a passion and drive that we have that it’s hard to let go if we were not doing music I believe you would have regular lives
YOUR GOING TO CALIFORNIA TO DO A MUSIC VIDEO, IS IT FOR TIES OF MAN AND WHAT IS THE CONCEPT AND WHO IS SHOOTING IT?
We are filming with director Adrian Romero Out of L.A California from record Play Production we are looking forward to work with him and the creative mind he has.
IF YOU COULD WRITE WITH ANYONE ALIVE OR DEAD WHO WOULD YOU WRITE WITH AND WHAT DO YOU THINK THE FINISHED PRODUCT WOULD SOUND LIKE?
So many artists out there but I would have to say Adam Jones from Tool I love the creative music they do and the creative art he does.
DO YOU GUYS TOUR NATIONALLY OR ARE YOU JUST A REGIONAL OR LOCAL TOURING BAND?
For now, we are keeping it regional but we do plan to expand much further
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE A LIVE SHOW AND WHAT DO YOU FEEL 3 THINGS ARE THAT BRINGS A GREAT SHOW TO PERFORMANCE?
Energetic, Emotional with Visuals! A show where people can interact and be part of an experience.
HOW CAN PEOPLE STAY IN TOUCH WITH YOU?
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