Editor’s Note: Cristian Machado is forging a new path in his music career. Sometimes, a person has to take the road less traveled in order to find out what they are made of and who they are. Cristian, the ex-frontman of Ill Nino, has certainly done that with his recent single release of “Die Alone”. Based on incorporating a mix of Americana with some Latin roots into the music, fans will be abuzz over his fall release “Hollywood y Sycamore”. In this interview with Madness To Creation, Cristian Machado has an in-depth conversation about “Die Alone”, what fans can expect with the upcoming album, and mental health awareness. Fans can find Cristian Machado at the following locations:
Madness To Creation: Based on what I read in the press release, “Die Alone” is about going through some difficult challenges. What are some things that help you overcome difficult challenges?
Cristian: Great question, not really sure. I think I overcome challenges the same way everybody else overcomes challenges, with laughter, talking with friends, spending time with family. I’m not a complicated person at all and like simple life so it ain’t hard for me to be happy. But it is also easy for me to sink into depression. For the most part I stay positive 90% of the time although my music is very dark. I love the outdoors so I imagine outdoor time is important for me to maintain a good balanced mental state. There’s no doubt life can sometimes feel like it’s coming down with a heavy hammer but I know all things pass eventually. I do try to stop and check myself, remind myself how lucky I am to have a healthy family, to have found honest friends, to be able to make music. My mother and sister have always been so loving, I’ve been in a family that doesn’t disrespect each other and are always very caring, that too has been my saving grace and has kept me sane, happy, and in line. Having two smart and healthy kids also helps me get through anything. As long as they’re okay, I’m okay.
And like I said, not enough can be said about having extremely honest, supportive, and very talented friends who keep me on my toes musically and spiritually. Music has always had healing qualities for me, both as a listener & writer. Sometimes it can carry a heart drenching moment with it, but that’s probably what I need at that time. I can say during the Covid lockdowns, it has been particularly complicated trying to keep a positive outlook considering what’s occurring around us. Under such extreme situations all we can really do is put faith in each other and help each other get though this. The more and more I listen to news and political agendas, the more and more I realize most of them don’t really give a fuck about us. All we really have is each other. Profoundly believing in that probably helps me overcome challenges I don’t even realize may be there.
Madness To Creation: You’re releasing “Hollywood y Sycamore” this fall, how are you adjusting your promotion of the release with the pandemic going on?
Cristian: We originally planned for a May / June release and we had to move everything back to September. I do think Chesky Records is being very wise in trying to take advantage of the down time to build awareness for the album. Despite the massive delays and closures, we decided to release the first single “Die Alone” very early on. But we are very lucky that the footwork and promotions for the release wasn’t already in motion. That allowed us to huddle up and re-structure the album cycle to something we felt was a little more reasonable. I heard many artists and labels that were at the very beginning of their promotions cycle, with a lot of work having already been put in, and they had to halt everything. It’s not a deck of cards anyone wants to be dealt after having put so much effort into something, but it’s what had to be done I suppose. I feel terrible for so many industry people deeply impacted by this. That’s said, it should be said that a lot of agents, promoters, managers, and label people are busting their asses behind the scenes to keep the industry stitched together somehow someway. A lot of fans have helped a lot of crew people maintain and have also helped artists tremendously. It’s been both a very unfortunate situation but also very eye opening in a good way.
Madness To Creation: What was the most rewarding aspect about creating this album?
Cristian: For me personally I would have to say going to NYC and recording almost the whole record live, with everyone playing together, through only 4 microphones, also without any editing or copy pasting. Doing things this way really helped me rediscover my faith in creative chemistry. For many years I had recorded multi-tracked albums and while it’s a great efficient way to do rock albums it can feel clinical after 10-12 years of doing things the same way. To come back to this very genuine, very honest way of recording was amazing and incredibly rewarding. The focus and discipline that it takes to have 4-5 musicians track everything together, without punching in ever, without any audio tricks, is intense and changes you as a musician without a doubt. Hearing the songs back all done is always rewarding as well, but for me it’s the thrill of the creative chase that is most inspiring.
Madness To Creation: What is your mindset when you create a song or step into the studio?
Cristian: My mindset now is to put a ton of emotion and genuine feeling into every word and every melody. I think I’ve always tried to give my best as a writer and in the studio, but I’m always trying to learn and evolve. Honestly, there are so many talented musicians out there to learn from, don’t blame me, blame them, I don’t want to stop learning from them. Perhaps call me selfish, but I like the challenge of not staying the same, the challenge of having to keep searching for a new way to explain myself through music. I think this record is that, an evolution of a lot of things I’ve done in the past, just presented differently and with a lot of emotion. It’s not a metal album and so people know to expect acoustic songs with raw emotion.
Madness To Creation: How are you holding up through this pandemic, and have you done some social media live shows to connect with fans?
Cristian: I’m doing good thanks. Trying to stay positive despite the consequences. I have nothing to complain about really. My family is healthy and that’s what matters most. No, I have not done live streaming shows but I do plan on doing so in the future. I have kept in contact with many friends, family, and fans. It really has been so amazing witnessing so many families trying to help each other get by.
Madness To Creation: What is the first thing you want to do when this pandemic is all over?
Cristian: Play a concert! Play a concert and go to a waterfall!
Madness To Creation: If I give you $100, what food and drinks are you craving right now?
Cristian: Pizza everyday, pizza every minute, pizza pizza pizza. And no, not Little Caesar, not Domino’s, true NYC pizza, no toppings cause it’s perfect the way it is. And what would I drink with my pizza? I’m not really a drinker but for this occasion let’s do Yuengling, America’s oldest beer recipe!
Madness To Creation: What makes Cristian Machado tick and what makes him happy and excited about life?
Cristian: Just enjoying life makes me tick. Laughing with friends and family makes me happy. Sarcastic humor makes me happy. Animals make me happy. Bulldogs make me happy. Kids make me happy. Honest people make me happy. May sound shallow but I think as long as I can smile and laugh with people I care about, I can live happily with no stress and no regrets. That and making music, Maybe squeeze one a little furniture refinishing and where getting around to hat makes me tick. Music makes me tick, can’t forget that. The irony is I love to compose very sad music but I like brutally funny jokes. It’s a weird crisis I have but I imagine my feeling have to balance themselves out somehow else I might implode?
Madness To Creation: What else would you like to add about Cristian Machado?
Cristian: Buy my album. Please. Go right now to shop.bandwear.com/
Madness To Creation: Thank you so much for your time to interview with me for Madness To Creation!
Cristian: Thank you. Was a blast being a part of this.
And there you have it! Go pick up a copy of “Hollywood y Sycamore” this September and check out Cristian Machado at Bandwear, Facebook and his official website!