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Animals As Leaders

Tosin Abasi is a magician on his instrument. On the new Animals As Leaders record 'Weightless' he does things on his guitar that people did not think possible before. We could talk about for a long or a short time, but the only way anybody would really believe it is to go and see it for themselves. Luckily we will because this spring they are coming to Europe. We talked with mister Abasi who, completely according to his music, uses little words.

By: Jasper | Archive under different metal

band imageHi guys, how is Animals As Leaders doing these days?
Great! Lots of great things happening.

Could you please tell me who you are, about your backgrounds, and what you stand for as a band?
I'm Tosin Abasi. I started Animals as Leaders in 2009 with producer Misha Mansoor. As a band we want to combine the elements of the music we love into something new and transcendent.

Could you tell me if you started as an instrumental band out of idealism, or was it just that you couldn't find a singer?
The idea was to always be instrumental. I was inspired by bands such as Jaga Jazzist, Tortoise, as well as jazz and metal bands like Meshuggah.

Are there bands or musicians that inspired you specifically to play instrumental music? A name like Joe Satriani comes to mind in some of the really technical bits…
I was inspired by bands such as Jaga Jazzist, Tortoise, as well as Jazz and metal bands like Meshuggah. A lot of guitarist had an impact on my playing as well. Vai, Satriani, Holdsworth, Gamable, Petrucci etc.

Did you ever think of asking a guest vocalist to do some parts or would you say that's “not done”?
Not for AAL, but I do intend to make music with various vocalist in the future.

Something that has always intrigued me about instrumental bands is the way you use titles for your songs without any lyrics. How does that process of name-giving work?
I'm usually engrossed in a book and I'll basically remove words and phrases to use as song titles. I really like the effect of things removed from their original context.

What was the main goal you wanted to achieve with the new album, and did you succeed?
The goal was to expand on our original sound and to incorporate the voices of the other band members. I think we succeeded.

What made you decide on the electronic parts? Who wrote them, and how did you implement them into the music? And what about playing them live?
Navene was responsible for all of the electronic production. We're all fans of electronica and feel like the sound design inherent in it are at the forefront of modern music.

What do you think of the term “Djent”? Do you feel in any way related to that term?
Um…not really..

something that strikes me about your style, especially on the new album is the fact that you are a very technical band, but you seem to aim for atmospheres not really showing all you've got all the time, is that right?
Yes. We are concerned with more than just musical complexity. Our main pursuit is to impact the listener on an emotional and cerebral level.

Are you a band that practices like crazy all of the time? Would you consider yourselves guitar nerds?
We actually hardly practice at all. Most work is done individually. We are definitely guitar nerds.

Could you tell me something about the activities next to Animals As Leaders? I have heard about TRAM, when could we expect some material?
TRAM is an improvisational based side project. We recorded an EP last year and hope to have it out in January.

What are your immediate touring plans? Any Dutch gigs?
We are doing a headlining tour in Europe this spring as well as some UK dates supporting Meshuggah. And yes, you can expect us in Holland April 1st when we play in Tilburg.

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