Animals As Leaders

Interview: Animals As Leaders – Tosin Abasi

I also want to ask you about your new band T.R.A.M. (T.R.A.M. stands for Terrazas, Reyes, Abasi, Moore. Adrian Terrazas (Mars Volta), Javier Reyes and Tosin Abasi (Animals As Leaders) and Eric Moore (Suicidal Tendencies )), how did you form?

T.R.A.M. was unexpected. We were jamming with this sax player Adrian Terrazas (former Mars Volta) with the aim to do some jazz trio gigs but literally, during the first rehearsal we produced music and had a full song. From there we were compelled to continue to rehearse for a few weeks and eventually we had a body of work that we decided we should record. It already existed there in front of us so why not record it. We never intended to start a full project but it just happened.

I know that you are a fan of a lot of other types of music so what about that project excites you compared to the work you do with Animals As Leaders?

It’s a chance to showcase improvisation as well as instrumentation like woodwind instruments and other percussion. The drumming style is more improvisational with this overall sort of gospel meets jazz fusion type of stuff. For me it was the chance to work on material that I had written but wouldn’t work with Animals As Leaders. We also have vocals with T.R.A.M. like we spoke about.

What happened with the album release?

There were issues with the mixing engineer that we wanted to use. Basically he just wasted a lot of our time. He held onto the recordings for a long time and when we eventually got them back they weren’t what we wanted. We had to regroup and then that put everything back further.

Do you have goals or ambitions with this project? Do you see it becoming a full time touring band with the aim to create several more albums or will it be a downtime project, play some shows here and there and maybe record every couple of years?

Right now I’m not sure to be honest with you. I’m still a little surprised I’m even doing this project because my mind was focussed on Animals As Leaders but when something works well then why stop a good thing. I think T.R.A.M. will really just be doing something when every member is available to do something. If we all happen to have some time off then that will be when we are active.

Are there any other genres or types of music you think that you may, when the time is right, start a project to do something different again or maybe even just record and self-release?

I’m not really a genre guy. I like trying to combine everything that I love then just strip a lot of it back so it fits what I’m doing. T.R.A.M. is a really sweet outlet for a lot of my other musical tastes because although the primary focus may be seen as jazz, I think that is where a lot of experimenting may be done. I don’t know at this stage to be perfectly honest, in the near future I may end up trying something new but right now Animals As Leaders and T.R.A.M. let me fulfil my musical desires.

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