Interview: Tosin Abasi of Animals as Leaders

Animals as Leaders has been making a name for its self since 2008 with the release of their self titled debut album. The driving force behind the band is the lead guitarist, Tosin Abasi.  I began the day not knowing what to expect. I took the train to center city and walked a good eight blocks to South Street to get to the TLA. After a couple of hours of waiting I met Tosin Abasi, the brain child of Animals as Leaders and got the chance to pick his mind on the band’s music, his influences and the future of Animals as Leaders.

Just to begin with the basics how did Animals as Leaders begin?

It started as a solo project for me until I decided I’d rather have it be a band.

How did you pick the musicians that you play live with?

Naveene (Koperweis) and I have been friends since he was playing with Animosity. I just knew how capable he was. Then he started composing his own stuff and that was even more impressive, playing guitar and tracking everything himself. I knew that he’d be an asset even beyond drumming. Javier (Reyes)I’ve known for over ten years and I just knew he could handle the chords.

Do you think this will be the final line-up for Animals as leaders?

Yea, I mean we’re open to including various instrumentalists such as a saxophone player or something else to experiment with different sounds.

How did you transition from touring with Born of Osiris to playing calmer music?

I had finished the Animals as Leaders album before I joined Born of Osiris for those tours. I thought it would be really cool to just get on stage and not have to play all this lead articulate stuff and just get to rock out. That was a lot of fun playing rhythm guitar for them. Then I started to realize why I made my album…

Who would you say is your biggest influence on guitar?

Biggest influence on guitar… I mean it’s changed over the years. Currently I’m really into Kurt Rosinwinkel.

Do you plan on making another album any time soon or are just going to tour off of this one for a while?

We’re writing stuff write right now. We plan to have it finished by the end of the year.

Tosin Abasi

How does it feel to be on this heavier tour while you guys play music that is a lot more relaxed?

To be honest we haven’t done a tour that makes a shit ton of sense. Besides the Between the Buried and Me tour. So we always feel like we’re kind of the odd balls. But the reception has actually been really warm. I like it, I’m kind of a unique person and I’m used to standing out. I think it’s good that on a ten band package that people can hear us and it might stick, so I think it works out.

Do you think there would be a market for a tour with exclusively instrumental bands and what would be some bands you’d like to tour with?

I think that would be cool. We’d like to go out with, Tortoise, Battles or Jaga Jazzist. These are bands that are far from the metal scene but are really amazing.

I must explain my next question. Right before AAL’s song, “C.A.F.O” Tosin announced that the song was dedicated to Johnny Davy and the band, A Life Once Lost. I was curious as to why this was. The answer was less complicated than I expected…

The guys in ALOL are here and we’ve just been boys with them for a while. Then Johnny and Navene have that record out now so I just decided to shout them out.

Will the most recent song you guys put on Itunes (“Wave of Babies”) be put on the new album or was that just a single?

I wrote that song for the album it just didn’t make it on to the album. It’s more of just a bonus song. We won’t re-record it but we are playing it live.

Do you guys have any plans for after Summer Slaughter?

We actually got onto a really cool tour; however it hasn’t been announced so I don’t think I can say anything.

The tour just happened to be announced a couple of days later and it will trail across the United States with Animals as leaders, Dredg, Codeseven and Circa Survive headlining. The tour will begin in Hartford, CT on 15 October and end in New York on the 28 of November. The tour dates will be posted below.

Animals as Leaders, Codeseven, Dredg and Circa Survive US tour dates.

10/15 – Hartford, CT – The Webster
10/16 – Asbury Park, NJ – Stone Pony
10/17 – Towson, MD – The Recher Theatre
10/19 – Carrboro, NC – Cat’s Cradle
10/20 – Charleston, SC – The Music Farm
10/21 – Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade
10/22 – Lake Buena Vista, FL – House Of Blues
10/23 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL – Revolution
10/26 – New Orleans, LA – House of Blues
10/27 – Houston, TX – House Of Blues
10/29 – San Antonio, TX – White Rabbit
10/30 – San Antonio, TX – White Rabbit
10/31 – Dallas, TX – House Of Blues
11/04 – Anaheim, CA – House Of Blues
11/05 – San Diego, CA – House Of Blues
11/06 – Hollywood, CA – Avalon
11/07 – San Francisco, CA – The Regency Ballroom
11/09 – Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom
11/10 – Seattle, WA – El Corazon
11/12 – Salt Lake City, UT – The Complex
11/13 – Denver, CO – The Summit Music Hall
11/14 – Kansas City, MO – The Beaumont Club
11/17 – Minneapolis, MN – Cabooze On The West Bank
11/18 – Milwaukee, WI – The Eagles Club
11/19 – Chicago, IL – House Of Blues
11/20 – Detroit, MI – St. Andrews Hall
11/21 – Cleveland, OH – House Of Blues
11/23 – Poughkeepsie, NY – The Chance
11/24 – Boston, MA – House Of Blues
11/26 – Philadelphia, PA – Theatre Of Living Arts
11/27 – New York, NY – Irving Plaza
11/28 – New York, NY – Irving Plaza

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About Dan Clark

I'm a student at the Kutztown University of Pennsylvania who is working on becoming a journalist. I have an interest in all genres of music but focus primarily on Metal, Punk, and Alternative Rock.

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