Animals As Leaders’ Tosin Abasi + Javier Reyes Talk ‘The Joy of Motion’ Album, Critical Acclaim + More
Animals as Leaders have garnered plenty of critical acclaim in just a few short years and the band is onto their always crucial third album, ‘The Joy of Motion.’ The disc just dropped in late March and finds the band laying down plenty of sick riffs for fans to digest.
The band’s guitarists — Tosin Abasi and Javier Reyes — were the guests on Full Metal Jackie’s weekend show and they took some time to speak about the album, their creative process and how they’ve dealt with the critical acclaim thrown their way. Check out Full Metal Jackie’s interview with Animals as Leaders’ Tosin Abasi and Javier Reyes below:
It’s Full Metal Jackie bringing you two full hours of metal each and every week. We have the guitarists from Animals as Leaders — Tosin Abasi and Javier Reyes. Welcome, guys!
Tosin Abasi: Thank you! What’s up?
Javier Reyes: What’s going on?
Thanks so much for being on the show. A brand new record from Animals as Leaders out in stores now. It is called ‘The Joy of Motion.’ Let’s talk about the record. Creatively, how blurry is the line that separates technical expertise from instinct and feel and how does using both approaches best suit Animals as Leaders?
TA: I think our intuition is basically what guides us to decide what we decide is good music. Right? I guess why we write technical music is because we have been listening to progressing and technical music for so long that it becomes what we naturally create ourselves. So, we aren’t being super cerebral in trying to make the song overly complex or anything like that but we have consumed a steady diet of complex music to the point where it is kind of like our bread and butter.
Your music is so intricate. Certainly the sort of music that would be difficult to create just be jamming together so how does collaboration work in this band and how important is collaboration to the end result. In this case the latest record, ‘The Joy of Motion.’
TA: We don’t collaborate in the conventional sense like in the jam room like you were saying. It is more either Javier or I, we will basically start a song idea on the guitar. It will be maybe four loose parts and for me what I will do, I try not to compose a song fully on the guitar. We will get together, whether it is with Misha or Diego, he produced some songs, where as a band we will record these sort of skeletal parts into a recording program and we will start to program drums there just to build a working framework for the song. We will sequence it from there and it gives us a way of actually being the composer and the listener at the same time. We just add the layers and stuff like that from there.
‘The Joy of Motion,’ it works as catchy song and also as music that reveals elaborate nuances the more anyone listens to it. Who inspired that sense of musically craftsmanship to create music that works on multiple levels?
TA: I think as individuals we still hold the aesthetic of liking good music. In respect of how well we can play guitar, I think what inspires us musically is something that is impactful so I know with Javier and myself we try to temper all of the technical stuff with a heavy dose of something that is highly listenable.
JR: I also feel that we are fans of conventional music. We like pop music, we like dance music but also at the same time we are fans of our instrument and of writing things that are interesting for us to play but at the same time combining it with that conventional ear. I think that’s the basic approach that we try to do.
We have the guitarist from Animals as Leaders Tosin and Javier with us in studio talking about ‘The Joy of Motion,’ their new album. You have both have been praised as important players in the current metal scene. How do you process that praise without feeling pressure to live up any expectation?
JR: At least for me, I think that I just try to continue on the same path. I try not to pay too much attention to that because like you said it is pressure. If it builds too much then it could have a negative effect. I think just trying to become a better player, a better listener and overall a better writer.
TA: Yeah, I would kind of second that. When I first did the self-titled album it was more that no one had necessarily heard of me and had a year’s worth of writing that I really wanted to get out to people and it wasn’t spurred on by any sort of idea of competition but more of me being inspired by the greatest guitarists that I had ever heard. Then being thrown around in the same sentences as some of the greatest guitarists that I had ever heard it started to change the dynamic to where I felt that I had to maintain a level of technical prowess or maybe exceed what I had done before and that definitely had started to become a negative influence so I think on this album I made a conscious effort to not to compete with myself or anyone else and just do something that was musical.
What can we expect in term of touring for 2014?
TA: We are currently working on booking a secondary market tour. Probably starting May 17 we will start a tour on the East Coast. We are also playing Skate and Surf Festival in Jersey and in late May, Bonnaroo. I think the Friday of Bonnaroo. We are pretty stoked about that.
Very cool. You guys are really good about doing everything on social media. Follow the band and see what’s to come. I appreciate you guys being on the show. Good luck with this new record.
TA: Thank you.
Pick up Animals as Leaders’ new album ‘The Joy of Motion’ at iTunes. This coming weekend, Full Metal Jackie will welcome Mastodon’s Troy Sanders on her show. Full Metal Jackie can be heard on radio stations around the country — for a full list of stations, go to fullmetaljackieradio.com.