Animals as Leaders: 'We're Not Perfectionists'

Guitarist Javier Reyes also discusses being a "Meshuggah fan girl."

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As instrumental prog metallers Animals as Leaders are cooking up the spring release of their new album, guitarist Javier Reyes discussed the band's recording approach and work ethics.

Despite what most would expect from such a technically advanced act, Reyes insists that the trio is by no means overly pedantic. "I don't think we're perfectionists," he told Tone Deaf. "It may seem like we are but I don’t think so. When we first started, we were trying to read critic reviews a lot because it was exciting that people cared. But I've definitely stopped caring about what critics say. We're just trying to do what we do. We're stoked that we can keep doing it and we'll keep doing it as much as we can."

Discussing the new album that "should be released around March-April," Javier vaguely described the group's intentions with the fresh material. "I think it starts off as an idea, an aesthetic that we want to try and achieve, an Animals as Leaders sound," he explained. "It's hard to say. I don't think there is an overall goal. We try and write what sounds good to us, and what Animals As Leaders is to us, or just what we think it is.

Finally, the axeman focused on the band's North American tour with Meshuggah back in early 2013, giving Kudos to Swedish djent masters as one of the finest live acts out there. "I learned a lot, and then I learned that they invented some of the heaviest music you could ever write, in 1996 or something [laughs]," he said. "I was just stoked every day and being a fan girl watching Meshuggah. Pretty amazing."

Animals as Leaders are currently busy tracking and wrapping up the new effort. As Reyes noted during a separate Loud magazine chat, the band is most excited about implementing a "new technique," as well as using "real drums," something the trio hasn't done in the past.

8 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I know this is only slightly relevant, but I get annoyed by it and its something more people should know. I always see videos of them tracking bass in the studio and people are always saying "HURR DURR AaL WITH BASS WUT?!? HURRR". All the albums have bass on them, its tracked by Tosin and the new album is tracked by Nolly. They have a backing track for bass, synths and extra guitars when they play live.
    I don't see why people would be too surprised that they record bass in the studio to beef up that low end a bit, 8 strings may reach well into the bass register, but the low strings sure as hell don't have the same characteristics as a bass.
    If there was one person in this band who was a perfectionist, it'd be Matthew Garstka. Javier and Tosin deserve respect for sure, but Matt has an amazing ability to be very accurate, precise, and technical. Even if he's doing it for 'the love of music,' he's still tight. They're all tight.
    Weightless is my favourite album by them. Can't wait for the new album, but I'm worried about Navene not being in the band anymore. I think that his contribution (incredible drumming, electronic elements, production) made Weightless so special for me.
    Garstka is pretty amazing though, if you havnt seen the live video of their song "weightless", i think it is, for some drum mag, he pulls an incredible solo just in the middle of the band performing the song, was really impressive to watch.