FEATURE > ANIMALS AS LEADERS
Javier Reyes asks a soundperson to crank up his Ibanez RGA in the mix. Photo by Sam Charupakorn
Reyes: I had a number of teachers, all at this
one store. My main teacher has been Julio
Sosa. He lives in Washington, D.C., and is
relatively unknown but is phenomenal. He’s a
master of his craft. I started with him when
I was probably 11 or 12 and continued until
I was 15 or 16. Probably about six or seven
years ago, I started studying with him again
and almost became his apprentice, if you
will. I took it to a way more serious level.
Were you also into rock or was it classical
right off the bat?
Reyes: Well, it was a little of both. My first
teacher was a flamenco teacher but then
maybe a year after, my older brother was
playing the electric guitar—so I also wanted
I take ideas from classical guitarists like
Augustin Barrios as well as more modern
artists like Dirty Projectors, and also
different electronic DJs. I listen to their
sound design and how they produce.
For an up-close look at Animals as Leaders’ instrumental
prowess, check out the following clips on You Tube.com.
Dig an entire Animals as Leaders concert
from Kosmonavt in St. Petersburg, Russia,
on September 29, 2011.
You Tube search term: Animals as Leaders concert ( KOCMOHABT 29.09.2011)
Animals as Leaders plays a cut from their
new release, Weightless, at the Murat
Egyptian Room in Indianapolis, Indiana.
You Tube search term: Animals as
Leaders “Cylindrical Sea” LIVE 11/8/11
in Indianapolis IN
Abasi employs unorthodox techniques
to create an otherworldly effect at the
House of Blues in Houston, Texas, on
November 17, 2011.
You Tube search term: An Infinite
Regression - Animals as Leaders,
Houston TX 2011
90 PREMIER GUITAR FEBRUARY 2012
to do it. I started learning Beatles and
Rolling Stones stuff. Then I started with
Julio Sosa and stuck with the nylon-string
for a while. I always played 7-string electric
on my own. I was into metal and listened
to Pantera and Dream Theater and stuff
like that. I was always looking for bands
that highlighted guitars—a little bit of
everything … classic rock, Judas Priest.
What were you listening to growing up,
Abasi: Before I got a guitar, it was whatever was on the pop charts, like Guns N’
Roses and Michael Jackson. I got a guitar
when I was 12, during the beginning of
the whole alternative scene, so it was a
lot of Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, and
Soundgarden. My older brother was playing drums at the time, and he had better
taste than me. He got a lot of the Modern
Drummer Festival videos, which had really
technical players. That was the gateway
into bands like Dream Theater.
Let’s fast-forward to today. Are the solos
on the album worked out or improvised?