FEATURE > ANIMALS AS LEADERS
are a lot of traditionalists who say they
wouldn’t ever play active pickups or
who think a guitar should only have six
strings. So a headless guitar is a turnoff
to someone who’s really into Fenders or
something. Beyond writing progressive
music, I’m pretty progressive minded in
general. I really like for things to evolve,
because that usually means the design is
being refined and actually making our job
easier. So I would love to see more builders taking a completely objective approach
to guitar building as opposed to relying
on tradition 100 percent.
Speaking of being progressive, I’m guess-
ing that knowing what you’re listening to
now might hint at what’s to come in the
future. Who are your current influences?
Reyes: I take ideas from classical guitarists
like Agustín Barrios, as well as more mod-
ern artists like Dirty Projectors and differ-
ent electronic DJs. I listen to their sound
design and how they produce.
Abasi: Jimmy Herring’s a recent discovery.
He gave master classes at the music school
I went to. He’s got a lot of hip, melodic
ideas that are totally taken from bebop
but he’s not playing straight-ahead jazz.
He’s got a great sort of blues element to
all of it. I’m also into jazz guitarists Kurt
Rosenwinkel and Adam Rogers, as well as
bass players like Matthew Garrison. I just
found a really old John Scofield master
class, and the playing on it is just phenom-
enal—really cool ideas. So, apparently now
I’m a Scofield fan.
It’s interesting that you mention
Rosenwinkel and Rogers, because the
clean interlude at 1: 41 in “Somnarium”
sounds like something Ben Monder,
another modern jazzer, might write.
Abasi: Ben Monder, yeah he’s very cool and
has a very bold sense of harmony. It’s cool
that you’re bringing up all these players,
because these are the guys that I’m listening
to who are really inspiring me to push the
melodic envelope. But when it arrives in
metal, it sounds even more striking because,
like you said, there are some decided tonalities that are expected.
Would you ever go in a jazzier direction?
Abasi: Those guys have been influential in
terms of the chord voicings that I use and
the melodic blends I’m trying to create—it’s
just ending up in this sort of metal context.
Would I ever go that complete route? I’m
not the improvisational player that those
guys are, but I think that part of my brain
always wants to be part of that world to
some degree. The music is definitely really
compelling and stimulates my creativity,
but I’m not necessarily concerned with
straight-ahead jazz as a genre or post-bop or
whatever you want to call it.
Reyes: Just knowing Tosin’s personality, he’s
all about just writing whatever he wants to
hear. How we grow as musicians is how the
next album is going to progress. If it tends
to be jazzier [than the past], then that’s
what it is. If it tends to be more metal, then
that’s what it is.
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CARR AMPLIFIERS — MAN MADE IN PITTSBORO, NC
PREMIER GUITAR FEBRUARY 2012 95