Formed by the legend that is Tosin Abasi as a solo project after his previous band Reflux disbanded. A representative of Prosthetic records saw Abasi annihilating the guitar on stage and asked if he would cut a solo album for them. Abasi initially declined as he was heading off to music school and didn’t want too many side projects. Luckily for us after he finished school he approached Prosthetic Records and the offer was still open. And lo and behold Animals as Leaders was born.
Abasi recorded the guitar and bass for the first album himself and then Periphery’s Misha Mansoor stepped in to program the drums. Mansoor programmed the drums with Drummer Matt Halpern in mind. Halpern then joined Animals as Leaders for a short while before joining Periphery full time.
Animals as leaders have a unique sound. They are entirely instrumental and offer a wide range of music from djent to jazz. For those of you unfamiliar with Animals as leaders, check out Cafo and prepare to have your minds blown.
Tosin Abasi is everything when it comes to Animals as leaders. He is the founder, writer and guitarist. After the release of the debut album Abasi toured as a fill in Guitarist for Born of Osiris for 7-weeks before Animals as Leaders became a touring band. Abasi took up the guitar when he was 12-years old and quickly began outpacing his friends with his astonishing progress. He is a prime example of what true dedication can accomplish.
Fun Fact: Abasi worked in a cafe before he became a full-time musician.
Reyes has been a guitarist for Animals as Leaders since 2009. He is also the founding member of band Mestis where he plays alongside Animals as Leaders drummer Matt Graska. Mestis is Reyes solo project and it was his chance to express his own musical voice. He wanted to create music that expressed his personality, upbringing, emotions and musical taste.
Fun Fact! Reyes has not one but two signature 8-string guitars!
Gratska has been the drummer for Animals as Leaders since 2012. He has been gigging since he was 12 years old and is thought to have amassed a whopping 25,000 hours of practice on the drums. It is then no surprise that his drumming lessons are sought after and that animal as leaders scooped him up for themselves! You can purchase lessons with Gratska on his personal website as well as check out his blog!
Fun Fact: Gratska released a solo album featuring Joel Stroetzel from Kill Switch Engage at the age of 18.
Tosin Abasi has signature 8 string Ibanez, the Ibanez TAM100 Tosin Abasi Signature 8-string. A lot of thought has gone into making this guitar as easy to play as it is beautiful in sound and clarity. If you don’t know much of Tosin Abasi then it is well worth checking out this video of him talking about and playing his signature guitar. Awesome stuff.
Javier Reyes is a lover of ESP guitars and has a signature guitar series which has the JR-608 and the JR-308. Reyes offers up a really versatile guitar to fit his play style. Everything from heavy metal, djent to smooth finger picking Jazz.
You can check out a review of their signature pick series here!