For many musicians, Tosin Abasi and Animals as Leaders represent the vanguard of modern prog and metal sounds, offering a potent blend of blast beats and 8-string guitar heroics that’s often referred to as prog-metal. Through a run of four records, the D.C.-based trio have become one of the more visible bands in the sub-genre, with Abasi earning a place as an icon of the burgeoning 8-string guitar format.
When we recently caught up with Tosin at the new Abasi Guitars workshop in California, though, the records he cited as some of the key influences on the Animals as Leaders sound represented a breadth of musical styles well beyond the more obvious metal and prog antecedents. New Forms by Roni Size, for instance, Abasi describes as the “quintessential drum and bass record,” while Kurt Rosenwinkel’s The Next Step reflects on the band’s jazz background. Sol Niger Within from Fredrik Thordendal’s Special Defects and The Dillinger Escape Plan’s Calculating Infinity bring in some of the heavier touchpoints, while D’Angelo’s Voodoo represents the exact opposite.
It’s a sonically diverse spread, but for Abasi all these picks share a common theme: “Records you hear and if you make music, you want to make better music.”
Watch the video above to hear Tosin describe these key records in his collection, and scope them out on Reverb LP through the links below.