Last night I attended the Tosin Abasi (Animals As Leaders) clinic in Sydney thanks to Dream Music and Australis Music for organising an excellent evening. This has to be one of the most inspiring clinics I have attended for some time, Tosin Abasi is a guitarist who is really pushing the boundaries of guitar playing and Metal, he spoke about how he has been influenced lately by a lot of Jazz and specifically Bebop musicians and that he tries to incorporate some harmony and chord voicings into his own music which is definitely evident on Animals As Leaders’ second album “Weightless”. Tosin also cited Bass players as some of his favourite musicians which is also very apparent in his music as he uses the lower strings of his 8 string Ibanez guitar to play bass lines while he plays chords and melodies over the top with his right hand as illustrated in this video from a clinic earlier this year.
Tosin played quite a few tracks from both the first eponymous album as well as “Weightless” using an LA Custom Shop Ibanez (which you can see in the video below) which features a light blue body, block inlays, a tortoiseshell pickguard, custom wound pickups which he said were slightly lower output from the production model and gold hardware. It’s not a guitar I would personally buy (I preferred the white version he has been using until recently) but somebody did ask if this guitar was available to buy so I’m sure there are plenty of Tosin Abasi fans that are wishing for a signature model. Tosin also plugged into his Fractal Audio Axe-Fx II, a Fractal Audio MFC-101 MIDI Foot Controller and a Boomerang Phrase Sampler (I think it was an older model though like this one) which he used to great effect throughout. In between songs Tosin took questions and explained some of the technqiues used in his compositions such as the double thumbstroke technique he got from Victor Wooten used on ‘An Infinite Regression’ which to be honest is quite mind blowing. There were a lot of great questions which led to some really valuable insights from Tosin and I think I can speak for everyone who attended in saying that we all thoroughly enjoyed every minute. I’m sure that Ibanez 8 string guitars are literally flying out of the door right now as people around the world are being inspired by Tosin’s clinics and performances, it certainly made me even more eager to get my new 7 string and start writing music.
As a bonus I got to hang out after the clinic with my friend and one of Australia’s top luthiers Charles Cilia who is currently building me a 7 string guitar in case you missed it (http://www.guitarnoize.com/my-cilia-custom-7-string-build/). Charles wanted to show Tosin his latest creation in conjunction with Industrial Radio, the Cilia Fretsense guitar (you can check out the prototype in action here) and it was incredible sitting next to Tosin watching him play this instrument, I would love to hear what he would do with this guitar given the time to really explore the possibilities, his reaction to playing the Fretsense was that it was “Intense!”.
Tosin performs ‘CAFO’ from the album ‘Animals As Leaders’
Thank you to Dylan for letting me use his video and check out his channel for more videos from last night’s clinic here.
Tosin performs Somnarium from the album ‘Weightless’
Here’s a bit of a fuzzy photo of me and Tosin: