In this conversation Animals As Leaders (Matt Garstka, Tosin Abasi, Javier Reyes) and Rick discuss their new album “Parrhesia”, using new guitar techniques for songwriting, how the record was recorded, playing live and more.
New album Parrhesia (2:45)
Songwriting can have multiple forms. In some cases the song can be quickly shaped and written in a day from a riff (as Sting discussed).
In other cases you may have a riff for a while, let it sit (sometimes years), and when the inspiration is right, you return to the idea and craft the song. This occurred for several songs on “Parrhesia”.
New techniques for each record (5:10)
Tosin is very technique driven (check out Rick Beato’s previous interview with Tosin Abasi), developing technique is an opportunity for him to drive more expressiveness from the guitar (something John Petrucci discussed as well).
Practice new techniques and then apply them to your compositions.
The song “Micro-Aggressions” utilizes the selective picking technique.
Combine various techniques to create even more new sounds. The song “Monomyth” features selective picking and thumping techniques happening at the same time.
Recording guitars on Parrhesia (11:45)
Started recording using Tosin’s Neural Archetype Abasi plugin in a studio. The studio had a live room as well, so they re-recorded guitars through an amp in order to compare the recordings (plugin vs live amp).
When you record through a live amp, it does impact your performance and sound.
To Tosin’s ear, there is still a unique quality to a live speaker and mic captured in a recording that isn’t quite present in a plugin.
On this record dialed back the processing for the live guitar tone.
Ultimately it’s a lot of experimentation, trial and error, finding the approach that works for the sound you are envisioning.
Recording drums (21:30)
Tried to minimize hyper editing the drums with samples. Otherwise you’ll lose on the uniqueness of the player. In certain sections that are very technical (such as intense double bass sections) will edit those to make the timing perfect.
Guitars are recorded to the drums.
Playing the new album live (23:30)
With this album they have refined the ability to know how certain songs will translate on stage when played live. In the past they were less conscious of this and composed music with less of the live experience in mind.
Nine string guitar (30:00)
Uncertain on if a nine string guitar will make an appearance in their music in the future. Could be just too much to have nine strings on the guitar.
“Low frequency ranges used conspicuously and synced to drums is a recipe for power, hits the gut brain…”