Rick Beato’s Tosin Abasi Interview Summary

This post contains my summary notes from Rick Beato’s interview with guitarist Tosin Abasi.

In this conversation Tosin and Rick discuss the Progressive Metal genre, complex harmonies and rhythm, Tosin’s influences, Allan Holdsworth, recording and more!

Check out Tosin’s Masterclass for more lessons on his technique, influences and songwriting.

Full interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSECY4kPflc

Summary Notes

Fusing Metal with Complex Harmony (4:55)

Use arpeggiation to outline complex chords so they won’t sound as dissonant if you were to strum the chord with distortion.

Layer clean guitar over the distorted chord. As if you were using a keyboard pad.

Untraditional scales and harmony in metal (6:20)

Allan Holdsworth’s approach to harmony and lead guitar was a major inspiration.

Utilize different scales (and modes) to create a mood.

For me as a metal musician, the heavy dynamic was impactful, the rhythmic expression was impactful, but I wasn’t satisfied with the basic harmony I was hearing, because I knew how impactful harmony could be…for me progressive is like going into space, expanding beyond our planet…”

Allan Holdsworth (8:15)

To me he stands on top as far as pushing guitar harmony forward in a context that wasn’t straight ahead jazz…”

Complex rhythms (12:10)

Syncopation with a locked in band is a very effective way to communicate heaviness.

Earlier days of metal had simpler rhythms, a natural evolution has introduced more complexity.

Bands like Dillinger Escape Plan, Between the Buried and Me, Candiria, Meshuggah.

I feel like I haven’t created much, I’m pulling from bands like Meshuggah and Dillinger and stuff like that…”

Prog Metal (14:05)

Elements that make it compelling: rhythmic intensity, sonic intensity, bringing in synthesizers that you wouldn’t find in traditional riff based metal bands

In modern progressive metal see the introduction of syncopation, complex rhythm, complex drumming.

Traditional metal was like a war march, while prog metal is more scientific, analytical, nerdy.

Recording setup (19:30)

Used the Abasi Neural DSP plugin with GetGood Drums Zilla pack plugin.

Prog Metal continued (22:45)

The spectrum of human emotion is wide, it has dark elements, and pop music tends to avoid this spectrum.

Metal carries that torch of using music as a vehicle to express some of the darker elements of human psychology…”

Dream Theater fused the instrumental complexity with operatic style vocals. It’s difficult to find a vocalist like that which could be why numerous prog metal bands are instrumental.

Dillinger Escape Plan defined their own lane of metal, they are extreme and dynamic.

Meshuggah mutated into an original thing, they have their own vision of what metal should be.

Metal as a genre, past a certain point doesn’t limit you musically, you’re allowed to have an 11-minute song that doesn’t repeat…”

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