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Animals As Leaders’ Javier Reyes On Hosting Music Clinics For Fans & Their Australian Tour

Written by Mike Hohnen on December 1, 2016

A matter of weeks ago, Animals As Leaders dropped their latest body of work The Madness Of Many. Fortunately, the band have given Australia some prime real estate in their international album tour, allowing us the privilege of being some of the first to witness the album displayed live.

Since their self-titled 2009 debut album, AAL has become synonymous with both progression and technicality within the heavy music community. You needn’t look too much further than the latest offering to see why.

Calculated, surgical and thoughtful, their music is a magnet for those who’s music diet requires something they can really sink their teeth into. To get a peak beneath the hood of the album, we spoke to guitarist Javier Reyes, who was battling the cold of Canada…

Music Feeds: We’ve got a heat wave here in Sydney, so you’re cooling me down vicariously.

Javier Reyes: I’m not feeling your heat yet…but we’ve only just started.

MF: You’ll be feeling it soon! You have such an adoring fanbase here it must always be a buzz returning.

JR: Yeah, it’s always a good time coming to Australia. They just like good music. I don’t know if there’s a specific factor but the nature of this music comes off a little fresh, and I think people just gravitate towards it.

MF: Your new album ‘The Madness Of Many’ dropped only a matter of days ago, congratulations! How did it all go down?

JR: We’re waiting to hear the numbers of everything but so far what we can see online, the feedback’s been really good. The first week of tours, the feedback from the audience when we play the new material it’s been very positive, so we’re happy on it! Hopefully the numbers come back good and we stay growing.

MF: So you’re already on the road supporting the album. When you’re writing music that’s as thoughtful and technical as Animals As Leaders, does having to translate it live immediately play on your mind?

JR: I think we tried to be conscious of it but at the end of the day we always just try to do whatever’s best for the song. That’s the final conclusion. We tried to have something that can translate live well but sometimes it doesn’t! So far, all of it has so I guess we’ll keep playing it! I can’t say for Australia, but for this tour we’ve been doing Arithmophobia, The Glass Bridge, Inner Assassins and Ectogenesis

MF: With so much going on in your songs and considering recording must have finished some time ago, do you have to go through a process of kind of, rediscovering the tracks?

JR: [Laughs] No. I’ve listened to the songs thousands of times at this point, like, a lot. Each layer, individually by itself, edited and unedited.

MF: Oh yeah, these songs aren’t hiding anything from you anymore.

JR: Correct.

MF: When did Madness Of Many, as we know it now, start to take shape? Did you find yourself tapping the same well as other albums?

JR: We’re always writing. And if we aren’t writing an album we’re writing riffs. When it comes to writing an album, we just compile the riffs we’ve been writing. Whether it’s from years before, or current riffs, we just start compiling them and it goes from there.

It’s rare for it to be completely, at least in the beginning of a song, for the it to come in the moment. It usually starts with a riff that [guitarist] Tosin [Abasi] or I have had for a long time.

MF: So rather than tapping into a well you’re cracked open the treasure trove for the album?

JR: Somwhat, yeah!

MF: You’re one of the few bands who take time out of their touring schedule to take workshops and clinics with your fans. How important is it to the AAL mission statement to give to the next wave of artists?

JR: Musicians are a huge portion of our fanbase so we try to cater to that. It’s also a type of feature we can do that wasn’t a possible thing for bands back in the day. I would have love to go a Dream Theatre show and have John Petrucci give me a lesson, or Mike Portney do a clinic.

Through the internet, through how music has evolved, it’s something that’s pretty cool. It’s a way to connect with fans, beyond the internet that wasn’t available in the past. It’s not the most important thing, but it’s something that we’re hyper-aware of – it’s a tool!

MF: After all these years of doing the clinics, have you met any bands with members that may have been to one?

JR: Yep. Plenty! We’re on tour with one guy. He went to a clinic that Tosin did a long time ago in Australia, he’s got a picture of him and Tosin.

MF: So basically the message is you should go to these clinics…

JR: It works.

MF: And so other than seeing the fans again, what’s buzzing you the most about returning Down Under?

JR: Kangaroo burgers, yo. I’m gonna get my kangaroo burger on.

Animals As Leaders 2017 Australian Tour Dates
Supported by Guests at all shows are guitarists Plini and Nick Johnston.
Tickets available now

Saturday, 25th February
The Triffid, Brisbane
Tickets: Live Nation

Sunday, 26th February
The Metro, Sydney
Tickets: Live Nation

Tuesday, 28th February
170 Russell, Melbourne
Tickets: Live Nation

Wednesday, 1st March
The Gov, Adelaide
Tickets: Live Nation

Thursday, 2nd March
Capitol, Perth
Tickets: Live Nation

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