Tosin Abasi
Model(s) Used: RG7, RG2228
Band: Animals As Leaders
Ibanez: What has Reflux been up to lately?
Tosin: I guess we're not really a band anymore [laughs]. We never officially released anything, but the drummer and I decided that we wanted to go to school for music. So we were just going to take a year off to finish the program that we were doing, and our bassist ended up playing for Animosity. Our singer, Ash, started a record label, and he books other bands full-time. Interestingly enough, Prosthetic Records is going to launch another label for instrumental guitar-oriented music in the vein of the old Shrapnel and Magna Carta stuff, and I'm going to be the first release off of that label. So I've been working on that solo album, and I'm just about done. We're going to start mixing in about a week or so.

Ibanez: How has the approach on that been different from when you were in Reflux?
Tosin: Stylistically, it's way more adventurous. The guitar I got from the Ibanez custom shop is synth-equipped, and I've been using a lot of weird unison synth effects. It's going to be interesting. Just from going to school, I've got way more comprehension of harmonies, and there's more extensions in the chords. They're more colorful. Before with Reflux, I was just playing by ear.

Ibanez: Did you take any kind of lessons when you were younger?
Tosin: No, no lessons. I'm completely self-taught, but there are all sorts of videos like the REH videos and Hot Licks videos from the hair metal days that I would watch. I had all the old videos of Ibanez players like Paul Gilbert and John Petrucci, and that's all that I worked on. I've also always been really into writing, so I would work on the technique stuff and just concentrate on writing riffs. That's where I was, but that's kind of a limited standpoint.

Ibanez: Was there anything that you practiced a lot to develop your technique?
Tosin: Yeah, I practiced a lot of alternate picking stuff with a metronome. Then, I discovered Frank Gambale's economy picking stuff, which is somewhere between sweeping and alternate picking. I got huge into that, and it's a pretty cool way to get around the fretboard. I spent a large portion of time just trying to get proficient with that.

Ibanez: When did you start playing Ibanez guitars?
Tosin: I started playing when I was 12, and that was just some crappy no-name guitar. A friend of mine had an RG, and I thought it was just the slickest guitar. I didn't get my first Ibanez until I was about 17 or 18 years old. It was an S 7-string. After that I got a Universe, and then I got the Ibanez endorsement deal. Now I have the custom, and it's pretty much all I play.

Ibanez: I was going to ask you, what models do you currently play the most?
Tosin: I would say definitely the Universe and the custom I got. The custom is a neck-thru RGA 7-string with synth out and piezos. I've been using those quite a bit. I wouldn't be able to perform half the stuff on this new CD without those piezos and the synth out. That's definitely my main axe.

Ibanez: Was there anything in particular that drew you to those models?
Tosin: Yeah, I like the super strat shape. I liked that it was pointier. I wasn't huge into Vs or Explorer type bodies, but I didn't like the completely rounded look of the strats. The Ibanez RG is just a perfect straight-ahead guitar. With the single-coil/humbucker setup and tremolo systems, it just seemed like it was made for playing fast. They're really versatile guitars, too.

Ibanez: What else do you have coming up this year? Are you going to be doing any touring for this new album?
Tosin: Right now we're just trying to finish the album up. It's paralleling the launch of the label, so I think it's going to be a pretty big deal. He's still thinking of the label name. Essentially, it was kind of inspired by the stuff I was doing with Reflux. He saw how people were reacting to it, and thought there might be something there. The album has been taking a little while because of scheduling conflicts, but it should be done by the end of June for a fall release. I just want to put the CD out and then get back out and play for people.

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