A signature element in the songwriting techniques I use with my band Animals as Leaders is the incorporation of unusual time signatures, also known as odd meters. In the quest for fresh-sounding new music, we will often superimpose different meters and/or syncopations on top of one another, a technique explored to great extent by many of today’s progressive rock and metal bands, such as Periphery, Dillinger Escape Plan and, of course, Meshuggah.
Tosin Abasi strides into a Hollywood photo studio dressed in a crisp striped jersey, jeans and a pair of horn-rimmed glasses that make him look a bit like the young Dizzy Gillespie. He’s toting a pair of the Ibanez eight-string guitars that have become his stock in trade, sleek-bodied instruments with broad, massive necks that carry the heft and menace of weaponry.
This month, I'd like to talk about a cool, useful technique I sometimes use called “double picking,” which involves repeating each note in a melody twice using alternate (down-up) picking. A good example of this technique can be found in the first solo I play in “An Infinite Regression,” from Animals as Leaders’ latest release, Weightless.
"Earth Departure" is one of the most adventurous tunes on the new Animals As Leaders album, Weightless. The song features some very intense, complex figures that require extremely tight band interplay.
Over the next few months, I'll be demonstrating some of the techniques and approaches I rely on in the writing and performing of the music I play with my band, Animals as Leaders. Hopefully, you will find these ideas useful in your own musical endeavors.