As one of the main stars of Ibanez Guitar Festival that took place on 22–23 June in Gutenstetten, Germany, in the premises of Meinl Distribution, among Paul Gilbert and Gary Willis, Tosin Abasi performed on stage with his Animals As Leaders and lead a series of workshops for the audience of the festival. Visitors from across Europe had a chance to ask questions to their guitar (and bass) gurus and to participate in Masterclass workshops limited to 15 people. TopGuitar took the opportunity to talk with Tosin Abasi just after his Masterclass session.
TopGuitar: You have been teaching guitar during workshops and guitar clinics for some time now, so you can be considered an experienced professor….
Tosin Abasi: My amount of formal musical education is actually quite small. I did one year at the Atlanta Institute of Music, so I wouldn’t say I’m a professor. My sight reading is pretty poor, I don’t have an endless amount of knowledge about diatonic harmony and all the stuff, but I think I do a pretty good job on translating my approach on the guitar to the people who are interested.
TopGuitar: Being present in Ibanez catalogs years ago meant to be recognized by the people that looked into those catalogs like into music magazines in search of new interesting artists, subsequently trying to find and listen to their music. Nowadays, as the majority of musical and informational movement transferred to the internet, what being an Ibanez artist on an event like the Ibanez Guitar Festival here gives you from promotional point of view?
Tosin Abasi: I think for us it’s cool to strengthen the relationship with Ibanez and Meinl. Also there’s a lot of European press like you guys here, that we haven’t had the chance to be face to face with [before] and I think that’s going to create a lot more awareness in those various countries. And then, it’s just a cool event for us. Paul Gilbert is one of the artists here and he’s someone who I studied when I started to learn guitar in general, so to be considered peer with him and to be on the same stage with him and Gary Willis – all these guys that I looked up to – that’s one of the cool things about this too, just being amongst other really great musicians.