In addition to dates with Meshuggah in the UK, Animals As Leaders have a North American tour with Thrice coming up in May. However, the instrumental prog metal group will be embarking on those tours without drummer Navene Koperweis.
Koperweis, who joined the group in 2010 and appeared on their latest album Weightless, announced this past weekend that he was leaving Animals As Leaders. The drummer offered the following explanation:
“Tosin [Abasi, guitar] and Javier [Reyes, guitar] are the two most generous, caring and understanding individuals I’ve ever met and I look forward to a lifetime of friendship with the both of them. Over the past decade I have done nothing but music. Recording, writing, playing, practicing, touring and producing. It’s taken me beyond what I could have dreamt of as a kid when I started. My new goals extend beyond the drum kit and I’m the type of person who will constantly chase new dreams. You’ll be seeing a lot more of me soon.”
Guitarist and founding member Tosin Abasi had the following to add about Koperweis’ departure:
“I’ve shared some of my most memorable musical experiences to date with Navene and truly consider him a brother. I commend him for following his own path in life, even if that means i’ll no longer be sharing the stage with him. I feel blessed to have had the pleasure of working together and creating a lifelong friendship.”
While Koperweis will surely be missed by fans, Animals As Leaders have already found a replacement. Filling in on drums for their upcoming touring commitments will be Matt Garstka (formerly of Gokh Bi System, Two Man Trio and Verse The Fire). Abasi had the following to say about Garstka:
“We see nothing but great potential with Matt, and look forward to performing with him on the upcoming tours. We feel very excited for the future of AAL, which is brighter than ever. I’m beyond excited for our fans to hear some of the new music we already have brewing for the future!”
The band has released an introduction video for Garstka, which can be seen after the jump.