ANIMALS AS LEADERS Parts Ways With Drummer

Progressive instrumental pioneers ANIMALS AS LEADERS return to the road next weekend, when they will kick off their first European headlining tour in Tilburg, Holland on April 1. Their headlining dates will surround a week's worth of U.K. shows alongside MESHUGGAH, a band ANIMALS AS LEADERS mastermind Tosin Abasi cites as a major influence. Immediately after returning from Europe, ANIMALS AS LEADERS will embark on its first North American tour of the year as they support THRICE on that group's farewell tour.

These upcoming ANIMALS AS LEADERS shows will not include drummer Navene Koperweis, who has decided to leave the group. Koperweis says, "Tosin 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."

Adds Abasi, "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."

Filling in for Koperweis on ANIMALS AS LEADERS' European and North American tours will be the Boston-based Matt Garstka, a Berklee alumnus who has previously played with the groups GOKH BI SYSTEM, TWO MAN TRIO and VERSE THE FIRE.

"We see nothing but great potential with Matt, and look forward to performing with him on the upcoming tours," Abasi says. "We feel very excited for the future of ANIMALS AS LEADERS, 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!"

ANIMALS AS LEADERS' second full-length album, "Weightless", sold 6,100 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at position No. 92 on The Billboard 200 chart.

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