Interviews

Cutting Steak: Anaiah Lei (DARE, The Bots, FireBurn)

DARE (Photo: Errick Easterday)

Who are you?

Anaiah Lei!

Where is your homebase?

Los Angeles, CA. Spent most of my time in Glendale, 91205. 

Who are you currently playing with?

The Bots, DARE, and I’ve started up a new project that’s in the works so I’ll go ahead and mention that much.

Can you pinpoint a place in time when you thought "I want to be a drummer"? How did it all start?

I think it was something I’ve always liked and since I can remember it was something I wanted to do. I got my first kit at 8 years old so it’s been a minute! 

Did you ever take lessons?

Nope not once! 

When you first started playing, who were some of your influences?

Truthfully, one of the first drummers that heavily inspired me was Earl Hudson from Bad Brains. Listening to that S/T record as a little kid was mind-blowing and how precise he is on drums. Y’all already know what I’m talking about. As well as Lucky Lehrer who played in a bunch of early punk bands back in the '80s. That fools insane!

Tell me about your current drum kit and set up.

Right now I’m on an OCDP kit, Avalon Series running the 4 piece. Running a 19” K Custom Hybrid Crash with a ridiculous chunk cut out, 20” K Custom Ride, 22” Paiste Ride and 14” Hats, top is a K and the bottom is a New Beat. With a Pork Pie snare, I’m blanking on the head size [laughs]. 

DARE (Photo: Jose Calixto)

Who are some of your favorite drummers to watch live?

Oh snap, well first off Daniel Fang (Turnstile, Angel Du$t), I don’t even have to say much on that though you’ve heard, you’ve seen, you know. Vincent Nguyen from Modern Color is an insane drummer, straight up. Cayle Sein who drums in far too many bands to even name, is one of my favorite drummers. Zach Hill from Death Grips/HELLA, Ian Shelton from Regional Justice Center… this fool practically lives in Intensity City. Nate Patsfall from Firewalker is so fun to watch! Thomas Pridgen (Residente, Suicidal Tendencies, Chiodos, Mars Volta). Alex Schollen, talk about precision for real. Joe Small from CoolSide, heavy hitter for years don’t you sleep on him. And I haven’t got the chance yet but I really wanna see The Pocket Queen (Taylor Gordon) play live, one of these days!

Do you play any other instruments, and do you write music?

Yeah! I play a bit of bass and guitar, tiny bit of piano. I do write as well.

Tell me about your time in FireBurn, and being in a band with Todd Youth.

It was awesome, I feel blessed to have been asked to play! I was at work when Todd texted me out of the blue telling me he got my number off of Madison Woodward. We jumped on a call and he asked if I’d be down to fill in for this tour they were gonna do with GBH. Eventually after hanging and jamming out for a while he asked if I’d be down to join the band, which meant a lot. Getting to know that dude on a level was really special, and it meant so much to see how hyped he was to have me in the band. He would always hype me up to people right in front of me [laughs] But it’s something I can never forget, it was so special and I miss him a lot, we all do. RIP to my man Youth!

Other than music, I know you’re real into skateboarding. When did your love of skateboarding start?

Yes! Love love love it, and it’s been there as long as I can remember as well. I started skating around the same time I started playing music. 

Who are some of your favorite skaters to watch?

In no particular order: Pat Franklin, Nick Michel, Shinpei Ueno, Justis Walton, Kristin Ebeling, Beatrice Domond, Tony Karr, Amy Ran, Adam and Zack De La Rue, John Benton, Logan Devlin, Aaron McQueen, and Chris Navarro aka Swamp Dad. I mean there’s way more but here’s a couple to show you guys what’s up.

DARE (Photo: Dan Rawe)

The couple times you’ve been in Louisville, KY did you get to go to the skatepark?

Only went once a long time ago, haven’t been back to the park since! 

Recommend an album for the No Echo audience to check out. Something you think they’d never heard before.

I’ll recommend four:

  • Prophet, Wanna Be Your Man 
  • Radioactivity, Radioactivity
  • Cal Tjader, Cal Tjader Sounds Out Burt Bacharach 
  • David Axelrod, Songs of Experience

Descendents or ALL? You can only choose one of them to listen to for the rest of your life. What is your favorite album by (the chosen band)?

Descendents! Milo Goes to College

Top 5 things that can "make your day"?

Oh that’s easy:

  1. Roller skating
  2. Going to a trampoline park
  3. Visiting any place that has any sorta Star Wars memorabilia 
  4. Visiting the Sanrio store 
  5. Skating a mini ramp
Air Anaiah (Photo: Errick Easterday)

What do you have coming up in the near future?

I’ll be out on a small little tour with DARE next month on the East Coast. We’ll be hitting United Blood and Damaged City while out there. DARE is also playing Sound and Fury this summer, so looking forward to that! I’ll be playing with Culture Abuse for some shows they have coming up in the next few months as well. Some stuff in the works not announced yet as well so look out! 

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Tagged: cutting steak, dare, fireburn, the bots

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