The Potential Lunatics
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The Potential Lunatics

Downey, California, United States | SELF

Downey, California, United States | SELF
Band Alternative Punk


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"The Potential Lunatics’ Punk Rock Debut Album"

According to Emma, 15, and Isaac, 13, “Well Trained Youngsters” is a musical testimonial of a coming of age. The teenage brother and sister duo who under the name of The Potential Lunatics are putting their own spin on punk rock music, are releasing their debut album on June 29 and are hoping you join them for the celebration.

“Well Trained Youngsters” will be celebrated with a Dick and Jane themed party like no other (think Jell-O snacks, peanut butter sandwiches and animal crackers included), and will culminate The Potential Lunatics’ first round with music making.... - Quinceanera Magazine

"The Potential Lunatics’ Punk Rock Debut Album"

According to Emma, 15, and Isaac, 13, “Well Trained Youngsters” is a musical testimonial of a coming of age. The teenage brother and sister duo who under the name of The Potential Lunatics are putting their own spin on punk rock music, are releasing their debut album on June 29 and are hoping you join them for the celebration.

“Well Trained Youngsters” will be celebrated with a Dick and Jane themed party like no other (think Jell-O snacks, peanut butter sandwiches and animal crackers included), and will culminate The Potential Lunatics’ first round with music making.

Here’s a the rundown on the Simons-Araya sibings: who they are, what they play, and what sets them apart from other teenagers their age, and an exclusive video performance of the duo at the studios.

Enjoy and save the date!

Emma: “I’ve wanted to start a band ever since I was really little. So at age 8, my dad taught me how to play the bass and guitar. Isaac then learned how to play the drums and that’s how the band was born.”

Isaac: “Emma writes the lyrics, guitar and bass and I add the drums. My style is softer than hers and I think it’s because our personalities are so different. She’s more out there than I am. I’ve actually been compared to Keith Moon (The Who) and John Bonham (Led Zeppelin), so that’s pretty crazy. We don’t sound like Led Zeppelin but the comparison itself is pretty nice.”

Emma: “There are a couple of things that make us different from most kids our age. For the most part, my brother and I are home schooled and I don’t have a cell phone! So I’m not texting people all the time or anything like that. I also write a lot and that’s how I’ve come up with our songs. Our music is about teenager stuff and thoughts that go through my head. For example, the first song I ever wrote is on the album. The name of the song is “Deranged Love Song”, it’s about being young and trying to figure things out, like having a crush on someone and stuff like that. It’s actually very embarrassing but to a certain degree I think music making has helped me figure things out somehow."

"Well Trained Youngsters is a collection of the songs that we wrote about three years ago and songs that I wrote not that long ago. So I guess you can say that it’s a compilation of a pre-teen's life story and the turning point of them actually becoming a teenager.”
- Quinceanera Magazine

"ROCK ‘N’ ROLL FUN, The Potential Lunatics: Not kidz bop"

If the Potential Lunatics were 15 or 20 years older, we might lend them the same skeptical ear that perks up any time a band cites Nirvana or the Pixies as significant influences. But unlike the rest of us, singer/guitarist Emma Simons-Araya can’t remember the day Kurt Cobain died—can’t even begin to, actually. She was born the following year.Where a typical 14-year-old girl might rattle off the names of all three Jonas brothers with ease, Emma, who arrives at our interview sporting Manic Panic blue bangs, a red plaid skirt and a Pixies shirt, immediately recognizes the shirt I’m wearing just for the occasion, a faded black tee with “Show Me Your Riffs” emblazoned across the chest: “Corin wore that!” she exclaims, referencing the original shirt worn by Sleater-Kinney’s Corin Tucker. Emma missed their 1994 debut by a few months, too.“I definitely like ’90s music, [but] it’s not like I remember it or anything,” she says. “I mean, I was born in 1995, so I wasn’t really there to experience it—but from what I read, it was awesome!”Younger brother Isaac—turning 12 in January—joins Emma in the band on drums, an instrument he first picked up at age 9 after six years spent toying around with a glockenspiel (“I stopped because I didn’t know how to actually play it,” he says). Growing up, music was all around them, says Isaac: mom Cecille’s parents were jazz musicians, dad Cisco plays guitar and you may know uncle Tom—Tom Araya—from Slayer.Cecille and Cisco played the Beatles for young Emma and Isaac, but it was sister Aubrey (older than Emma by 10 years) who first introduced them to punk and riot grrrl. After starting out on bass (“[I was playing] the Ramones, which isn’t really ‘good-playing’ bass, but kind of more like punk bass”), Emma asked Cisco to teach her guitar: “I wanted to learn how to play a song for my friend Grace because she was moving, and so I learned how to play ‘Good Riddance’ by Green Day.”And then, after “playing music together for like our whole lives,” as Emma puts it—initial jams took the form of lip-synced Rancid sing-a-longs set to air guitars and air drums—the two decided to form a band in September 2008, writing punk/grunge songs that are definitely not kidz bop (“I wanna be the one who smiles as you play,” sings Emma on the simply fantastic “Deranged Love Song”). Though early audiences assumed otherwise, anyway: “This one guy was like, ‘Wow, what is this, the school talent show?’” Emma recalls. “[Afterward], we were just like, ‘Whatever.’ We got up and left!”Many shows have since followed (including one last month that saw the band covering Sleater-Kinney’s “Modern Girl” and Hole’s “Doll Parts” and another with a Taylor Swift cover—“Yoouuuuuu Belooooong Witttthhh Meeeee,” Emma reenacts in a monster growl) and an EP, too. A full-length album is on its way in the new year. As for a tour: “Ahhh I wish!” says Emma. “My parents are all, ‘Can’t do that—I don’t want to be stuck in the car with you guys!’”Well, someday, maybe. Unless infighting doesn’t get the better of the Potential Lunatics first: “Usually when we have fights it’s about who’s going on the computer,” says Emma. “Like, ‘Hey, it’s my turn to go on the computer!’ ‘No! I’m playing a game!’” - The District Weekly

"Teen musicians are showing just how quickly youth can be served"

Emma and Isaac Simons-Araya have played a show at L.A.'s Grammy Museum as the night's closing act. They've played in bars, at music festivals, at the famed Los Angeles underground rock club The Smell.

And they're all of 15 and 13 years old, respectively .

The brother and sister are the Potential Lunatics, a Long Beach-based punk duo they formed almost three years ago.

They've played shows throughout Long Beach, Los Angeles and Orange County since then. And on Wednesday, they'll hold an all-ages record-release party for their first full-length album, "Well Trained Youngsters," at the Expo Building in Long Beach.

Emma and Isaac come from a musical family. Their father is a professional guitarist and

Emma Simons-Araya, 15, sings and plays guitar in the punk band The Potenital Lunatics. (Steve McCrank/Staff Photographer)
sound technician, and their uncle, Tom Araya, plays bass for the metal band Slayer.
Emma says she remembers music always playing at home, from folk and world music to punk and grunge.

"A lot of the stuff we listened to when we were really young inspired us," she said. "I used to want to be like that - it kind of stuck in my brain. I started playing bass when I was 8 because I knew I wanted to start a band."

She had started writing songs very young, she says, before she had a band to play them. But she eventually persuaded Isaac to learn drums ("I was forced to for two months, and then I got better and it got more fun," he said), and in September 2008, the siblings formed the Potential Lunatics.

They play


energetic, bratty grunge and punk. Emma, the band's songwriter, says she drew inspiration from the melodic hard rock of Nirvana and Foo Fighters, her favorite bands. She and Isaac also say the speed and intensity of punk make it fun to play.
Emma's lyrics mostly make feminist statements and societal critiques - as she joked, "predictable punk band things." But some also touch on ideas of love, home and growing older.

"I have to get really frustrated and think that I'm never going

Isaac Simons-Araya, 13, drums in a punk band called The Potenital Lunatics. (Steve McCrank / Staff Photographer)
to be able to write again before I can write a good song," Emma said.
The band first took the stage a month after they formed, and the siblings soon started taking gigs at venues such at the Blue Cafe and Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, and Downey's Anarchy Library.

After almost a year of playing shows and working with the Orange County chapter of the worldwide songwriters organization Just Plain Folks, the band became intent on recording an album.

They had produced a four-track EP in a friend's garage several months after they formed the band, and Emma says they wanted to get back to a studio.

Bobbo Byrnes, an independent music producer they met through a show, offered to record a single after

Teenage siblings Emma Simons-Araya, 15, and Isaac, 13, have formed a punk band called The Potenital Lunatics. The two work on one of their tracts with Bobbo Byrnes, right, at Byrnes' Westminster studio, Wandering Star Recording Studio. (Steve McCrank/Staff Photographer)
hearing Emma play it at a Just Plain Folks meeting.
The band was so happy with the song that in December 2009 they asked Byrnes to produce a whole album.

"They had such a clear vision of what they wanted everything to do," Byrnes said. "They're more professional than most people I work with."

In long days at Byrnes' house and at Secret Ninja Studios in Westminster, Emma and Isaac recorded every track between trips to Taco Bell and Cold Stone Creamery.

The mixing took about another six months - partly because, Emma says, she had a certain sound in mind and was a perfectionist about achieving it.

"When we were recording the EP, we had a little more raw of a sound. On the record, it's not as raw-sounding," she said. "I think we took it a little more seriously. This was the first record, and we wanted to make it right."

The album's 12 songs span the Potential Lunatics' three-year life, including the first song Emma ever wrote for the band and a cover of alternative rock forefathers Big Star.

Emma says the recording process gave her and Isaac a better idea of the creative opportunities of a studio.

"We've been writing things that are bigger-sounding. It's definitely sounding more full," she said. "We're getting a clearer image of what we want to be in the future."

The record-release party will have a 1950s theme, with Dick and Jane-style attire encouraged, because Emma and Isaac are fans of the era's clothing and popular culture.

It will be open to all ages - and actually welcomes kids with party games such as musical chairs, as well as a performance from the band.

Emma and Isaac say their music reaches kids as well as adults, but that the two audiences sometimes connect with the songs in different ways.

Kids dance and throw themselves into the - The Daily Breeze


Eating Paste [EP], 2009

Well Trained Youngsters [LP], 2011
Produced by Bobbo Byrnes at Wandering Star Studios and Ryan Hafer at Secret Ninja Studios

more info at



The Potential Lunatics are a Long Beach based teenage brother and sister alternative/punk band.

Younger then most bands that were actually around to see the bands that influence them, The Potential Lunatics take cues from Bratmobile, Bikini Kill, Nirvana, Babes In Toyland, X Ray Spex, Patti Smith, The Runaways, The Adverts, Sex Pistols, Ramones, The Damned, Devo, and more!

Emma Simons-Araya (guitar, vocals) sings about Sylvia Plath, playground scabs, doing the dishes, and other hot and raging topics. While Isaac Simons-Araya (drums, vocals) murders his drum set with a slick face and forearms working like Keith Moon and Animal the Muppet combined.

Since 2008 they've wowed audiences with their passion, angst, and passive aggression.

The Potential Lunatics have played venues such as: The Smell, Grammy Museum, Crocodile Cafe, Gilmans, DiPiazza's, Orange County Fair, Blood Orange Info Shop, Tribal Cafe, Viento Y Agua, Aquarium of the Pacific, Project Infest Warehouse, the Expo, Blue Cafe, Sam Ash, Beach Music, Anarchy Library.

And events such as: MethodFest Film Festival, Grrrl Fair, Ladyfest L.A., Ladyfest IE, Riot Grrrl Carnival, Garth's Jelly Donut: No Stairway, Zombie Walk Long Beach, First Fridays Long Beach, Anaheim Art Walk, Orange County Go Girls Fest, Twilight Walk, Green is Greater Long Beach Festival, Al Borde's Escuela de Rock

The Potential Lunatics released their first underground and grungy EP "Eating Paste" Jan 2009.
Their highly anticipated first record "Well Trained Youngsters" was released June 2011.
The record release party brought a large crowd of ecstatic fans, wearing 1950's style clothing!
May 2012 they went on their first tour up the West Coast to Seattle from So Cal.

If you're in the market for a real hip and fun time, check out The Potential Lunatics!

Go ape!

Band Members