yikes! a lion!
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yikes! a lion!

Band Folk Punk


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"interview with DITZ magazine"

Lions and Tigers and Bears! High Fives!
Pop Punk Revived with Orange County's Yikes! A Lion!
By: Nick Nam
Posted: 3/5/10
Want a fun night out? A solid high five? Or how about just a new band to revive your long-dormant junior high love of pop punk tunes that leave you with no choice but to scream along to every hook? For all three, you can look no further than Orange County's own Yikes! A Lion! This band offers a refreshing take on the catchy melodies that characterized our adolescence by breaking it down to the fundamentals-the band consists of only Brandon Hardy, 23, and Sina Youssefzadeh, 21. That is, unless you count the crowd of adoring fans that provide back-up vocals both at shows and on their self-titled EP.

The men of Yikes! bring a playful energy to their live shows and recorded tunes. Youssefzadeh is known for riling up the crowd by insisting the first few rows dance, while Hardy takes time to high five at least 75% of those in attendance at any given performance. Read on for more about how the Lion formed, and where it's taking these boys next.

Sina Youssefzadeh
Age: 21
Hometown: Orange County, currently living in Long Beach, CA
Instrument: Guitar/lead vocals
Day job: Health food store manager
Fantasy celebrity hook-up? Emma Goldman
If I wasn't in Yikes!, I would be... Working a dead-end job, most likely.

Brandon Hardy
Age: 23.
Hometown: Newport Beach/Costa Mesa, currently living in Echo Park, CA
Instrument: Drums/back-up vocals
Day job: Waiter at Italian pizza bakery
Fantasy celebrity hook-up? Zooey Deschanel
If I wasn't in Yikes!, I would be... Really bored.

DITZ: How did you two meet? How did Yikes! A Lion form?

SINA: Brandon and I met through mutual friends in 2005. I knew Brandon had a band but never thought of starting anything together. We both realized we knew how to play instruments and had some extra time on our hands, so we decided to jam out some ideas and then Yikes was born in December 2008.

BRANDON: It took us a while to finally get together and jam, and the first few times were something completely different than Yikes, a lot more crunchy guitars and breakdowns. Then we played together in a folky-acoustic band Old Lady Leather for a while. After OLL ended, Sina and I decided to continue playing together and it took the shape of a lion!

DITZ: How did you choose the band name? Any inspiration from Pedro the Lion?

BRANDON: Pedro the Lion holds a really special place in my heart, but had nothing to do with our band name.

SINA: No connection whatsoever. We had a bit of trouble coming up with a band name, then one day at practice I just said, "Hey…how about Yikes! A lion!?" And that was it.

DITZ: How does the collaboration work in a two-person band?

BRANDON: We have a lot of similar bands and styles that we're into, and I think we have the same idea of how we want this band to sound, so I'd say we collaborate really well.

DITZ: Do you have plans to add more band members or collaborate with other musicians?

SINA: Our intent was to bring in a bassist or second guitarist, but we had no luck so we just started the band anyway. Recently we've been open to the idea of adding a new member, but we're not trying to force anything.

BRANDON: Yeah, we're pretty comfortable as a two-piece now. We did jam with our friend Nico Stai a month ago on an acoustic song he wrote. There'll be a video online someday from that, it's pretty awesome and way different from the stuff we typically play.

DITZ: Who or what influences your music?

SINA: Hmm, first thing that comes to mind is Defiance Ohio, a little bit of old Against Me, and maybe some Blackbird Raum. I listen to everything and I gain a bit of influence from it all.

BRANDON: Anything can influence me, from hardcore to jazz to folk to indie rock. There's a slew of drummers that have sculpted my playing style, Stewart Copeland and William Goldsmith for sure, but I mainly just play what comes naturally.

DITZ: Is the songwriting process pretty natural for you guys, too?

SINA: Usually I'll write the base of the songs on my own with some rough lyrics and basic chord progressions, and then Brandon and I will gut the song at practice and form the verses, chorus, etc.

BRANDON: I don't think we really have a set writing process every time. Sometimes Sina will come to practice with a guitar idea, but other times we'll just be warming up at practice and improvise a song and it'll stick.

DITZ: What's the craziest thing that's ever happened at one of your shows?

SINA: I can't say we've had a "crazy" show yet, although when we were on tour in Portland we played a show at this bar that just happened to be doing a swimsuit bingo tournament. That was pretty "crazy," I guess [laughs].

BRANDON: Maybe people dancing and falling into the drum kit? Or maybe when we were playing in Oakland-we put my hat in front of us to get tips and after the set we found about $1.75, - DITZ Magazine


- 'Yikes! a lion!' EP

- KUCI 88.9 FM Irvine, CA
- Underground Columbus
- KXLU 88.9 FM Los Angeles
- KAOS 89.3 Olympia, WA



we met through mutual friends in the summer of 2005. at the time we really had no intention of starting anything musically, but we both knew we had some similar tastes in music. a couple years went by and we found ourselves wanting to start a band so we jammed on some ideas, but the sound was alot harder then what we make it sound like today. looking for a third member came to be the most tedious task so we said what the hell lets just keep it a 2 piece. after a couple months of swapping ideas we finally formed our band in the winter of 2008. since then weve kept our band to just 2 members and found that its much more enjoyable. weve played numerous shows all over different states and released a self titled e.p. in june of '09.