Some siblings have rivalries, others join forces to form one of the freshest young bands in music. Mikaiah and Anaiah Lei belong in the latter category. Together, the L.A. brothers make up The Bots, a no-frills rock act with burning guitars and knock-you-out drums. After a string of critically acclaimed EPs, the Leis—who’ve toured with bands like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Blur—finally put out their lauded debut full-length, Pink Palms, last October. The record, which was produced Justin Warfield and YYYs guitarist Nick Zinner, is as straightforward as the brothers are stylish. There’s nothing pretentious about their music. It’s straight-up rock. Let’s get to know them better.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
Anaiah: Very colorful I suppose, in my sense of fashion. Aside from that I’m not very complex. Like Mikaiah I’m very simple.
Mikaiah: It’s classic, simple, semi-professional. I just like to do what makes me happy, so I suppose that can be anything.
How did your career get started?
Anaiah: After the band got started and we began to push our material out on social media sites, we eventually started playing more shows. Slowly we just started growing as group and from there it hasn’t stopped.
Mikaiah: I started the band in high school with a couple of friends and asked Anaiah to drum for us and that’s how the band got started.
What are you most proud of so far in terms of your career?
Anaiah: We just made our national TV debut on Late Night with Seth Meyers. Mikaiah and I are both truly proud of that!
Mikaiah: I am very proud of traveling overseas to play for people in Japan, Germany, England.
What famous person, dead or living, do most wish you could have as a roommate?
Anaiah: It would be cool to have Ellen Page as a roommate. She seems like a nice person and like she would be down to make music together. I don’t know why, but it would be cool.
Mikaiah: MJ, King of Pop. “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough” era.
What is your favorite driving music?
Anaiah: I love listening to jazz music, or some amazing soul music. Anyone that drives with me will tell you that.
Mikaiah: I like listen to Arcade Fire, Tame Impala, Metronomy. Great music for cruising.
Whose career would you most like to emulate?
Anaiah: I would love to have a career like Ice Cube’s. Start off huge and having major parties at mansions with many girls in attendance. Then become a successful actor that stars in many family movies.
Mikaiah: Bob Marley minus dying young. His music has longevity and it connected with so many people.
If you had to live in a past time, what do you think would be the most fun era and why?
Anaiah: I’d love to either live in the 1980s or the 1960s. Simplicity and good music in the ’60s, and everything from New Wave to hardcore in the ‘80s. And cheap movie memorabilia.
Mikaiah: I would like to live in the ‘50s or ’60s because of the classic guitars and other instruments.
How do you wind down before bed?
Anaiah: Maybe by watching part of a movie, listening to some soul music, or technical death metal. Typically those two.
Mikaiah: I listen to my favorite folk songs or oldies. I stretch and then I lay in bed until I fall asleep.
What kind of person were you in high school?
Anaiah: Exactly the same type of person I am now, only 19 times cooler. I had a new girlfriend every other day.
Mikaiah: I joke that I was a jock football player, but I was a geeky little kid who thought I was cooler then I really was.
Do you have any phobias?
Anaiah: Why yes I do, I have emetophobia. It’s an irrational fear of vomit.
Mikaiah: I don’t really know anymore. I use to be scared of everything, but as I grew older it seems like there is less that bothers me.
If there was a phrase that you think best sums up your approach to life what might it be?
Anaiah: Positivity is key. Couldn’t think of much but this is important to always remember.
Mikaiah: One day at a time, as corny as that’s sounds.