We had the good fortune of connecting with Amanda Hayami, Caitlen Cusimano, Kamber Fishbein, Sydney Ellen, Patrick Hudson, and Stevie Bowden of The Leftovers. We’ve shared our conversation below.
Hello The Leftovers, what is the most important factor behind your success?
Our friendship is what really makes us unique and successful. We’re not just bandmates; we love being around each other and playing music together, and it shows. Since day one, we’ve had fun, and we continue to keep that as one of our biggest priorities. We’re all super goofy and enjoy creating a vibe that is upbeat and danceable that anyone can enjoy. Whether it’s mid-song or during a break, we love interacting with our audience, encouraging them to get on the dance floor and have fun. Although we like to keep things silly, our gigs would not be possible without our existing musical skills and training that we constantly work on together and individually. We’re always excited to add new songs, not only to keep our sets fresh, but also to challenge ourselves, keeping us engaged in our craft. Through The Leftovers, we’ve built a family of tight-knit musicians that extends from past members to friends that we feature at our shows. It can be tough maintaining a six-person band, but being friends makes it easy. We care about each other and strive to maintain an open and understanding communication on and off stage. Whether it’s splitting the work when our band to-do list gets heavy or being a shoulder to lean on during personal struggles, we support each other every step of the way.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
We’ve all known each other for over ten years, but it wasn’t until four years ago that we got together to play a show for fun, not realizing we’d turn into a full on cover band, playing four-hour shows weekly. Whether it’s working as full-time professionals and/or attending college, we each have busy schedules outside of the band. Because of this, we’ve gotten good at balancing our time so that we can come together to do what we love which is playing shows with each other. Since COVID-19, we’ve cut down our shows to about once a month, but have maintained our long set list with songs ranging from classic hits by AC/DC to modern bops by Lizzo. What sets up apart from other bands is that most all of us sing and bring something different to the table. Since our sets are long, this creates a diverse show that includes voices that range from a guttural grit to a polished powerhouse—it also keeps our vocal cords from getting burnt out. Our distinct personalities and voices also make it easy for us to determine who sings what. From our families and friends that have supported us since day one to all of the new faces that we have met along the way, our audiences have helped us get to where we are today, mentioning our name to their favorite venues and hiring us for private gigs. We thrive off of their energy during shows and love giving them a beat to move to. Getting up on stage to play a four-hour show can be quite a vulnerable experience, but we’re confident in our skills and we love to laugh at ourselves when mistakes are made. We’re professionals and treat our band as such, but we’ve learned that it’s important to laugh at ourselves and not be afraid to be who we are both on and off stage.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If our best friend came to town, we would start and end at Harbor House in Sunset Beach. It is hands down the spot to go for late night eats. We’ve been going to this 24-hour diner for years and have made a lot of great memories, hanging out after shows over drinks and drool-worthy food. What we especially love are secret menu items like the Heart Attack Fries. Kashiwa Ramen in Costa Mesa is another spot we recommend for delicious karaage, beer, and of course authentic ramen. The owners, Hiro and Hideto, are incredibly amicable and energetic ramen masters. To get your energy out, we’d recommend R&B every Thursday night at Fountain Valley Skating Center. And for a place to pick up a quirky souvenir, a unique gift to send home, or even just an eye-catching experience, Ant Hill in Costa Mesa is where it’s at. You can walk into that store without a clue of what to get someone for their birthday, and come out with something truly special.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Bomb Shelter Rehearsal Studios in Westminster has been our go to rehearsal studio for years. The staff is awesome! They’re super friendly, helpful, and always make us feel like we’re part of a family. As a six-person band, it’s so nice being able to rent an affordable and spacious practice room without worrying about upsetting our neighbors. They’re open late and provide everything from cables and mics to drum kits and amps, making set up nice and easy. They also have a sweet recording studio. Throughout COVID-19, Bomb Shelter has been especially helpful in maintaining cleanliness and making us feel safe. Whether you need a space for band rehearsal or just want to jam without noise restrictions, Bomb Shelter has you covered.
Jose Ruvalcaba, Esteban Diaz, and Casper Photographics