Like a Phoenix
Hear Me Arizona
When you’re the 18-year-old female singer of a pop punk band, and you’ve got the guns to show you’re packing some heat in more than just vocal chords, a tank-top is preferable.
Dani Lima’s toned biceps—which she attributes to playing the guitar—aren’t the only thing noticeable as she jumps around onstage. The singer of local outfit Hear Me Arizona gets her share of compliments from rowdy, hormone-driven teenage boys. At one recent show, it was the hair that did it.
“I like your hair!” yelled one boy from the front row.
“Thanks, I like yours too!” answered Lima. “Wait … you’re bald.” Playing off the audience interaction is something the band prides itself on maintaining both onstage and off. (They’re terrific Twitter-ers.)
Balancing boy banter is a highly crafted art for Lima. Being the only female in the young band of five—the oldest member is merely 22—is an aspect she says is both a perk, and an obstacle.
“They harass me a lot,” she says, in regard to both the male audience members and band mates Kyle Daters (guitar/back-up vocals), Jeremy Martin (guitar, back-up vocals), Ethan Lane (drums), and David Henry (bass). “I would rather be around guys, though—less drama.”
Less drama in a work aspect maybe. But the high school senior has plenty of boy drama when it comes to her personal relationships, which she funnels into inspirational material—as any good artist would. Lima holds court as the primary songwriter, and as for how many of her tunes are about the trials of love? “All of ’em,” she says with a laugh. “A lot of breakup songs, a lot that are about leaving and staying … I actually get them from seeing other people’s relationships, too, but most of them [are mine].”
While the lyrics may be about disgruntled emotions and teenage angst, the feel-good energy of the band’s live performance parallels more with their self-described genre: Happy hardcore. Aside from choreographed stage jumps—which, they confess, they do have to practice—the quintet also has great chemistry off stage. Joking and jabbing at one another like one big happy family.
And just like any good female family member, Lima sometimes has to help the guys out with their wardrobe choices. “I don’t tell them, I just give advice,” Lima clarifies.
“They told me I couldn’t wear a flannel,” Martin counters.
“Look at his handlebars!” Lima says, pointing out the line he’d be crossing by rocking both uber-hipster staples. They may be young, punk and fashionable, but Hear Me Arizona is not trying to be too stereotypical Paramour here, although they cite them as one of their influences.
“For the record, I do it because I think it looks funny, not because I think it looks good,” Martin defends, ending the debate with the very name of the band’s new three track EP: For the Record.
While it’s the band’s second release, this will be the first with Lima. Hear Me Arizona released one EP previously, but with a different female singer. Once the original singer parted ways with the guys, Lima signed on. “They’d listened to me sing before,” Lima explains. “And so when their old singer quit, they thought of me, and I tried out—so now I’m here.”
The musicians may like to keep things light-hearted while off the clock, but they know when it’s time to turn on the stoicism and make sure their fans hear what they have to say.
“Even though we play around a lot, we’re very committed,” says Lima. And she’s got the guns to prove it.