Saturday, June 18, 2011

An Inside Look at Utah's Band of the Year, KING NIKO + New Single Release

Photos courtesy of Rick Weller

King Niko, winners of the 2011 Salt Lake City Weekly Music Awards (CWMAs), officially formed in 2009, although until the addition of their keys player, Reid, in the late summer of 2010, the band…well, they just weren’t themselves yet. 

When asked about the origin of their name, Ransom Wydner, lead vocalist and front man for King Niko, recalls that the band came together without having a solid name in mind. 

In a hungry state of creative frustration, Wydner visited a nearby taco stand (Try one today!) and during a confusing moment of asking for “pico” heard the word “niko”, his band mates liked the name…and the rest is local music history.

King Niko is Zach “Attack” Sloan on drums, Tim “The Face” Rawcliffe on bass, Benny “Moustache” Moffat on guitar, Reid “Lightning” Laitinen on keys and of course, Ransom “Is that your real name?” Wydner on lead vocals.

King Niko has released two successful, beautifully packaged EP’s and is looking to do a full-length project in the very near future.  Several songs off of their earlier EP’s have gotten widespread attention in Utah, with the vibes of bands like Spoon under Muse-tone anthem melodies…new sounding electronic key work over hard-hitting “hooky” choruses that make you want to move.

When asked to describe the band’s genre, no conclusion was reached.  As many bands have been expressing lately, being placed into a particular genre seems very limiting, however, not knowing exactly where you “fit” in the music industry has its downsides too. 

King Niko’s sound is new and edgy, with hints of retro British rock in what you might call “electro pop rock”, however, Wydner likes to call the band’s music “glam rock” and admits that popular band, The Killers are among their main influences.  City Weekly describes them as “pop-rock” and Utah Band Review calls them a “high energy dance rock” band.  TU just knows them as “badass” musicians.
King Niko has opened up for national tours like 30 Second to Mars, and was invited to open up for Tame Impala, amazing psych “chill” rock band from Aussie.  

This band not only talks the talk, but walks the walk, with the band members practicing three times a week in addition to attending many local shows and music events every week.  King Niko is friends with some of the best local musicians in the state.  Ransom loves local music and “the scene” here in SLC, and is excited to see the progression of music in Utah, as it seems to be getting more and more national attention.

The Unlimited (TU): Who are some of your favorite bands in Utah?

Ransom Wydner (RW):  Spell Talk for sure.  For 
       me, they are what I call “modern psych rock"
…those guys like to play drunk and party, and that “good times” feeling comes across in their live show…

TU: Anyone else?

RW:              Definitely Holy Water Buffalo. They 
       are great guys and a solid band that reminds
me of The Strokes.  Also The Bloops, former band mates of mine, who play with a Zappa-esque feel…
When I moved to Salt Lake almost 6 years ago, I didn't know anyone.  Literally zero Salt Lake friends. Now I'm hanging out with the top echelon of Salt Lakers on a regular basis, including the coolest girlfriend I could ever imagine...the best people and the best friends a guy could ask for. I realize how lucky I am and I'm very grateful for it.
When asked where the band likes to promote their music online, Wydner explained that he feels Grooveshark, open to all musicians and their music, may be the next best thing.  King Niko is already on Grooveshark, as well as many other popular bands like, Owl City, currently featured.  As far as music goes, Ransom believes, “Shitty and weird, doesn’t always mean good”…
Wydner also gives props to local music producers, Mateo Coletti and Matt Winegar, who he has had the pleasure of collaborating with in the studio and explains both have been creatively impressive to work with on recordings. 
King Niko has the sound, the look, the fans and the talent, but most importantly, they have the right attitude… the type of attitude that can take a band right to the top...  
On the City Weekly Music Finals, the band says that their “win” was totally unexpected.   While buzz about the “finals” show began to grow, King Niko wasn’t sure what the outcome would be.  What happened was an incredible rush of support at the live show, with fans that the band "hadn't seen since middle school" including friends, family… pretty much everyone they knew coming out to show support that night.  
King Niko’s brand new single, “Intentions”, recorded at Rockfish Studios, will be bounced to X96 sometime this weekend.  Catch it on air for its debut on X96 at the beginning of the week.  The highly anticipated single will also be aired on Utah Musicians radio network as well as many other radio stations and media outlets throughout the region.
The summer is looking very bright for King Niko.  With a full southwest US and Cali tour in affect next week, hear their new single on the radio with X96 and also live at the Utah Arts Festival, with King Niko’s homecoming performance on the evening of Saturday, June 25th in downtown SLC. 

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