What is your name and role within Kuinka?
My name is Nathan Hamer and I play the ukulele, mandolin, and sing with Kuinka.
How did you start?
The band first formed in 2013 when my brother and I met Miranda in New York City. We were all from the same small town in Washington, but it was sheer coincidence that we happened to meet for the first time on the other side of the country. Jillian joined the band at the end of the year when we recruited her to play cello on our first album, “The Wild North”; she fit so well into the dynamic of the band that we asked her to come on the road with us. We’re now into our third year as full-time musicians.
Where are you based?
Please give an example of your music writing process?
Normally, one of us brings the basics of a song we’ve been working on to the group, and it sort of flourishes from there. Sometimes it’s just a chord progression, or a melody, or a more completed draft. Then we just play through the song as a group, pitch ideas, and try out different instruments and sounds; this is my favorite part of the process because the song begins to evolve organically and gain its dynamics.
What are you working on right now?
We just released our brand new EP “Stay Up Late”! We’re excited to finally have these songs out in the world; we spent the majority of the winter playing around with the relationship between acoustic and electronic instruments and we’re really happy with the results. We’ll be spending the rest of the summer touring around the US in support of that EP.
What is your gear setup?
We have a lot of instruments on stage with us. We like diversifying the sounds we use in each song, so our full instrument list includes a cello, mandolin, ukulele, banjo, accordion, drum pad, saxophone, clarinet, three acoustic guitars, two electric guitars, two synths, and a variety of percussion pieces. We also like to implement effects pedals from time to time.
What do you like to do outside of music and does it affect your music?
We all have different art activities we’re really into outside of music. My brother Zach and I are both passionate about filmmaking, so we conceptualize and film the music videos for Kuinka.
How would you describe your music genre?
We never really set out to create music in any specific genre; we each have varying musical influences we bring to the group (Miranda’s singing style was influenced by listening to a lot of Motown as a kid; and Jillian often brings Celtic influences with her cello lines).
Do you know any music theory?
We’re all self-taught musicians. I personally never took any music theory classes, but have a grasp of the basic concepts.
What are your plans for the future?
We’ll be spending the rest of the year touring around the US in support of our new EP “Stay Up Late.”
How did you get into music?
When I was three, my brother, dad, and I formed a band called “The Star Highs”. That, and listening to Paul Simon’s Graceland on repeat when I was a kid, got me into music.
What are you listening to at the moment?
The girls are always bringing fun new finds for us to listen to in the touring van, like Petite Meller, but I’ve been listening to Andrew Bird’s new album “Are You Serious” a lot.
Who are your top 5 influences and icons?
Each of us have different icons or major influences on our writing style. One of Miranda’s biggest icons is definitely Michael Jackson, I’d say Zach’s is Bob Dylan, Jillian’s is Beyoncé, and mine is probably Paul Simon.
When are you playing next?
As I am currently writing this we are headed down the west coast on our EP release tour, but our full schedule can be found at kuinkatheband.com