The name Kuinka (coo-WINK-uh) comes from the Finnish for “how”; how does a band bristling with spirited creativity continue to evolve artistically and challenge themselves while staying true to their own roots? For Kuinka, the answer comes in the form of letting go: a joyful acquiescence to their cumulative love of songwriting and shared experience, regardless of genre or instrumentation. Brothers Zach and Nathan Hamer, along with Miranda Zicklerand Jillian Walker, came together in 2014 to form a unique breed of string band; one proudly defiant of preconceived notions of what fits under the label ‘Americana’.
Their 2014 debut The Wild North, which propelled the band out of the woods and on to stages across the country, was followed by their 2016 breakout LP The Heartland. Both albums were recorded at the famed Bear Creek Studio in Woodinville, WA (Fleet Foxes, Metric), and led to featured performances at dozens of festivals and several successful national headlining tours.
Home from touring The Heartland, all four found themselves in the midst of major life changes both as people and as artists; moving out of the house they‘d shared for the previous two years to new cities and broadening the total palette from which they draw as musicians. After fleshing out new songs in rehearsal, the band headed to a studio near Portland, OR with the trusted ears of longtime producer Jerry Streeter (Brandi Carlile, The Lumineers). The quartet was joined in the studio with their touring wizard of the woodwinds John Benefiel who handled clarinet and saxophone.
The songs on their forthcoming release Stay Up Late ring with the vibrancy of exploration and discovery. “We’ve spent our time as a band in pursuit of a unique sound that captures our energy and essence,” says Zickler. “We’d love for our music to be a soundtrack to adventure. Our biggest goal as a collective is to fight the trend of apathy — to infuse everything we do with a sense of joy, and to affect positive change in the world to the best of our ability.”