Get to know K.E.W.K., an emerging band claiming its space in the Vegas music community

Photo: Steve Marcus

BACKSTORY: Vegas vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Spencer Hinton, who moonlights as a guitarist for local alt-rock quintet Elevated Undergrounds, almost quit music before forming K.E.W.K. (Kill ‘Em With Kindness) in 2019. Creatively exhausted from the grind of being a cover band musician, Hinton seized the opportunity to unleash the influences of Incubus, The Mars Volta, System of a Down, Paramore and more into a new project that’s since added Elephante King’s Fez Reyes on guitar, Elevated Undergrounds’ Joe Kennedy on drums and Thomas Stoner on bass.

SOUND: Hinton’s previous projects placed their emphasis on pop-punk, but “K.E.W.K. definitely has more of the quintessential rock and roll spirit to it.” The band flirts with being groovy at times, heavy even, “but also sometimes it’s glassy and melodic and sexy,” Hinton adds. Most of all, it’s queer-friendly, as evidenced by the swayful, bass-driven cut “Compulsory Heterosexuality.” “It’s an anthemic song for queers, like a love song to themselves and coming out of that cycle of ‘I’m gonna go to this format of relationship because it’s what’s expected of me or what I’m used to,’” explains Hinton. “It’s breaking out of that and having a reclamation of your power.”

TAKING UP SPACE: Owning one’s identity is hard enough without being a racially mixed queer musician, but Hinton hat tips Black and Asian artists like H.E.R. for acting as a worthy example. “I am trying to be open about my queerness, because as a femme in music, oftentimes, you’re expected to look a certain way, and be sexy in a really feminine way,” Hinton says. “I just want to take up space for who I am, and for other people who are like me, because I know that has been a source of discouragement for me.”

NEXT UP: With K.E.W.K.’s first single now behind them, Hinton says they’re working on new material and already have plenty for a record. Ultimately, the singer would love to see their music journey take them around the world. “I want it to be about the music first. And if the money comes? Then f*ck yeah.”

K.E.W.K. Instagram.com/kewkofficial

“Compulsory Heterosexuality” available on all major streaming platforms.

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Tags: Music
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Amber Sampson

Amber Sampson is a Staff Writer for Las Vegas Weekly. She got her start in journalism as an intern at ...

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