Miles Baker of The KNGS on Debut Album and Creating Community Through Music
Miles Baker ('24) on music, inspiration, and performing during COVID
Cover for the KNGS' newest album, “Why Do You Still Love Me?”.
This article is part of the Sunday Summary
newsletter. To receive more content like this a week early, subscribe here
This article is part of the Red, White, Blue, & Purple
podcast-newsletter that covers politics and policy from a Furman Perspective. To receive more content like this a week early, subscribe here
This article is part of the The Works
newsletter. The Works tracks the latest trends sweeping the student body, highlights creative talent, and shines a light on the best (and worst) aspects of campus culture at Furman. To receive more content like this a week early, subscribe here
This article is part of the Paladin Profiles
video interview newsletter. Paladin Profiles highlight the important work Paladins past and present are doing to improve diversity and inclusion on campus and beyond. To receive content like this a week early, subscribe here
This article is part of The Paladin’s data-driven newsletter uncovering campus’ biggest stories, Deep Dive
. To receive content like this a week early, subscribe here
This article is part of the Paladin Sports Roundup
, a newsletter with comprehensive updates on the Paladins and special features such as video interviews with Furman athletes. To receive content like this a week early, subscribe here
On Dec. 10, 2020, the local band, The KNGS, released their album “Why Do You Still Love Me?” on all streaming platforms. The band features Jacob Kisser on vocals and guitar, Matt McCreight on lead guitar, Alex Hoverath on drums and Furman student Miles Baker (’24) on bass guitar. The band has played at venues throughout South Carolina and recorded this album while their live performances were halted by the pandemic. Their album effortlessly showcases beautiful vocals, engaging lyrics, upbeat instrumentation and a wide variety of music from relaxed strumming to bold synthesized chords. Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with Baker and learn about the band’s history, creative process and artistic inspiration.
The KNGS was formed during Baker’s junior year of high school though the musician’s musical career started much earlier. Baker had been playing both the classical base and bass guitar since 6th grade. However, it was while studying jazz under Steve Watson at the Fine Arts Center in Greenville that he joined the ensemble.
Originally called Rose Band, they shifted members several times before arriving at their current lineup. The band is meticulous and versatile in creating new music. They handle nearly every part of the recording process themselves. Baker states that they only record a song after having “completely worked through” it to determine its ideal sound. After the song is written, they record bass and drums together, a process which often takes a few days depending on how many songs they must record and, as Baker comically noted, “how many mistakes we make.” Next, they record the vocal and guitar tracks; and finally, they edit the song in a way that Baker believes “really bring [it] to life,” adding synthesizer and other “little weird sounds.” Mixing and mastering the music themselves take the longest, he says, because finding the consummate balance of all the sounds is difficult when “you’re a musician chasing perfection.”
The band finds many sources of artistic inspiration. While most of the lyrics in “Why Do You Still Love Me?” pertain to love and desire, the band often collaborates to write songs that portray their own experiences “through filtered lenses.” Rather than conveying a particular message or theme, their songs capture what Baker calls “the happenings in [their] lives.” The band has also been influenced by several groups with whom Baker feels they share a similar sound, like The Killers, Kings of Leon and The 1975.
Bake cited some of the band’s most notable live performances as playing the Tin Roof in both Charleston and Columbia. His personal favorite performance was playing at the Radioroom here in Greenville. However, the onset of the pandemic severely impacted the band’s activities. Most venues were closed and do not allow live performances, which is “a real shot in the foot” as Baker says, given that they were just beginning to gather a significant local following. Though frustrating, the time during the pandemic has provided the band more time to develop new music; and Baker hopes that, with the release of their album, they will be able regrow their fan base with the help of the Furman community.
Baker thinks that the band has not only had a positive impact on his own life but also on the community as a whole. He called playing with The KNGS “one of the greatest experiences of [his] teenage years” and finds indescribable joy in making music with his best friends. He described the “rush” of playing his music to crowds that support and enjoy his music. Baker fondly reflected that “It’s something that brings so many people together” in “a pure expression of human emotion and passion.” His personal goal as a performer is to convey and pass on his passion for music. “Music is something that I’ve fallen in love with,” he says, “any opportunity to help someone fall in love with it as well is a great one.”