Sabrina Thompson

The Observer

Don “Chong” Slippy got the idea for putting together a band one day six years ago after deciding he was spending too much time playing video games. He called up his friend and fellow musician K.C. Kunkle and they started playing covers of pop songs. Realizing how much fun this would be as a full band, he invited other musician friends and they began practicing together. Within a few years AKA was fully formed and booking gigs across local counties.

The group plays rock covers of pop songs, arranged by Slippy and Kunkle. Doing so takes popular songs and puts a twist on them, giving the group a unique sound.

“We were basically playing what would make us laugh at first,” Slippy said.

The group consists of four members. Slippy plays rhythm guitar and provides vocals. Kunkle is the lead guitarist, plays keyboards and provides additional vocals. Jeremy “Narm” Hansen plays the drums. Brandon Hiller is the bass player. While they all live independent lives, their passion for music brings them together.

“The first and foremost thing is the comradery with this group of guys,” Kunkle said when asked what he enjoys most about performing. “I’ve never felt this close with a group of people. And with music it’s so interesting. It’s so hard to describe unless you’re a musician and you’ve actually experienced this.”

The band settled on its name when the group was on a cruise together, according to Kunkle. After hearing a performer on the cruise refer to himself using “AKA,” it clicked and Kunkle suggested they make that the band’s name. It is also fitting as half of the group’s members go by their nicknames.

AKA does not have plans to make it big, opting to stay local and enjoy the current music scene they are a part of instead.

Performances book through word of mouth, with parties and weddings being their favorites to perform at because of the laid-back atmosphere.

“It’s funny to see people grooving and rocking out and then realize it’s (a) Katy Perry (song),” Kunkle said. “You see the look of shame.”

The group rehearses infrequently due to conflicting schedules and busy lives and families, yet they do play together on Sundays as part of the worship band at Faith Center in Island City. However, with new songs being added to their sets in the future, it is likely they will meet more often to practice. Among their recent performances was this year’s Fourth of July celebration in Union.