Band

King Niko is a hot young band from Salt Lake City formed in 2009 for the purpose of making chicks dance. King Niko will get under your skin and stuck in your head with memorable hooks, catchy choruses and clever lyrics. The high-energy, fist pumping, foot stomping power of King Niko’s live shows have earned them a spot on the stage with acts like Rooney, Electric Six, Say Anything and 30 Seconds to Mars.

As Salt Lake City Weekly’s 2011 Band of The Year, King Niko are slowly taking over their hometown with their sights set on the planet at large. King Niko is Ben Moffat on Guitar, Zachary Sloan on Drums, Tim Rawcliffe on Bass, Reid Laitinen on Keys and Ransom Wydner on Vocals. Rawcliffe, Sloan and Moffat had been band mates in various projects before deciding to form an upbeat rock band with Wydner, and Laitinen joined about a year later on keys. The boys of King Niko have very quickly established themselves as one of the premier acts in the state of Utah and the Western United States, riling up crowds in Arizona, Idaho and California as well as being placed in rotation on radio stations across the country.

In October of 2011 King Niko played the X96 Big Ass Show with bands like Neon Trees, Anberlin, Switchfoot and Panic! At The Disco. When Panic! At The Disco’s frontman was hospitalized, the band turned to Ransom Wydner and Tyler Glenn of Neon Trees to cover for him. The story of this performance was published in Alt Press, Amp Magazine and Billboard. In three years of relentless rocking, King Niko has made one thing clear: they are the next big thing. Maybe it’s time you found out what all the fuss is about.

Editor’s Note: I asked them to send me 2-3 sentence bios, and the below is what they provided. I was going to edit them down but left them intact to give you a feel for each member’s personalities.

Ransom Wydner
Vocals

Ransom Leif Wydner the fifth was born on a stormy night in a the remote desert town of Cane Beds Arizona. His family destitute and living off the grid had built a tiny shanty home with their bare hands but Ransom was born next door so he wouldn’t get dirty on the earthen floor.

Raised without a social security number until the age of 17, Ransom had a very nomadic childhood. His family moved often and he was homeschooled until he was 9. It was this bohemian upbringing that bred in Ransom a deep love of music and a vivid imagination. Ransom and his siblings invented epic sagas of traveling adventurers, crime fighting animals and horrifying monsters. The Wydner kids–Brucie, Kari, Ransom, Kirk and Danny–would record dramatic stories on their tape recorder, put on plays and stage puppet shows.

When he started public school, Ransom was definitely the weird kid. He found acceptance and an outlet for his creativity in performing. By Highschool Ransom had sung in bands, starred in plays and was a highschool celebrity with his stand up comedy.

Ransom moved from the tiny town of Eden Utah to Salt Lake City in 2005, where he jumped headfirst into the vibrant music scene. Ransom sang lead vocals for Endland, Circular Logic and All Things Glowing Brightly before joining King Niko. Every performance is an opportunity for Ransom to cut loose and lose himself in his most favorite experience–entertaining.

Reid Laitinen
Keys

Originally from Seymour, Indiana, Reid Laitinen joined in August of 2010 with the aim of bringing some electro influence to the band’s sound.

He is also good at following instructions, and is capable of extreme concision.

Ben Moffat
Guitar

Born and bred in the tough streets of West Valley UT, Ben found sanctuary and a creative outlet for his angst through music. He first started playing guitar in 1989 and quickly became a sensation at local high schools and coffee shops. Always focusing on how music could get him laid, Ben abandoned music theory and started writing pop songs that would attract the hottest girls around. Ben has played for large audiences all around the world and continues to dominate the music scene with his rakishly good looks and wild disregard for authority and convention. Now at the age of 36, Ben is happily married and focusing on his music and personal life. Although his metabolism has slowed down, Ben’s inner fire still burns bright and he will never rest until the mighty King Niko achieves world domination.

Zachary Sloan
Drums

Zachary Allain Sloan (born March 1st, 1982) is an American musician as well as a certified K-12 educator. He is most noted as the drummer for the American rock/pop band King Niko. After the split of his first band, No Hot Ashes (1991), Sloan began playing in many ensambles with his older brother and various friends. In the fall of 1998 he became part of the American band Groove Timber, who recorded three albums in the span of two years. After the part of Groove Timber in 2000, Sloan headed west to pursue educational interests. In the Fall of 2001 he was united with guitarist/songwriter Ben Moffat. They soon formed the American band Merzey (2001-2002). Sloan later went on to play with rock band Star Plane Zero (2003-2004). After taking a four year break from music to start a career in education, Sloan joined King Niko in April of 2009.

Awards: Most Improved Musician (University of Illinois Summer Youth Music Camp, 1995), Lettered in marching band (Urbana High School, 1997), Illinois Super State Concert Band Champions (Spring of 2000), King Niko Utah Band of the Year (City Weekly, 2011)

Notable Performances: University of Illinois Summer Youth Music Jazz Big Band (Under the direction of Jazz Legend John Garvey), Urbana High School Marching Band performance on Main St. at Disney World in Orlando, FL (Fall, 1999), Urbana High School Concert Band performance on main stage ampitheater at Disney World in Orlando, FL (Fall, 1999), Performed with Jazz Guitar legend JD Moffat (who was a touring musician with Ray Charles), Opened for many national headlining acts including: 30 Seconds to Mars, Switchfoot, Anberlin, Panic! At the Disco, Neon Trees.

Influences: Roy Ewing and Michael Powers.

Tim Rawcliffe
Bass

Timothy John Rawcliffe is King Niko’s bass player. When Tim was young, his mother would cart him around to her band practices, where she was lead singer and keyboard player for bands “Future Reference” and “The Kind”. Tim immediately knew that being in a band was the thing to do, and began playing all sorts of instruments like Piano, Violin, and Guitar, before ultimately finding his funky spirit deep in the alder body of a bass guitar at 16. At this point Tim trained by playing the upright bass during church services at his Catholic High School by day, and playing in shitty pop punk cover bands by night. Tim started playing with his first real band, “DWI”, at the age of 19 and has hardly had any time off playing since then. After a 5 year stint together in the progressive space rock band “Mothercity”, Tim and Ben broke off to titillate their pop sensibilities with King Niko, the best band in the universe.