AK hails from San Diego California and is contrived from members of popular San Diego bands: The Blackjackits, Viva Apollo and The Cobra-Las. AK started in early 2015 by Amanda and Kenny and is a blend of Punk, Country and Indie Rock. It is not surprising that AK has grabbed the bull by the horns and have embarked on recording their first full length LP soon to be available on Hippicrit Records. AK consists of Amanda Portela (Bass/Vocals), Kenny Hill (Guitar/Vocals), and Natasha Cruz (drums).
Amanda started her musical career in San Francisco, she frequented many an open mic and one in particular at the 16th and Mission Bart Station. It was there that she was inspired to begin her path as a singer songwriter. A few years later Amanda found herself at Mesa College studying jazz and singing for the Mesa Big Band then later on joining a Congolese band in 2010 called Bateke Beat. Amanda’s musical endeavors lead her to performing at various clubs and festivals in San Diego. Portela, used her new found passion for singing Jazz and started a popular “Jazz Jam” at a Wine Bar in the heart of Hillcrest. Shortly their after, Amanda joined the Indie rock band by the name of Viva Apollo. Viva Apollo was notorious within the local San Diego music circuit, performing in all kinds of venues including a late night local cable access show, Tonight in San Diego.
Natasha Cruz loves to bang on her drums. In 2010, Natasha was voted drummer of the year by the Emergenza battle of the bands fest beating out 200 other talented drummers. That being said, Natasha has played in a handful of notable bands such as The Corba-Las (2013), Lands of Fire (2010), Deaf Zero (2007-2010) and Amongst the Lost (2003-2007). Most notably Natasha has pounded her drums in classic venues such as Coors Amphitheater and Whisky A Go Go (Hollywood). Beyond Natasha’s live performances, she is also an accredited session musician recording various genres such as Jazz and Rock.
San Diego native Kenny Hill is a 3rd generation musician who has played in front of hundreds of mohawks and quiffs. Fresh outta high school, Kenny’s joined legendary psychobilly band The Quakes. Switching from guitar to the Upright bass, Kenny traveled the world slapping the bass in countries such as Poland, Finland, and Brazil. In 2010 Kenny started The Regime with Todd Allan from Squarecrow and released a EP and Full Length record. During 2006-2011 Kenny had been writing his solo project called The Blackjackits, which was a mixture of Darkwave, Post Punk and Psychobilly, cultivating a truly unique sound. In 2015 Kenny released the self-tilted record “The Blackjackits” in which Kenny recorded, produced, and played all the instruments on. Soon thereafter Kenny was joined by bassist Kyle Olsen, formerly of The Rexurex, and The Blackjackits played all over the country.
AK is an accumulation of Amanda, Kenny and Natasha’s unique musical experiences and diversifying references. If you were to jump into a time machine and walked into Tower Records circa 1990, AK would be blurring the lines between the Alt-Country/Punk and the 80’s/pop section. With melodic verses, catchy choruses, driving drums and twangy guitar, AK is a hard band to Ignore. To be art it must move you, and it is impossible to listen to AK and stand still. AK is certainly credible, insofar as Kenny, Amanda and Natasha have payed their dues performing all over the world, for over a decade, dealing with all the elements that make artists into musicians. Stay tuned for AK’s new record due in Late July 2017.