The ability for two ideas to simultaneously contradict each other and still be true—this is at the heart of MSKING’s music. Comprising Miranda (Lew) Lewin on vocals, rhythm guitar, bass and occasionally synthesizer; Sam Johnson on drums; and Karlie Bagnani as vocals and lead guitar, the band found its initial name in the members’ first initials (MSK). “It’ll be MSK, short abbreviations for our name, and we’ll call it ‘mask,’” says Lewin, recounting the band’s conversation about a preliminary name. “We’ve all felt that we were wearing a mask at some point in our lives.”

Finding the name taken, they added an -ING, which—to the band’s delight—birthed a contradiction itself: Ms. King, formatted MSKING, revels in polarity of feeling, expressing concepts that would ostensibly preclude each other but, instead, embrace opposing elements with open arms. Self-described as a mixture of “grunge-pop and alt-rock,” the group’s contradictory musical elements show face in the form of “writing music that’s upbeat but with sad lyrics,” says Lewin. “We feel like something might be empty, but we fill the cup.”

The band’s new EP, Apathetic Sympathy, was born through the juxtaposition of having compassion for something but feeling detached and indifferent at the same time. Their track “Lows & Highs” embodies this idea of simultaneously caring and not caring, resulting in an overwhelming emptiness. Though many of their tracks grapple with the concept of apathy, Lewin expresses a hope for self-betterment.

“When it comes to feeling pain and correlating it to how I write, it’s almost like an addiction,” says Lewin. “When I do write painful things, it’s very intoxicating because there’s so much to pull out from it.” Moving to Salt Lake has had a progressive affect on Lewin’s ability to self-express and write lyrics that encompass both sides of the emotional spectrum.

“We all have felt, in our lives, like misfits … We’re glad that we’ve found each other and have been able to write this music that we all connect to,” says Lewin.

Find MSKING on Spotify, Facebook and Instagram.


Thanks for listening to SLUG Mag Soundwaves.

  • This podcast was created by SLUG Magazine and produced by Angela H. Brown, Parker Scott Mortensen
  • Associate Producers: Alexander Ortega, Joshua Joye, John Ford, Bianca Velasquez, Connor Lockie
  • Executive Producer: Angela H. Brown
  • Music by MSKING
  • Soundwaves logo and art design by Nicholas Dowd
  • Photo courtesy of Lew (Miranda) Lewin.