New Audio: Nick Hakim Returns with His Spectral Take on Singer/Songwriter Soul

With the release of Where Will We Go Part 1 and Where Will We Go Part 2, the Washington, DC-born, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter Nick Hakim quickly established a national and international profile for a sound that effortlessly blurs genres as it possesses elements of classic soul, the blues, the soulful troubadour tradition of Van Morrison and others with hauntingly spectral electronic production and a soul-bearing, confessional intimacy.

Now, it’s been some time since I’ve written about him; however, Hakim has been busy writing and recording the material that would eventually comprise his forthcoming full-length debut Green Twins, which is slated for a May 19, 2017 release through ATO Records. Interestingly, Hakim can trace the origins of Green Twins‘ material to when armed with the masters for Where Will We Go Part 1 and Where Will We Go Part 2, the Washington, DC-born singer/songwriter relocated from Boston to where he was based at the time to Brooklyn. And as soon as he moved, he spent his time fleshing out incomplete songs, writing and recording sketches and lyrics on voice memos and a four-track cassette recorder. The Washington, DC-born, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter then took his demo’d material to studios in NYC, Philadelphia and London and built upon them with a number of engineers, including Andrew Sarlo (bass, engineering and production), who were tasked with keeping the original spirit and essence of the songs intact. As Sarlo explained in press notes, for many artists, a demo usually serves as a rough sketch of what the song could eventually become; however, for Hakim, the feeling is that the demos are much more like creating a temple — and as a result, you simply clean, furnish and prepare entrants for a profoundly religious experience.

Thematically speaking, the material on the album focuses on particular aspects o this life. As Hakim mentions in press notes, a lot of the material is based on what he was thinking at that very moment, and in many ways the album consists of a series of self-portraits. “I also felt the need to push my creativity in a different way than I had on the EPs,” Hakim says in press notes. “The record draws from influences spanning Robert Wyatt, Marvin Gaye and Shuggie Otis to My Bloody Valentine. We wanted to imagine what it would have sounded like if RZA had produced a Portishead album. We experimented with engineering techniques from Phil Spector and Al Green‘s Back Up Train, drum programming from RZA and Outkast, and we were listening to a lot of The Impressions, John Lennon, Wu-Tang, Madlib and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins.” And as soon as you hear the album’s first single “Bet She Looks Like You,” the confessional and intimate songwriting remains, as it’s soul-bearing to a point of being heartbreakingly visceral; but it manages to be a subtle expansion upon his sound — the song manages to remain hauntingly spectral while possessing an equally subtle, bluesy swagger.

Hakim will be embarking on a lengthy international tour to support the new effort, and it includes a NYC area date — Union Pool on March 4, 2017. I missed his set when he played Northside a few years ago and I’m looking forward to catching him in March.


Feb 13 The Lexington – London, UK – SOLD OUT

Feb 23 Milk Boy – Philadelphia, PA

Feb 24 Blue Note – New York, NY

Feb 25 Songbyrd – Washington, DC

Mar 03 Monty Hall – Jersey City, NJ

Mar 04 Union Pool – Brooklyn, NY

Mar 08 El Club – Detroit, MI

Mar 09 Schubas – Tavern Chicago, IL

Mar 10 Blueberry Hill – St. Louis, MO

Mar 11 Proud Larry’s – Oxford, MS

Mar 13 Gasa Gasa – New Orleans, LA

Mar 14 White Oak Music Hall Upstairs – Houston, TX

Mar 19 Valley Bar – Phoenix, AZ

Mar 21 Voila! Gallery – Los Angeles, CA

Mar 22 Brick & Mortar – San Francisco, CA

Mar 24 Doug Fir Lounge – Portland, OR

Mar 25 Alexander Gastown – Vancouver, BC

Mar 26 Barboza – Seattle, WA

Mar 29 7th Street Entry – Minneapolis, MN

Mar 30 The Back Room – Milwaukee, WI

Mar 31 Hi-Fi – Indianapolis, IN

Apr 01 Club Café – Pittsburgh, PA

Apr 19 The Dome – London, UK

Apr 20 Le Pop Up du Label – Paris, FR

Apr 22 Studio 672 – Cologne, DE

Apr 23 Bitterzoet – Amsterdam, NL

Apr 25 Berghain Kantine – Berlin, DE