Eclectic musician Nick Hakim wowed fans with his ‘Where Will We Go’ two-part EP back in 2014 – and then things when quiet. not for a lack of sharing. Hakim was working on his debut album, the psychedelic-pop-romp ‘Green Twins’, which is out today.
We caught up with him to discuss the new record, where he’s at right now and why he needs to start controlling his diet better on tour…
How is the album different to the EPs?
“The album is a lot more energetic than those. The EP’s are very slow and feel like you’re moving in honey or something, but this is more free and experimental for me, both vocally and production wise.”
What kind of place were you in emotionally when you started working on the record?
“Initially I think the inspiration was coming from me feeling like I didn’t have enough time to work on music because I was working a lot at my various day jobs. So whenever I had free time at night , I would dedicate that time to making music. Then once I started getting more situated and settled in Brooklyn, I learned how to manage my time effectively, but then theres so much more inspiration that I drew from; personal experiences, dreams, different engineering techniques, new gadgets, etc.”
Was it enjoyable record to make?
“It was so much fun! It got a bit frustrating at times when I had to finalise some vocal stuff. Writing the EP’s I was really sad so it felt very different, personally very different from the EP’s. The writing process was extremely different. On the album I was more curious on how to challenge my creativity, and through that I had a lot of fun.
Did you record it on your own?
“I recorded some of it on my own. I work with really amazing engineers like Andrew Sarlo, Daniel Schlett, Luke Oldfield and Vishal Nayak. Andrew Sarlo, who’s someone I’ve been working with for a while now helped make this record – we recorded it in a few different studios in New York. I also recorded some stuff in London. I did a lot of it at home by myself, and then Andrew and I would get together to flesh it out. There’s some great people featured on it, like the Onyx Collective, Naima, Jesse & Forerver and Jon Nellen from Ginla.”
Does it feel like you’ve been working on this for a long time or did it go quickly?
“It feels like it wasn’t that long ago but at this point, it’s been almost 4 years since I started some of these songs, so it was a long process.”
You experimented a lot with different recording techniques. Why is it important for you to try combine certain artists and techniques that have never been tried before?
“I think whats fun about recording, and learning about what people use or how they get particular sounds is that, at least in my experience, you can’t really ever get it to sound exactly like your reference… which is cool because you use that technique as a seed to get something that you create that’s unique.”
Do you ever see yourself taking on a producer role? It seems like your music suits that kind of collaboration.
“Yeah, I have been helping out with a couple of projects in NYC and LA in the past couple of years.”
You’ve started touring it now – what was it like translating that into a live experience?
“I’ve been playing with a group of musicians for a long time so its a pretty natural process when learning new material. Theres a really positive chemistry with the musicians I work with.”
What have you learned the most while traveling for the album?
“That I get sick very easily, and I need to build up my tolerance for travelling and eat better while on the road!
Nick Hakim’s debut album ‘Green Twins’ is out now via ATO Records