Nick Hakim: Tiny Desk Concert The music of Nick Hakim occupies a space and time that feels out of this world, with songs that explore the quietude of inner thoughts.

Tiny Desk

Nick Hakim

The music of Nick Hakim occupies a space and time that is faintly out of this world. The guitars and machinery that make up his music feel slightly askew, as though someone slowed down the tape machine every once in a while. His raspy voice feels drenched in a cavernous space. In fact, the first time I met Nick Hakim, he was literally draped in fiber optics, as if stars were surrounding him. That was in Austin at SXSW's Optic Obscura installation.

But here at the Tiny Desk, in Nick Hakim's hometown of Washington D.C., it was daylight at our office and all pretty down-to-earth, with guitars, bass, drums, piano and a touch of electronics behind my desk. Yet, with his voice unamplified and stripped of the reverb he's come to rely on, Nick Hakim's music still felt warm and spacious.

The songs he performed are from his 2017 record, Green Twins. The tune he opens with is an exploration of memory, of sex and love as he sings, "It's been years since you came around to these parts of my mind / All I can recall is you restin' naked every time."

Exploring the quietude of inner thoughts seems to be a theme floating through Nick Hakim's music. And in the broad daylight of this Tiny Desk, his talent for lyricism and tamed passion, along with his band's playful restraint, reshaped these songs in ways that feel more accessible and less obtuse. So here's your chance to discover someone who may be new to you, with the hope you'll explore Nick Hakim's recorded work.

Set List

• "Cuffed"

• "Needy Bees"

• "Roller Skates"

Musicians

Nick Hakim (vocals and guitar), Kyle Miles (bass), Jake Sherman (keys), Joe Harrison (guitar), Vishal Nayak (drums)

Credits

Producers: Bob Boilen, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Alyse Young, Maia Stern; Production Assistant: Salvatore Maicki; Photo: Jennifer Kerrigan/NPR.

For more Tiny Desk concerts, subscribe to our podcast.

[+] read more[-] less

More From Tiny Desk

Cimafunk plays a Tiny Desk concert (Laura Beltran Villamizar/NPR). Laura Beltran Villamizar/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Laura Beltran Villamizar/NPR

Cimafunk

The band from Havana brings its intoxicating mix of Afro-Cuban dance music and 1970s funk-and-soul to the Tiny Desk.

Indigo Sparke performs during a Tiny Desk concert, on Nov. 21, 2019. (Catie Dull/NPR) Catie Dull/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Catie Dull/NPR

Indigo Sparke

The Australian singer transforms the NPR Music offices with a voice that, at moments, comes as a whisper.

Jenny Lewis plays a Tiny Desk Concert (Laura Beltran Villamizar/NPR). Laura Beltran Villamizar/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Laura Beltran Villamizar/NPR

Jenny Lewis

A consummate storyteller, going as far back to her days with her band Rilo Kiley, the words of Jenny Lewis comfort and inspire.

Chris Dave & The Drumhedz perform during a Tiny Desk concert, on Dec. 9, 2019. (Catie Dull/NPR) Catie Dull/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Catie Dull/NPR

Chris Dave And The Drumhedz

Chris Dave, your favorite musician's favorite drummer, takes listeners on a journey through a virtual record store, picking up different genres along the way and putting them in your bag.

Elisapie performs during tiny desk on November, 26, 2019. (Photo by Mhari Shaw/NPR) Mhari Shaw/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Mhari Shaw/NPR

Elisapie

The Canadian singer-songwriter gives a deep, soulful performance against a sometimes moody backdrop of bass saxophone and bowed guitars.

Snoh Aalegra plays a Tiny Desk Concert (Laura Beltran Villamizar/NPR). Laura Beltran Villamizar/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Laura Beltran Villamizar/NPR

Snoh Aalegra

The Iranian-Swedish singer draws her musical cues from Brandy and Sade while racking up a list of collaborators such as Vince Staples, James Fauntleroy and, most recently, Pharrell Williams.

Laura Stevenson performs at a Tiny Desk Concert on Dec. 12, 2019. (Emily Bogle/NPR) Emily Bogle/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Emily Bogle/NPR

Laura Stevenson

Backed by a small string section, Stevenson performed three songs that sounded so gorgeous, an actual marriage proposal broke out shortly after her set ended.

Mount Eerie plays a Tiny Desk Concert (Laura Beltran Villamizar/NPR). Laura Beltran Villamizar/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Laura Beltran Villamizar/NPR

Mount Eerie With Julie Doiron

Phil Elverum shares his open wounds — of death, love and the loss of love — in close harmonies, accompanied only by electric and nylon-string guitars.

Baby Rose plays a Tiny Desk Concert (Kisha Ravi/NPR). Kisha Ravi/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Kisha Ravi/NPR

Baby Rose

At 25, she mixes the bluesy melisma of Nina Simone and the deep register of Sarah Vaughan — two of her influences — with songwriting as devastating as her delivery.

Jonathan Scales Fourchestra performs during tiny desk on December, 4, 2019. (Photo by Mhari Shaw/NPR) Mhari Shaw/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Mhari Shaw/NPR

Jonathan Scales Fourchestra

Here's a first: Steelpans at the Tiny Desk. It's true. Nearly a thousand performances into the series and the instrument has never been featured, until now.

Back To Top