As the musical polymath announces his forthcoming album 'Will This Make Me Good', we sit down to chat dreams, the subconscious and what makes someone good with Nick Hakim.
Sitting somewhere in the ether of psychedelia and soul is Nick Hakim and the eclectic soundscape he has crafted after turning to music as a form of escapism. Nowadays, the music he creates offers other a means to escape as his debut album ‘Green Twins’ was heralded as one of the greatest ‘neo-soul’ albums of the decade.
With a voice that somehow seems familiar, like an old friend reaching out to you from the airwaves, there is something indirectly nostalgic about the warmth that exudes from Hakim. Paired with an almost genreless sound that effortlessly weavers from 60s trip-infused psychedelia to a bluesy world of soul and jazz combined together with a Midas touch of modern electronica.
Hakim’s forthcoming album ‘Will This Make Me Good’ is set to follow the artist’s winning streak of experimental and dream-like sonic world. Much like ‘Greem Twins’, Nick’s preference to explore his subconscious and the many universes that exist within the realms inside of him. Listening to a Nick Hakim track, you’re first relaxed and transcended into his world that is comforting and ambient-like – much like a dream within itself. After a few listens, it is only then that you can begin to depict the intricate lyricism from the artist. Each listen, you uncover more hidden gems within themselves as Nick’s profound and honest storytelling is left to the listener to take what they want from it.
With new music waiting for us around the corner, we cross paths with Hakim in London as the world rapidly changes day by day thanks to Coronavirus. Gracefully pressing pause, we sit down to chat dreams, the subconscious and what makes someone good as we patiently wait for something good to distract us in the form of Nick’s beautiful work.
Dive in below and let Nick Hakim take you away from the current happenings in the world to some greater unknown.
When talking about the strange and delicate process around the creation of his new work, Nick Hakim reveals that, in comparison to ‘Green Twins’, “ It was a little bit different,” Nick begins. “I wrote all the lyrics in a window of 3 months or something. So, that was a little different with ‘Green Twins’, a little different with the writing ‘cos some of the songs were really quickly written. But, this time I wrote quickly but in a shorter amount, in a less spread out amount of time. For a while, I wasn’t writing lyrics, which was really hard for me for some time.”
When it comes to the art of taking breaks within themselves and allowing life to happen, Nick is caught in the middle of whether or not this is crucial to the process of creation. “I mean yes and no,” Nick begins, “I think that I mean, I’m trying to apply my process to now is that even if it’s just a free write it’s more important to me always to just have my notebook and write something down. Just the action of writing as much as I can, because for a while I wasn’t writing at all, and I feel like if I’m not writing I start floating around in my head.” Relatable.
A lot of artists throughout time having spoken prolifically about their routine of creating – some with specific and detailed habits they have to follow. However, some artists let inspiration come simply whenever it does. For Hakim, it seems to be a balance of both. “I had a moment when I just realised that I needed to do it regardless if I felt it was hard.” Nick opens up. “I was pushing myself into an uncomfortable place sometimes, not all the time. Sometimes, it was really difficult to sit still.”
“That’s another thing,” Nick continues, “My attention span is in like 10 different places at once, but I see it as a positive thing in my process as the emphasis of writing lyrics is important for any song I’ve heard. Not all music has the most profound lyrics necessarily, even if it’s simple its not really a song till it has words. so even right now I’m trying to write every day, just as an exercise, but it can get messy and I think that’s fun. At a certain point, you can find ways to organise it and get it out of your head, and it can be good to take breaks too, but this has just been working for me and where I’m at.”
When it comes to getting tunnel vision when creating a body of work such as ‘Green Twins’, Nick Hakin reflects, “Yeah, I mean at a certain point I definitely think I have tunnel vision working on it, but I have learnt how to accept it. I really like collaboration, and bringing in my community and my friends and my band on this record. This record has a lot more friends on it than my last record. On ‘Green Twins’ I was trying to play everything, and my friend Andrew, who helped me produce that record, played bass on it. But, everything else was kind of me except for two other songs. So, you know, now I’m a lot more open to like kind of having a lot more people involved.”
It’s clear that Nick Hakim is open to receiving the endless possibilities that his craft will bring him, and as we wait for more music in bated breath, the important thing to take away from this is the inclusivity that his music brings. It’s for you, whatever the words or feelings that his music brings you, that’s exactly what it means. A true signifier of a great artist is the ability to create work that everyone relates to, or at least takes something from, and that’s exactly what Hakim does.