Mr. Jenkins
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Mr. Jenkins

New York City, New York, United States | SELF

New York City, New York, United States | SELF
Band Alternative Acoustic


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Charleston Profiles: Nick Jenkins"

By: Austin Dandridge

Editors note: Charleston Profiles is a new installation on TheDigitel that hopes to document creativity in Charleston. We will be bringing more profiles every week with creative people that are making an impact on the Charleston community. If you know of someone you think should be featured, drop us a line.

Nick Jenkins is a staple of the Charleston music scene, splitting his time playing drums with numerous bands, including Run Dan Run, Leah Suarez, and Lindsey Holler's Western Polaroids to name a few. Between all this, he has also found time to hone his passion for art.

Describe yourself in one word. Present.

Describe Charleston in one word. Pleasant.

What was your life like growing up?
Growing up, my life was like a PBS television show. I grew up in a relatively small town (called Walterboro) and have good memories of going on adventures/make believing with my siblings. My parents took us to church, played us Bob Marley albums, taught us how to work for ourselves. We weren't a rich family, but we had lots of oppurtunity to grow and be creative with our resources and time.

Who/what were inspirations growing up?
Mr. Rogers, having a really large backyard, animal sounds, Labyrinth (the movie), The Never-ending Story, Bill Cosby, Tears for Fears, the Christ, the Bible, Shel Silverstein, Reading Rainbow, trips to Charleston, landscaping, Camp Happy Days, MTV, The Muppet Show, Prince...

Where does your interest in music and art come from?
I honestly don't quite know. I've always seemed to be drawn to them. I just realized one day that I couldn't stop making... things. Sounds, sculptures, drawings, songs, beats on the dinner table, etc. I feel that a lot of my imagination was fueled and fed in church, and in 3rd grade at recess. I read a lot of comic books and religious literature.

Describe your creative process.
Music + Recordings?
When I'm lucky, I usually have an idea for an album before I actually finish recording the songs. "Cupboards", for example, was a short collection of songs that I could see the beginning and ending of before I started recording. Something like that feels really good to get out and know it's a whole. Sometimes I just have a lot of music floating around or piling up in my hard drive and decide that it should organize it, categorize it and share it. That's what the "A + E" albums are all about.

Ultimately, I like to have a general feeling associated with the music I make. I want sounds to convey a sense of belonging and location and to paint a picture of a place or time or event.

Drawings + Paintings?
These are usually commission-based endeavors that are conceived with the help of someone else's ideas/visions. How I execute or bring someone's ideas to life is a product of a little bit of research, a little bit of free-associating, and a little bit of me trying to connect with something that the viewer/client is trying to hold on to. A memory can sometimes be so strong that it takes you back to a place. I try to take advantage of that in my work, by fitting objects together like a sort of puzzle of sentiments.

Who are some of your current inspirations?
My family, Shel Silverstein, Charlie Rose, Melinda Scharstein, the New Music Collective, Gaya, John Lurie, Hirona Matsura, DURF, Jimmy Taborello, Bang On A Can, Glassboy, Amtrak and the US Postal Service, Roland 808

What are you most proud of?
I'm proud of my family and friends. I'm proud of my ability to make something with very limited resources, which is something my family taught me well.

I'm proud to be able to say that my friends are some of the most creative people I know.

What’s on your iPod?
I don't have an iPod, but my cd player is currently spinning "Voice of Chunk" by the Lounge Lizards (fronted by saxophonist John Lurie).

I'm also digging on this band from Baltimore (via the internet) called Height.

Of all the places you have traveled, which stands out the most?
Europe. Copenhagen, Denmark. Summer, 2006. I was "on tour" with a Latin jazz quintet called "Toca Toca" and met some very unique and amazing people along the way.

It was also the first time I had traveled outside of the US, so everything was constantly new and magical.

What is your favorite restaurant and/or bar in Charleston?

Who do you feel is shaping the Charleston music community today? Art community?

Music Community Shaper(s)? Jazz Artists of Charleston are doing a great job. College bars are doing they're usual job. Individual musicians are doing the best they can, I think. Clay at 52.5 Records helped me find this Lounge Lizards album. The people who go out to see shit. (Is that allowed?) The list goes on.

Art Community Shaper(s)? Artist and Craftsman Supply are always great. I couldn't do a lot of the projects I need to get done if it weren't for them. Staples is a great place to buy... envelopes! Marcus Amaker and the Charleston Scene staff seem to be working really hard to shine a light on the positive things that are happening in Charleston. The list goes on.

What inspires you about Charleston?
I'm constantly inspired by the will and audacity that a lot of younger (creative) people have here. For example, if you want to put on a show and there isn't a venue that will let you do exactly what you want to do, you build something else or have it at your house! I really respect that spirit about things. I wish that more venues were available for experimental EVERYTHING, though. Charleston also feels like it's small enough to make a few splashes, figuratively speaking. I've been here for close to 8 years and it feels more and more like a "home base" the longer I stay. I'm interested to see and hear some new music come out of this area. I would go so far as to liken Charleston's creative community as a "revolving canvas" of sorts.

What’s next for you?
Dinner at Santi's. New Music Collective Annual Fundraiser at Eye Level Art on the 30th of April. Vacation with my sweetheart to Philadelphia and New York. After that, working on some more recording and gigging at Mercato with Leah Suarez. Morimoto (featuring Gerald Gregory and David Linaburg) are set to play the JAC Jazz Festival on June 3rd. Lincoln Center (NYC) dates to follow this Summer with a marching band I play in called Asphalt Orchestra. Drawing and painting on commission at home and abroad. Creating a new calendar for the 2011. - The Digitel

"Nick Jenkins: Drummer, Artist, Renaissance Man"

By: Lisa Ryan

Nick Jenkins is arguably the most sought after drummer in town. He plays with experimental rock organ trio Morimoto, alternative country quintet Lindsay Holler's Western Polaroids, indie rock trio Run Dan Run, jazz and Brazilian folk singer Leah Suarez, a trip-hop duo and recently began playing with Asphalt Orchestra, a New York-based twelve-piece marching band.

Jenkins has been a staple in the local music scene since 2001, when he moved to the Lowcountry to study jazz performance and drum kit at the College of Charleston. In addition to his multiple musical pursuits, Jenkins somehow finds time to also pursue his passion for art. He designs calendars and posters, and even created the latest tour poster for New York electroacoustic band Ensemble Pamplemousse.

Preview caught up with Jenkins over coffee and danishes at Kudu, and asked a few questions.

Q: What's going on with Asphalt Orchestra?

A: We're playing at the Lincoln Center next month. There is an outdoor festival happening for two weeks called Out of Doors Festival. I've been going up to New York every other month or so, rehearsing with that group. Our music is all over the place. There are different composers who have been commissioned to write for us. There's a Balkan wedding music composer named Goran Bregovic whose music sounds a lot like polka, but we also do some rock, punk, Bjork ...

Q: How did you get your start in music and art?

A: I started drawing in class in third grade, and I was always tapping on desks simultaneously. Nowadays teachers and parents would probably classify that as ADHD, but I think I was just creative. College was actually the first time I sat down and decided that I really wanted to focus on music as a career, not just a hobby.

Q: What record are you listening to now?

A: I'm listening to the new Dirty Projectors album, "Bitte Orca." I also have been listening to "The Legendary Marvin Pontiac," which is an album that the saxophone player John Lurie put out a few years ago.

Q: Say you're on "American Gladiators" and all your bands are the contestants. Which band would win?

A: I think Morimoto would come out on top because we've got Gerald Gregory, who is sort of a wild card. He also has a background in backyard wrestling. Back when the WWE was at its peak in the early '90s, a lot of kids would construct rings in their backyard and put on all out wrestling shows. Gerald used to do that. Here's a question, though: would I be fighting with all these bands?"

Q: No, you would be the television announcer.

A: Okay, well, Run Dan Run is currently made up of myself, Dan McCurry and Ash Hopkins. Ash is pretty tall and Dan is very clever, but I don't know if they could win in a fight against Gerald.

- Post & Courier (Preview)

""Shhh! There's a disco going on...""

By: Jack McCray

There's no chance Nick Jenkins' CD release party on Aug. 26 will be shut down because of too much noise.

The Charleston drummer and visual artist is set to unveil "8 Bits + Pieces" at Hope and Union Coffee Co., a growing concern in the burgeoning Midtown neighborhood of peninsula Charleston.

The cops might as well go get a Jazzy Pizza at Dell'z on Cannon Street or a pastry at WildFlour on Spring Street.

You see, the party is a silent disco. That's right, silent disco. Attendees are being asked to bring headphones. It'll be the only way you can hear Nick's new music.

"It will be very, very quiet," Nick told me with his famous, tongue-in-cheek humor.

The retort conjures up images of his well-known, ear-to-ear smile.

The idea for the party, which is free but you have to bring your own headphones, organically evolved from Nick's relationship with John Vergel de Dios, co-owner of H&U with his wife, Harper Poe.

The renovated Charleston house at 199 St. Philip St. is an increasingly popular spot for creative people of, it seems, every ilk, including entrepreneurs. It features single origin coffees with each cup hand crafted.

Nick started hanging out there about six months ago, looking for a comfortable place to work and network with interesting, perhaps like-minded, people.

Nick said, "I asked Hope and Union to host it because I like hanging out there and I'm usually doing work there anyway. The staff is great and they provide a very relaxed atmosphere. I felt that it would be perfect for what I wanted to do, which is to have some people listen to some songs I wrote."

John describes his early interaction with Nick:

"I remember him coming in and ordering a coffee and closely observing our process. He then sat down for an hour or so to do some work.

"On his way out, he handed me an envelope with an illustration of the actual envelope on the table where he was sitting and enclosed was a CD labeled 'Mr. Jenkins.' I really appreciated that and knew that there was something about Nick."

There's plenty about Nick.

He illustrates children's books, creates posters for rock shows, does the occasional "zine," personal calendars, T-shirt designs, album art, stationary and commissions.

He plays in many working bands, too.

"I am somewhat capable of 'swinging' on the drums. I love playing drums. It's my professional instrument. I am somewhat comfortable playing songs on a guitar. ... My piano skills are elementary, but I know where all the notes are.

Sam Sfirri, a jazz pianist and a barista at H&U, later told John that Nick was an "esteemed musician and artist." Sam gives John piano lessons.

John, who has a strong background in art direction and design, went on, "He soon became a regular, and on occasion, he would leave illustrations for 'the mouse,' Jeska, one of our baristas, and I noticed that Nick had a very consistent and distinct illustration style that I really liked, sort of resembling Wes Anderson's.

"So I asked him if he was interested to be commissioned to do our first series of limited edition Hope and Union T-shirt graphics."

Nick, who will turn 27 on the day of the party,

produced about a dozen images for the project, including one of G-Unit, John's car, that's shown with this column.

The naming of the car reveals a bit about the personality of John and Harper as well as their friends and the shop.

"In hip-hop culture, the term 'G' can be construed as a title of endearment or status quo. But in our case, 'G' actually stands for grocery or granny. Our 'whip' is a 1984 Mercedes-Benz station wagon and is our most prized mode of transportation at H&U. The G-Unit is usually spotted on the Ravenel Bridge running slow but smooth on the way to Whole Foods for organic milk and fruit runs."

On one of his sojourns at H&U, Nick drew G-Unit, complete with a cup of coffee that John left on the top as he drove off.

The two renaissance men also play in a garage band together.

John, 34, and Harper, 32 and owner of Proud Mary, a crafts business, came to Charleston in 2008 from Brooklyn, N.Y. and opened H&U in November 2009.

John, who surfs, helped build out the jazzy shop, including making the wooden furniture.

A big part of the attraction for folks is the clean, airy interior design of the sky blue and white store. There's a warm, open vibe that's reinforced by the layout and openess of the place. Not much stress to be felt.

The ambience is soft. Nick has a soft, quiet approach to his art.

He said of the new CD, "I like composing/recording music. I like listening to music in headphones, too. The songs on this album were written with the idea that I probably wouldn't be playing them live any time in the near future, but I still wanted to share the music with other people. There also aren't very many venues in Charleston (sadly) that struck me as capable or welcoming to the idea of a silent disco. I am not a DJ."

I've heard some of the music on the CD. It's definitely avant garde, but not random. It would probably fit in the new music category. Unlike a lot of music in that genre, there's discernible rhythmic patterns, melodies and harmonies.

The party starts at 7:30 p.m.

Nick said, "The start time is pretty strict." It will be broken down like this:

The album is just under 30 minutes long. There will be three different "sessions." Hopefully, the album will be played three times in it's entirety. So, 7:30, 8 and 8:30, ending at 9.

"The music on the CD is mostly programmed music, electronic drum and keyboard loops and sequences.," he says. "Other than that, I sing, play melodica, glockenspiel, percussion and keyboard. There is one additional violin track on a tune called 'Lovenest' by my friend Erin McKinley. I used a program called Reason and one called GarageBand. Oh, and there is a laugh track by some friends of mine from Asphalt Orchestra called 'This Guy.'

"Limited hard copies of the album will be sold for $15 at the show, as well as code cards for digital download of the album for $8. The only admission is that you arrive on time, bring some headphones, and keep any noise to a minimum."

John likes his music a lot. "I'm currently working on a storyboard for a 15- to 30-second TV spot for Hope and Union with director Gene Nazarov from New York," he says. "We plan to use an instrumental version of Nick's 'This Guy' track."

Nick's personality comes through the music he composed. John sees him as reserved, calm, collected.

He believes Nick is a "multi-faceted musician and has a vast knowledge in all genres of music and it certainly shows in his musical explorations. I would describe the album as being primarily electronic-based."

He thinks it would appeal to people who have an appreciation of the traditional pop song format but also appreciate a more abstract approach.

"His sound and melodies incorporate elements of electronica, techno, jazz and folk music with live instrumentation."

There are enough elements to Nick's art that it would probably mean different things to different people.

By the way, Nick just completed a little tour of New York, where he played Lincoln Center with Asphalt Orchestra, a street marching band, and London.

He left a little something, an art work and a song, on his website for the bartenders at the Huxton, a place he describes as a very fancy bar in East London that has "very fine cups of coffee.

Check out all of Jenkins' stuff at

His art is eclectic, just like the neighborhood.

And like the neighborhood, it's full of promise. I wouldn't be surprised if many more projects like this one sprout there. The grass-roots flavor of the area can only bring positive change.

John said, "I love the overall progressive and creative vibe in this neighborhood and there is so much support from the community and other local businesses. Everyone is really devoted to making it better. I feel like there is always something new popping here.

"Some of my favorite spots in Charleston are here: Hominy Grill, Sugar, Trattoria Luca, D'Allessandro's, Dell'z and two of Charleston's esteemed design firms, Stitch and Fuzzco are here. So it's just a matter of time till it catches on."

I hang out around the corner at Jazz Artists of Charleston's Jazz House, at the corner of St. Philip and Cannon streets. John's right.

In fact, I think it's already caught on. - CharlestonScene


Ta, pe. (2005)
Grey Things (2006)
Songs for Wilmington, DE (2007)
Bad Habits, Good Ideas (2008)
Commercials, Volume 1 (2008)
Commercials, Volume 2 (2009)
Commercials, Volume 3 (2009)
Cupboards (2009)
Lost + Found EP (2010)
A is for Acoustics (2010)
E is for Electronics (2010)
Backtracking (2010)
8 Bits + Pieces (2010)
Safety Lights EP (2010)
In Transit (2011)



Nicholas M. Jenkins (formerly known as Mr. Jenkins) has been composing, recording, performing and producing for close to 10 years. His resume includes music for websites, short films, lullabies for newborns, and live dance performances.

Jenkins studied Jazz Performance in Charleston, SC and made a name for himself playing in various musical projects ranging in influences of jazz, pop, alt-country, punk, blues, and indie rock. What began as a side project of all of these endeavors is now a prime source of his artistic outlets.

His biggest feat to date has been curating a 40+ member silent disco in the center of a quiet coffee shop (after hours). His 2010 release "8 Bits + Pieces" was digested and received warmly in its entirety (just under 30 minutes) multiple times by friends and walk-ins without appointments for a unique and direct listening experience.

Tools of his trade have included recording software spanning from Sound Recorder, Audacity, Fruity Loops, to GarageBand and Reason. He'll use whatever gets the job done.

Mr. Jenkins is a prolific musician who thrives in the minimal recording and sound design/production world; the simple and the lush; the quiet and the colorful. Please have yourself a merry little listen.