Wilmington Band Has Unique Tiny Desk Contest Entry (Video)

Jan 13, 2015

Late last year, NPR Music's Tiny Desk Concert announced a contest. "NPR Music wants you to play a concert in our office," read the invitation. "Adele, John Legend, Wilco and T-Pain have played in our Tiny Desk Concert series. You could be next."

To enter, a musician must record an original song behind a desk.

Wilmington, North Carolina-based band The Midatlantic performed their entry behind a desk in an imaginative location. They were aboard a boat on the Cape Fear River:

Jason Andre is the lead singer and mandolin player for the group. He said that when the band was thinking about a potential location for the recording, they knew it should have something to do with water. Andre is a former professional surfer who grew up on the Outer Banks.

The Midatlantic (Jason Andre, Steve Schroeder, Will Maxwell, Jesse Bond, Ben Sciance and Allan Upham)
Credit the band

"Everything we have done in the past has been tied to the ocean. Water is a constant theme, a big theme in my songwriting," says Andre. Unfortunately, it was winter. "To get out on the ocean would have been really rough, no one wanted to sacrifice their instruments!"

Someone thought of the Cape Fear River, and someone knew someone with a pontoon boat, and soon the idea was taking shape. On a Sunday morning at 8 a.m. the guys headed out.

"It was freezing cold, the wind was howling," he remembers, but they managed to find a nook, and the wind died down at just the right time.

Oddly, says Jason Andre, shortly before the announcement of the contest he had told the band that one of his life goals was to "get behind Bob Boilen's desk." They actually set that goal for the band at their final meeting of the year in 2014. A couple of weeks later he heard about the contest.

They first heard that they'd been featured on the contest blog by tweet. NPR Music tweeted about them, "and then Fiona Richie tweeted it! I was in in NPR nerd heaven! We looked at each other and started screaming."

Take a look at other featured entries here, including one from Hillsborough's Brooke Telarico.

And it's not too late. The contest is accepting video submissions until January 19th.

The winner will play a full Tiny Desk Concert at NPR's studios in Washington, D.C and then travel to Austin, Texas, for a March 2015 showcase at the Lagunitas's CoughTrippin' shindig.

You can read the full contest details on this special contest page at NPR's Tiny Desk Concerts site. And don't miss the official the rules.

Never seen a Tiny Desk Concert? Here are some of our picks:

Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo play three classics: "We Live For Love," "We Belong" and "Promises In The Dark."

The loudest guy in the world came to the Tiny Desk to perform some of his quietest music. Dinosaur Jr.'s J Mascis, for years a guy who's turned my ears red, showed up armed with just an acoustic guitar.

T-Pain: the King of Auto-Tune graced the Tiny Desk without any embellishment or effects.