Azimyth – led by lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Corey Allan Hawkins – has just released their self-titled debut album to enthusiastic response, and it's a notable album for several reasons, the main being: it was engineered and mixed in Chicago by Steve Albini, who previously produced In Utero by Nirvana and Surfer Rosa by the Pixies. Azimyth has a high-energy, pure rock sound and their goal with the album is to bring honest rock 'n' roll back to Vancouver and the Canadian music scene as a whole.
Hawkins shared with CraveOnline readers the story behind the band's name, what it was like to work with an icon like Albini and how he himself overcame a difficult period to come out of it a stronger person and musician.
CraveOnline: Start by telling us about the history of the band and its name.
Corey Allan Hawkins: The band was formed in 2002. The name came about when an ex-girlfriend heard me mispronounce something… I still talk to her to this day and she still reminds me of that. We started playing local shows and 10 years later we're honing our craft and writing better songs. The difference between becoming a hobbyist and becoming a professional is your attitude – how much you work and put into it.
CraveOnline: Did you enjoy working with Albini?
Corey Allan Hawkins: Working with Albini was a lifelong dream. There's just "something" about the way he records a band. We wanted our first album to sound like our live shows. With today's technology anybody can make a CD – you don't necessarily have to be great at it anymore, and we felt that our live show is basically what people come and see so we wanted to give them the same thing. Albini records on tape, and we didn't want any studio trickery involved – we wanted to challenge ourselves and be the best we can be. If you're going to be on tape you have to have yourself together.
CraveOnline: What's in the works for Azimyth?
Corey Allan Hawkins: We're trying to put a tour together. Being that one of our members is American, we're still in the process of trying to figure out everything we need to make a tour happen, but we're going to see what dates we can get and in what cities.
CraveOnline: I understand you went through a bit of a rough patch – can you tell us about that?
Corey Allan Hawkins: I used to make beer for a living – it was a pretty cool job and toward the end of 2009 the recession kicked in. I had grown-men coming in and crying because they couldn't afford beer anymore – I lost all of my customers because they were losing their jobs. And then I lost my car and the business was going under- I was in financial ruin. On top of that I hit about as rock bottom as one can go on an emotional level. It was worse than my darkest days and I spent three days in bed.
And then there just comes a point where you have to decide what you're going to do. I sort of snapped out of it and from that point on I said let's start rebuilding. It took some time but I took care of my affairs – I kept my house which is great, and I decided that I wanted to focus on something I'm really good at (music). And everything changed.
From 2009-2010 the band took a one-year hiatus and I'm glad because it recharged all of us. Our playing got better and we were fuelled when we came back. We decided to do an album and take this as far as we can go.