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Awake At Dawn
Hometown: Austin, Texas
Genre(s): Rock, Metal
Awake At Dawn: It’s the sensation of a night well spent into the next morning as well as how it feels to rise with the sun, fresh and invigorated. It’s that feeling that comes with those peak moments of human bliss like the ones inspired by the best rock’n’roll — just what the band Awake At Dawn evokes from listeners with their music.
The group spearheaded by singer Rob Chambers and guitarist Cameron Hooker melds an utterly modern rock attack and ambience with strains of the finest classic styles and inspirations to create a timeless trademark sound all their own. Their songs range from such dynamic high-tension-wire rockers as “You Or Me,” “Safeword” and “The Blur” to tours de force like “Bravest Soul” and “I’m Sane…?” that start out with delicate acoustic guitar and crescendo into balls-to-the-wall rock to more atmospheric numbers like “Dichotomy” that still crackle with energy. They sing about passion, pain, needs and urges, struggle and redemption, and the push and pull of life and love in the modern world. It’s music that that lands knockout punches with a velvet boxing glove and also soars, seduces and sizzles. And brings the listener pleasures, inspiration, solace and enlightenment that last all through the day into the darkest hours of night, and ultimately leaves you satisfied and transformed as you emerge, like the band, Awake At Dawn.
It’s music that has already won the band a prominent supporter, multi-platinum star producer Beau Hill, whose mixing skills grace the group’s first album. “Awake At Dawn caught my attention with their excellent material, an unusual focus on arrangement details, and progressive melodic hooks,” says the music industry legend who has produced such million-selling acts as Ratt, Eric Clapton, Warrant, Alice Cooper and others. “Sounds like the recipe for a hit to me.”
Creating a sound and songs that will make an indelible mark on the charts as well as the hearts and souls of music lovers has been the goal of both Chambers and Hooker since well before they first met and found each other kindred creative souls while playing together in the popular Austin, Texas-based touring band 8Systems. “I wasn’t sure I was into the band,” recalls Hooker of when he auditioned for that group’s lead guitar slot. “Then I heard Rob’s voice and said, yep!”
Chambers had a similar epiphany once Hooker showed his stuff on the guitar. “He came in and played on this new piece we were working on and started doing this cool melodic ambient stuff, and I really vibed off of that and it really helped my melody along a lot. That’s how we are now — we just naturally lock in together and do a lot of vocal and guitar interplay.”
Both of them share an ambition since their youths to create memorable and meaningful music and a determined work ethic and professionalism to ensure their work reaches its widest possible audience. “I wanted to be Keith Richards and Dimebag Darrell,” says Hooker of his goals when he dropped out of college to pursue his rock’n’roll dream. He grew up in Denver, weaned on his father’s vinyl albums by The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and others. “I remember we bought that Rolling Stones singles boxed set, four CDs, and my Dad said, you’re gonna sit down and listen to this thing and you’re gonna understand. I was just a little kid. He helped ingrain that in me for sure.” Hooker says.
By 13 Hooker got his first guitar and spent his teens playing in bands that won local battles of the bands while digging into the music of favorites like Metallica, Guns ‘N Roses and Slayer among a wide range of other music. In college at the University of Southern Colorado he studied classical guitar with a former student of legend Andres Segovia, and first visited Austin with his band TTEC to showcase at South By Southwest, where they won a Yoohoo sponsorship that led to a tour opening for Candlebox. In 2007 he fled the Denver snows to Austin and soon after landing there answered an ad for the lead guitar position in 8Systems.
Chambers hails from Central Texas and started in music playing classical violin before his father taught him guitar and he “immediately fell in love with it and spent long hours locked in my bedroom trying to figure out riffs over and over.” By his high school years he was writing songs and finding inspiration in acts like U2 (“Bono is a big hero vocally”) and Seattle grunge bands like Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Stone Temple Pilots and Candlebox. “I loved the way they would have really heavy guitar hooks and melodic hooks too,” says Chambers. “That’s something we try to do too — be more melodic instead of just balls-out heavy.”
At McLenon Community College in Waco, Chambers majored in the school’s commercial music program learning the business and recording as well as taking ear training, guitar and vocal lessons and even a class in becoming a rock band. He formed his first group there, which did some touring and recorded an album before it fizzled out due to a lack of commitment by his fellow band members. He became the singer in 8Systems by also answering an ad.
Hooker and Chambers toured together in 8Systems through Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado, where the band enjoyed a strong live following, until the group had a highway accident that severely damaged their touring vehicle. United by their serious commitment to forging a career in music, the two played the band’s remaining show commitments as an acoustic duo before striking out on their own as Awake At Dawn and recording their debut album at the studio Chambers and his father built at their home in McGregor, Texas.
“Rob and I share the same drive,” says Hooker. “He’s the only dude I’ve met who can sit in the studio all weekend and get it right.”
“We’re both workaholics,” adds Chambers. “It’s hard to find people who are like that. We have a real ease when it comes to writing. We sit in a room and it just clicks.”
Their goal was to create a band “that is everything that dangerous rock’n’roll should be,” Hooker explains. “We also want to push the envelope and not always play it safe.”
“We just want to be real,” stresses Chambers. “We want people to relate to that — that we try to be genuine in our music and performance. I think people want to connect with that.”
Hooker traces the goal of their musical mission back to when he decided to make music his life after a rocky patch in his childhood. “When you’re a kid that can really be tough. But I remember listening to music and how it kind of saved my life. I was like, man, this has got to be it. It was the only truth I knew at the time. So if we can create music that does that, we can’t fail.'
Awake At Dawn has already sparked a buzz by posting its first finished recordings on MySpace — where Beau Hill first heard the two — and getting positive feedback from fans that thanks them for music that feels new, refreshing and appealing if not utterly infectious. “What I always tell people is that it’s just whiskey-drenched rock’n’roll, man, three chords and the truth plus a pint of Jack,” concludes Hooker. “We live our mantra.” And by doing so Awake At Dawn will soon be keeping the nation if not the world up all night into the morning with their music.
|Interviews||Music Videos||Raw and Uncut|
JC Flores catches up with Awake at Dawn after their performance at the Hot Tin Roof for the Battle of the Band, Battle for America Regional Competition.
Awake At Dawn perform 'A Soul's Cry' at the Hot Tin Roof for the Battle of The Bands, Battle for America Regional Competition in San Antonio, Texas.
Awake At Dawn - Safeword - Performance
Awake At Dawn perform 'Safeword' at the Hot Tin Roof for the Battle of The Bands, Battle for America Regional Competition in San Antonio, Texas.
|A Seeing Through|
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