Azimuth: Southampton-based rock band promising a brainstorm over Britain

Tuesday 1st June 1993

Marie-Louise Flint reports on zaney rockers AZIMUTH.


They're loud, zaney and refer to themselves as a "rave, rock, indie five-piece". In the three years of Azimuth Brainstorm's existence they've built up a loyal cult following (a gruesome phrase for a Christian band). Now they've trimmed their name to merely Azimuth. Why the truncation I asked Azimuth's vocalist and keyboards player Neil Mansfield? "We dropped the 'Brainstorm' because it was too long, and when we told people our name they had forgotten the Azimuth bit by the time we got to Brainstorm. People tended to call us Azimuth anyway."

The line up of Azimuth has recently gone through some changes; it is currently Neil Mansfield, David Lee playing saxophone, Ken Murray on drums and the two latest additions Mowf, on bass, who has been with them for six months, and Gary Todd, who joined two months ago, on guitar. This change in the line up has influenced a change in their style, as David described: "Mowf and Gary are more into rave and funk so our music is starting to move in this direction, and this summer we're going to record a new tape with this as our new line up and style."

Their first tape, 'So Tell Me', came out in 1990. This was put together really quickly because there was a lot of demand from our fans to bring a tape out," said David. Last summer Azimuth recorded their second tape 'Armadillo' which is also their new logo. David said, "We're really pleased with this tape and it is at the moment Azimuth are still popular." Their influences are quite wide ranging: The Cure, Inspiral Carpets, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, EMF, Madness and Ned's Atomic Dustbin. Neil's own words best sum up Azimuth's style: "If you take all these bands and mix them up in a cooking pot for half an hour then you've got Azimuth!"

So how do Azimuth put lyrics to this boiled concoction? "All people sing about things that are important to them. Our Christianity is important to us so that's what we focus on. It's not always directly Christian but everything we write is from a Christian perspective."

All the band members are based in Southampton, either in the University or living in the locality, so they tend to do most gigs in this area. "The performances we do further afield are specifically Christian," explained Neil. "For example, we've been to Spring Harvest, Cheltenham, Greenbelt, Cornwall, Winchester, to name but a few."

At the moment Azimuth are doing on average a gig every other week. They play in numerous pubs and student unions where they have had a terrific response. Neil commented: "We've even had people ask us what drugs we're on 'coz we're so mad! They're really disappointed when we tell them we're on Jesus. But they still want to know when we'll be back!"

Neil related the band's vision: "We aim to challenge people's stereotypes of Christian music. That's why we're so funky and we jump around so much. We want to help bring people on one stage further, whether they are just church goers who can be stirred into living their faith or to start something stirring inside non-Christians. It's just such a privilege to be involved in God's work." CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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