Hidden on a quiet corner of the Boulevard neighborhood in Athens, Jim Hawkins has owned and operated Studio 1093 for 39 years. Now, his time at Studio 1093 has come to an end.
Hawkins bought the building in 1979, purposefully planning to build a studio. At the time, he focused most of his attention on sound recording for films, so he didn’t build the studio immediately. He rented it to bands and other artists because he thought it was a great place for garage recording.
“I did an album for The Squalls and two or three others,” Hawkins said. “I was mostly renting it out to bands to rehearse because I wasn't here … Then along comes R.E.M. and they wanted it long-term. They kept it for two, two and a half years, until they got their Warner Bros. record deal. Then they could buy their own place.”
After R.E.M., other bands — such as Five Eight and Dreams So Real — rented the space for short periods of time.
Later on, Hawkins decided to use the space rather than rent it out since he needed a place to park his remote recording truck, which he had used to record concerts. The decline of the film industry in Georgia in 2007 was another reason why Hawkins decided it was time to build his recording studio.
“I feel like we’re moving in the right direction, but we’re not there yet. And of course I don’t retire until we do get there."
- Jim Hawkins, owner
“I didn’t realize it would take two and a half years to do, but it did,” Hawkins said. “We got it open on April 15, 2010. I worked with studio designer Russ Berger to design the room.”
Since it wasn’t his first time working in a studio, Hawkins thought he had an idea of how he wanted to design it.
“I called [Berger] up and asked him if he could come to Athens and thus spent a day to work out acoustical treatment in the space,” Hawkins said. “The problem with a guy like that was that he had a lot of really good ideas that I liked. I decided to back up and say, ‘Forget about what I was gonna do and let Russ design it.’”
Hawkins said it became the only purpose-built recording studio in Athens. A majority of recording studios were built as additions to people’s homes, he said.
Now, Hawkins decided it’s time for him to retire.
“I got started a long time ago. I'm 75 years old now — 76 in March,” Hawkins said. “There’s a few other things I want to do before I’m gone.”
He wants to find someone to carry on the work that he has done. Currently, the space for Studio 1093 is on the market. Multiple parties have shown interest, but Hawkins hasn’t received any offers yet.
“I feel like we’re moving in the right direction, but we’re not there yet,” Hawkins said. “And of course I don’t retire until we do get there.”
“I would know it would always be used by people that were learning something and getting something from the work I had done.”
- Jim Hawkins, owner
Among the many goals that he has set aside for after he retires, he would really love to travel to Spanish-speaking countries like Mexico and Spain.
He also enjoys operating ham radio, so he would like to spend time playing around with that.
“Those are the things I can think of now, but I’m never at a loss for thinking of something I want to do,” Hawkins said. “I never get bored.”
He hopes someone who can continue on the studio’s legacy will buy the space.
Annie Leeth, a University of Georgia senior violin performance and composition major who produces music at Studio 1093, will miss the studio. She appreciates the studio for its streamlined and simple-to-understand equipment.
“It’s the first place I ever recorded an EP for someone else,” Leeth said. “For someone who has never seen a patch bay before or used a patch bay, it was very straightforward.”
Leeth also wishes someone who appreciates the studio will buy it. As of now, one of the inquiries has been made by a doctor who believes the studio will be a nice place to move his practice due to its proximity to the hospital.
“I hope that’s not going to happen, because it would be heartbreaking to see that space just not be used as a recording studio,” Hawkins said.
Leeth said the studio would be a great space for students of the music business program at UGA to learn and hone their skills for music production.
“The music business program is growing, the business school is huge, so I just think it would make sense,” Leeth said. “We have a little studio in the music business department, but it's more for teaching … [Studio 1093 is] a great place to learn.”
Hawkins said the happiest outcome would be if UGA bought the studio.
“I would know it would always be used by people that were learning something and getting something from the work I had done,” Hawkins said.