Before AWOLNATION’s cracking gig at The Deaf Institute in Manchester, Soundsphere got chatting with AWOLNATION’s frontman and visionary, Aaron Bruno about playing in the UK, his dance influences and finally taking the helm in a solo project.
“I guess that I have dance in my soul!”
Impossible to pigeonhole but insanely catchy, AWOLNATION have begun to make their mark across US radiowaves with music that can be likened to Owl City meets Andrew W. K crossed with “the balls of Slayer and the weiner of Prince”. After two false-starts with Under The Influence Of Giants and Home Town Hero, Aaron Bruno has finally begun to make significant in-roads with single ‘Sail’ already going platinum in the US and has planned year-long tour. The début album, ‘Megalithic Symphony’ made alongside his friends and touring band members is a colossal album, spanning various genres and styles and is a record Bruno is extremely pleased with: “I feel very proud of the record and feel stoked to play the songs every night!” Playing the music live has given Bruno and the band a glimpse of how people have reacted to it, and is keen to promote his band as a fresh and strange new sound, “I feel at home being an outcast…we’re not the next anything,” Bruno explains “some bands get coined as the next Arctic Monkeys or the next Strokes or the next Jane’s Addiction, but we’re the next nothing and I really love that!”
Writing the record as a solo artist, Bruno was able to revel in the freedom of writing alone, even if at times the process was a difficult one: “When I wrote the record I was at the lowest, most strange transitional period of my whole life. It was certainly out of anger and frustration and complete artistic freedom that the record came from.” Having formally worked in a band which was attached to a label and to a joint creative vision, “making music that is out of f***ing control” was now in reach. Despite this, in production Bruno was appreciative of the musical input given throughout from other sources: “I had the help of my good friends; I respect and guys that are better at certain instruments than I am. I had the final say always as opposed to the other bands where three of us had equal voting rights. That’s the main difference and obviously it’s more fun!”
Growing up on a range of music from pop to hardcore punk, AWOLNATION is an accumulation of Bruno’s influences throughout his life, and he pin-points a music scene in particular which sparked his imagination: “When the whole dance music revolution came back when bands like Justice, Boize Noize and Simian Mobile Disco came out it was such an exciting time for me,” he says. “When that Justice record came out, I happened to be in Europe touring with a band called The Sounds, and it was exploding over here before it came out in the States so I was experiencing that in the clubs, and to me it was like the first record since Radiohead’s ‘OK Computer’ on a production level that freaked me out,” Bruno concludes. “I guess I have dance in my soul!” One of the many themes that feature in the album is sci-fi and the possibilities of the future, expanding on this, Bruno told us, “I like 70s and early 80s movies and their idea of the future was so cool to me and classic looking. Stuff that’s like futuristic now seems very fake with CGI and green-screen stuff.”
Reflecting on the record and his journey so far, Aaron Bruno is delighted with what he has achieved as AWOLNATION and is thankful for the continued encouragement from family and friends through a turbulent start to his career: “Sometimes when I hear it I feel proud for the people who have supported me. I feel emotional for my dad and mom who have supported me forever and their hearts were broken to see my heart broken in projects before,” He adds, dedicating the album as “an anthem for anyone who’s been f***ed over.”
With things going so well, the north of the UK is AWOLNATION’s next port of call is to promote the album in the coming months: “We just feel grateful to be here, and not many people that I grew up with have even been to London let alone Manchester, so we feel very grateful to have the opportunity to travel and it’s very inspiring as so many good bands have come out of Manchester.” Plans to develop the second album will no doubt take place during this time, and Bruno teasingly hints at even bigger ideas for new material: “I can foresee that the next record structurally will be out of this world,” and yet he maintains that “it will be an extension of what this [Megalithic Symphony] was but in a new clever way and hopefully it’s even better; that’s always the goal.”
For more information visit the official AWOLNATION website.