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AWOLNATION talks going 'darker and stranger' on 2nd album

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Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

AWOLNATION burst onto the scene in 2011 with the tornado of a single, “Sail.” It was dark and desperate, and to the surprise of everyone including Aaron Bruno, who writes and records all of AWOL’s music solo, pop radio loved it: “The last thing that I would thought would happen was a song like ‘Sail’ becoming a phenomenon and crossing over to pop and playing on those same stations,” he tells EW. “But it did.” 

Bruno has talked before about culling Megalithic Symphony‘s material from the disappointing dissolution of his second major-label band, which begged the question walking up to this release: Would success dampen, or in this case, lighten, his material? Just about four years after MS, his sophomore effort, Run, is here and offers a swift and convincing, “No.” The title track opens the album with brooding, almost unnverving, electro before Bruno repeats, “I am a human being/Capable of doing terrible things.”

“It’s kind of a heavy reality, but I think everybody can relate to that feeling,” the singer says of the opening. “We all know that we have a dark side to us and are capable of some moments we wish we hadn’t explored.” Run is bigger than Megalithic Symphony; more varied. It wades into murky waters Bruno couldn’t have explored had MS not taken off, an opportunity not lost on him, “The success of ‘Sail’ being a darker, weirder song definitely gave me artistic freedom and the license to make a darker, stranger record in Run. I was really grateful for that.”

At its best—tracks like “Hollow Moon (Bad Wolf),” “Dreamers,” and “Windows“—Bruno runs ragged, reflecting on himself as much as his relationships. It’s as ambitious sonically as it is conceptually: “It’s a more personal, vulnerable record than any other that I’ve been associated with in the past. It’s a heavy experience for sure. But I don’t know. I just feel like humans appreciate honesty and even if you’re vulnerable and you’re saying something that’s not necessarily putting your best foot forward but admitting that you feel a certain way, I think people relate to that, I really do. I do at least.”

Which isn’t to say he’ll unpack a lyric, much less the title of the album, for you. When asked about “Run,” he had this to say: “I don’t mean to escape away from that question; it’s just, I’m a huge advocate of people interpreting lyrical meanings on their own. Having said that, I will say we’re all running from something or towards something, it seems.”

Run is available for purchase on iTunes, and Bruno and his band are out on a 50+ date tour in support of the album—a full list of dates is listed below. The band has shared exclusive, behind-the-scenes footage of making the “Hollow Moon (Bad Wolf)” video, that is streaming below. 


March 13: Pot of Gold Music Festival, Tempe, AZ

March 15Q101 Show @ Cubby Bear, Chicago, IL

March 19ACL Live @ The Moody Theater, Austin, TX (SXSW)

March 24Lido, Berlin, Germany

March 25PPC, Graz, Austria

March 26Freiheiz, Munich, Germany

March 27M4music Festival, Zurich, Switzerland

March 28Burgerhaus Stollwerk, Cologne, Germany

March 30Le Divan Du Monde, Paris, France

March 31Melkweg, Netherlands, Amsterdam

April 1Electric Ballroom, London, UK

April 18Buzzfest,  Woodlands, TX

April 24KMYZ Radio Show @ Brady Theater, Tulsa, OK

April 25Edgefest @ Toyota Stadium, Frisco, TX

May 1Beale Street Music Festival,  Memphis, TN

May 3Sunfest, West Palm Beach, FL

May 8Big Guava Music Festival, Tampa, FL

May 10WRFF Annual Birthday, Philadelphia, PA

May 28Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver, BC

May 29Roseland, Portland, OR

May 30McDonald Theatre, Eugene, OR

May 31BottleRock Music Festival,  Napa Valley, CA

June 2The Catalyst, Santa Cruz, CA

June 3House of Blues, San Diego, CA

June 5The Aztec Theater, San Antonio, TX

June 6The Diamond Ballroom, Oklahoma City, OK

June 9Iron City, Birmingham, AL

June 10House of Blues, New Orleans, LA

June 12House of Blues, N. Myrtle Beach, SC

June 13The Tabernacle, Atlanta, GA

June 14Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, Manchester, TN

June 16The National, Richmond, VA

June 18The Fillmore Silver Spring, Silver Spring, MD

June 19Firefly Music Festival, Dover, DE

June 22Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto, ON

June 23Metropolis, Montreal, QUE

June 25House of Blues, Boston, MA

June 27Irving Plaza, New York, NY

June 28Town Ballroom,  Buffalo, NY

June 30House of Blues, Cleveland, OH

July 1Bogart’s, Cincinnati, OH

July 2The Fillmore Detroit, Detroit, MI

July 5The Garrick Centre, Winnipeg, MB

July 7Union Hall, Edmonton, AB

July 8Flames Central, Calgary, AB

July 19Egyptian Room, Indianapolis, IN

July 21Cabooze Outdoor Plaza,  Minneapolis, MN

July 23: House of Blues,  Chicago, IL

July 25KRBZ’s Annual Radio Show Beach, Kansas City, KS

July 26Sokol Auditorium, Omaha, NE

July 28Aggie Theatre, Fort Collins, CO

July 30Knitting Factory, Reno, NV

Aug. 1Hollywood Palladium, Los Angeles, CA

Sept. 19Kaaboo Music Festival, San Diego, CA