By Madison Vain
Updated March 17, 2015 at 06:38 PM EDT
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 15: Q101 Show @ Cubby Bear, Chicago, IL

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

March 24: Lido, Berlin, Germany

March 25: PPC, Graz, Austria

March 26: Freiheiz, Munich, Germany

March 27: M4music Festival, Zurich, Switzerland

March 28: Burgerhaus Stollwerk, Cologne, Germany

March 30: Le Divan Du Monde, Paris, France

March 31: Melkweg, Netherlands, Amsterdam

April 1: Electric Ballroom, London, UK

April 18: Buzzfest, Woodlands, TX

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

April 25: Edgefest @ Toyota Stadium, Frisco, TX

May 1: Beale Street Music Festival, Memphis, TN

May 3: Sunfest, West Palm Beach, FL

May 8: Big Guava Music Festival, Tampa, FL

May 10: WRFF Annual Birthday, Philadelphia, PA

May 28: Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver, BC

May 29: Roseland, Portland, OR

May 30: McDonald Theatre, Eugene, OR

May 31: BottleRock Music Festival, Napa Valley, CA

June 2: The Catalyst, Santa Cruz, CA

June 3: House of Blues, San Diego, CA

June 5: The Aztec Theater, San Antonio, TX

June 6: The Diamond Ballroom, Oklahoma City, OK

June 9: Iron City, Birmingham, AL

June 10: House of Blues, New Orleans, LA

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

June 13: The Tabernacle, Atlanta, GA

June 14: Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, Manchester, TN

June 16: The National, Richmond, VA

June 18: The Fillmore Silver Spring, Silver Spring, MD

June 19: Firefly Music Festival, Dover, DE

June 22: Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto, ON

June 23: Metropolis, Montreal, QUE

June 25: House of Blues, Boston, MA

June 27: Irving Plaza, New York, NY

June 28: Town Ballroom, Buffalo, NY

June 30: House of Blues, Cleveland, OH

July 1: Bogart’s, Cincinnati, OH

July 2: The Fillmore Detroit, Detroit, MI

July 5: The Garrick Centre, Winnipeg, MB

July 7: Union Hall, Edmonton, AB

July 8: Flames Central, Calgary, AB

July 19: Egyptian Room, Indianapolis, IN

July 21: Cabooze Outdoor Plaza, Minneapolis, MN

July 23: House of Blues, Chicago, IL

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

July 26: Sokol Auditorium, Omaha, NE

July 28: Aggie Theatre, Fort Collins, CO

July 30: Knitting Factory, Reno, NV

Aug. 1: Hollywood Palladium, Los Angeles, CA

Sept. 19: Kaaboo Music Festival, San Diego, CA