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AWOLNation sets "Sail" with sophomore album, tour

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Wednesday, July 1, 2015

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Aaron Bruno was happy about AWOLNATION's success.

But he also found it "stressful."

AWOLNATION, which Bruno launched during 2009, got off to a big start with its gold-certified debut album "Megalithic Symphony," which launched the hits "Sail," "Not Your Fault" and "Kill Your Heroes." But even as he enjoyed that ride, he was looking forward with apprehension to the project's second outing -- "Run," which came out March 17.

"We've been, to a lot of people, kind of sleeping for awhile," Bruno, 36, says by phone from his home in Los Angeles. "But doing ('Run'), I just had a different kind of expectation from myself and a different kind of pressure to actually let people down for the first time. It was just a weird experience to follow-up something that exceeded any sort of expectations, or even dreams for that matter, and that I then had the freedom to make a follow-up that people could believe in.

"And I did have creative freedom; no one heard ('Run') until it was actually done, so it was kind of a trippy experience. But it was the only way I could have done it. It remains to be seen how the rest of the world feels, but so far it's been an overwhelmingly positive response so far."

"Run" debuted at No. 17 on the Billboard 200 -- 67 points higher than "Megalithic Symphony" -- and in the Top 5 of the Top Alternative Albums and Top Rock Albums charts. "Hollow Moon (Bad Wolf)" was a No. 1 Alternative single, and AWOLNATION's profile got a boost when its version of Bruce Springsteen's "I'm On Fire" was featured on the soundtrack for the film adaptation of "Fifty Shades of Grey."

"It's a song I've always loved, and someone gave me an opportunity to interpret it my way and see what happens," Bruno says. "If you give me the task of just doing my own version of a beautiful, perfect song, it's an easy experience. I just made it moody and kind of lo-fi and trippy and dark, and in my mind there was no way they were going to use it. But they liked it, and I felt blessed to have a reason to do that song my way."

Bruno anticipates more singles from "Run" (it's made a video for the track "Windows") and a long touring cycle to make sure the album gets its due.

"The first record had such a strange life and second and third life and gave me the freedom to take my time and release this record when I was ready," Bruno explains. "I think a lot of bands get excited and they go too fast; sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, but you only have one chance to make that sophomore follow-up and so I really wanted to take my time and do the very best I was capable of doing."

AWOLNATION, Family of the Year and Parade of Lights

Thursday, July 2. Doors open at 7 p.m.

The Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave.

Tickets are $8.90-$35.

Call 313-961-5450 or visit www.livenation.com.

Web Site: www.livenation.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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