“When I got back from South Africa I couldn’t believe how wonderful of an experience I had!” – Watkykjy interviews Aaron from AWOLNATION

In Watkykjy Interviews deur griffin

Awolnation’s brand new studio album, Run, will be released worldwide on the 17th of March 2015. We got to listen to the whole album as a sneak peak and it is brilliant. You can pre-order it over here on i-Tunes.

We also had a chat with songwriter and frontman, Aaron Bruno…

Ever thought of putting a song out there so people could put their own video interpretations to it?
I don’t know why, but a lot of our songs sound very cinematic, especially on this record. And I think because I have the artistic freedom to make the record exactly the way I wanted to… I suppose I had a lot of visuals in mind, you know? Whatever different way the world was pulling at my heart and soul at the time.

What was your biggest turning point as far as music is concerned
I would say that… Nirvana Unplugged performance in particular –  when they covered the Lead Belly song “Where did you sleep last night” – that was a huge moment for me where they kind of made me realize how I was obsessed with music and wanting to play it myself. Never did I think it would be an actual thing or I would actually ever play in front of anyone because I was terrified at the time. I was 15 years old but I kinda remember just trowing in the towel on everything else that was going on. At that moment I just wanted to concentrate on how much I love music and surfing and nothing else really mattered as much as those two things at that time. I guess the simplicity of their interpretation of that song as well as the way Kurt played guitar – it didn’t seem too far fetched for me to be able to play that same way. Only in my bedroom of course…

Within reach of your abilities at that stage?
Yeah, I was like “maybe I can do that but not that like anyone would enjoy it”. I could do it for my own therapeutic needs in my bedroom as I was you know, at that awkward age of 15 not really knowing what the hell was going on.

Another huge point was when Radiohead’s OK Computer came out – I was in all these other bands, punk rock bands and hardcore bands and stuff and when that came out it made me realize how much more artistic music could be rather than what I was listening to at the time. It kind of just opened my mind to a left of center approach to music and made me realize I needed to get much, much better and push myself. So those were the two very pivotal moments for me musically.

Has anything come around more recent that made you go “wow, this is something else!” ?
No, I can’t say there’s one thing. There are so many different bands I’ve loved all along. That’s always been the hardest question for me to answer – you know biggest musical influences, because a conversation could be a huge influence on how I write songs as much as a life experience or as much as hearing music that I absolutely think is terrible and fake – that could be a huge influence on my because I don’t wanna ever come across that way. You know, I like music that comes from the heart and which is true to what it is, so I can’t tell you that there is one band or one discovery… Well, the most recent – I was listening to Rodriguez this morning and not even thinking about the fact that I was doing a South African interview today and – I mean that is a great example of a record that when I discovered it.. I did discover it right before the documentary came out. My friend asked my what I thought about it.
I couldn’t believe that that record existed and I haven’t heard it yet. It devastated me! That’s a good example – stuff like that happens all the time. Off the top of my head I can’t say that there is one song in particular or band in particular. I am just so open to all different genres of music.

Getting back to your writing. I know you like to bounce ideas off your friends and other musicians. What is the writing process apart from that?
I don’t really have a process. Its kinda however it goes down, you know. Sometimes I will be driving and have an idea and I’ll record that idea on the little voice memo on my phone like everybody else has. Sometimes while I’m in the studio I’ll hear a sound that kinda triggers all these other ideas that come naturally. But I don’t have like a method where I wake up at a certain time and go to a tree and and bring my guitar and sit under the tree.. you know what I mean?

Yeah, you don’t lock yourself into a cabin with soup and instruments…
Nothing like that. I don’t need that. I’m very lucky – I definitely don’t have a shortage of ideas. Sometimes I have too many ideas and I have to decide which one is most important and going to make the most sense for Awolnation and how to facilitate that idea as quick as possible. They come out of thin air sometimes and I don’t know why or where they came from exactly. I just feel like it is my job to service these ideas…
2 AWOLNATION by Kari RoweRight, so I have an example of that – in “Like People, Like Plastic” which is from the new album, Run, right at the end of the song you scream “Fuck your ghost”. What is that all about?
I can’t say man – it is way too personal. I think that we can all interpret it in way… I mean ghosts can be real or you can think of it as a metaphor. The idea of a ghost is such a – geez, you can write a whole album just about ghosts and the thoughts behind it…

So you’re just going to leave that open to interpretation – you don’t really wanna elaborate on it?
Yeah, it is a metaphor for a lot of things, kinda standing up for yourself in a way, I guess. But I don’t want to get too specific about any lyric.

OK, no problem. So your new album – can we blame it on the ADD – like the lyrics on Sail? Certain parts of the new album sound like it could be ADD – like sections go into different directions. Don’t get me wrong, it works.
I think I understand what you’re trying to say… Nothing is intentional. I didn’t sit down and think “Ah, I’m gonna make a record that has this part or that part” – it is just that those are the songs that I wrote and that’s what I loved about it. But it is funny you should mention that lyric because, you know, if someone interprets the words of the record as all over the place the joke’s on them because I already blamed it on “you know what”, haha. There you go. It kinda went full circle.

I just thought it was scattered, but in an organized way. Like everything fits?
Yeah, I hear what you’re saying – I am not taking offense to it or anything and I appreciate it. All the records that I have loved the most went in a lot of different directions you know, from Sergeant Peppers to Abbey Road to OK Computer to some of my favourite hip-hop records. I have so many different musical influences that I am not going to limit it to one way or people for any weird reason or them to be alienated by that. I just feel bad or them for being closed-minded, you know? Why does everything have to sound the same? I don’t ever really want to repeat myself. In a movie for example – if you’re gonna watch a movie and there is going to be a fight scene the whole time you’d probably get bored with that. I want the record to feel like an Academy Award-winning film, haha!
Awolnation album coverSo the album drops the 17th of March, worldwide, right?

What are your touring plans for the album for 2015?
We’re just gonna try and tour the world and go everywhere that we’re wanted. Just hard work and good times. In the foreseeable future we definitely can’t wait to come to South Africa. I don’t exactly know when that’s gonna be but…

That was my next question
Yeah, I’ll tell you this: when I got back from South Africa I couldn’t believe how wonderful of an experience I had. It just felt like another home to me. I can’t explain it. It had a lot of similarities to Southern California, believe it or not – or at least the coast line feel similar in a lot of ways.

A lot of people say that about South Africa – the home away from home thing – and they usually wanna come back as soon as possible.
It was just such a beautiful experience. It felt so real and I just couldn’t believe that I was invited to a land so far away from where I live.

I would say of all of the countries we’ve visited – don’t tell the other countries I’ve said this – that South Africa was one of my favourite if not the best experience I’ve ever had.

Haha, cool. Well, congrats on the new album – it is really, really great.
Thank you. Keep listening!

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griffin“When I got back from South Africa I couldn’t believe how wonderful of an experience I had!” – Watkykjy interviews Aaron from AWOLNATION