Home > Interviews > Q&A: Aaron Bruno (AWOLNATION) at Leeds Festival 2015

Q&A: Aaron Bruno (AWOLNATION) at Leeds Festival 2015

Carrie Humphries


Hello Aaron! Have you ever played Leeds Festival before?

No, this is my first time.

How did the set go today, was it good?

Yeah, it was a very special, memorable show. It’s our first big UK festival. We played at 2.45, which you would think wouldn’t be that fun, but it was amazing. The tent was packed and people were just going for it. I sweated a lot. Luckily I showered before I met you, so I don’t smell strange. Overall; yeah, today was great.

Are there any other artists over the course of the weekend that you are particularly looking forward to seeing?

Refused. They are probably one of my favourite hardcore bands from way back in the day.

Can you tell us a bit about how you started making music. What inspired you to get into it?

Well, my dad taught me how to play on a nylon string guitar when I was about 6. From that, we would jam together and that was pretty much my first time experiencing the power that music had. I developed that musical bond with my own father, then that was it.

Are there any particular artists that influenced you while growing up?

Of course there are. I loved all sorts of music while growing up. We would have to spend a month together for me to tell you all of the bands that influenced me. I’m influenced by all music. If a gun was to my head and I really had to pick a few, I guess it would be Michael Jackson, Prince, Nirvana, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and Radiohead. Also, Public Enemy and NWA.

Over the last few years it seems like you can’t go anywhere without hearing tracks from Megalithic Symphony and your tracks have been used for TV Shows like Sons of Anarchy, House and The Good Wife just to name but a few. Were you surprised by the album’s success?

Yes, definitely.

With that success, did you find that there was more pressure on you in terms of writing your second album, Run?

It wasn’t that there was more pressure, it was a different kind of pressure. There’s always pressure when you’re making music; especially if you want to make the best music you can. This was the first time in my career; if you want to call it that up to that point, when I knew that people were actually waiting to hear what I had done. So this was the first time that I knew that there was going to be an audience excited to hear something new from me. So that was a big pressure, I guess.

Did the writing and recording process differ from the first album or was it pretty much the same sort of scenario to earlier recordings?

It was different this time. It was just me and one. It was hugely personal this time. Very personal lyrics, vulnerable lyrics, even raw. It was heavier and darker. I went away in a barn, north to my home in Southern California. I just got away from everybody and went back to the core and soul that I love about music. It’s my proudest work for sure.

How do you feel that the general public reaction has been to the new material?

At the moment we’re still getting people to hear it, so it’s kind of hard to say. There’s definitely been some people who have said some of the nicest things that I have ever heard; that it is the best work that I’ve ever done. Then there has also been people who are critics. Some of the reviews that I’ve received have been people saying that it’s the best record of the year, but then there are other reviews where people have been saying that it’s offensive. I kind of enjoy poking at the emotions, so I’d rather have people love it or hate it than be like ‘Yeah, it’s ok’. We’re still at the beginning of it all so it’s hard to know.

If you could collaborate with any artist on any future material, who would it be?

It would be Jeff Lynne from Electric Light Orchestra. He’s my favourite producer and one of my top

Finally, what have you got planned for the rest of the year?

Just touring. After this, we head back home to the States and we have a lot of shows there. We have loads planned for the end of the year in the states. Also, just continuing to spread the word of AWOLNATION.

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