AWOLNATION Singer Says ‘Sail’ Was Almost an Accident


Story by Anne Erickson

AWOLNATION’s Aaron Bruno says ‘Sail’ almost didn’t happen

A solo venture of Aaron Bruno, AWOLNATION started as a just-for-kicks project for the songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. That is, until Red Bull Records came onboard in 2009 and offered the budding songwriter use of their $8 million Red Bull recording studio. The upshot is AWOLNATION’s debut full-length, 2011’s Megalithic Symphony, which features a run-away alternative rock hit in, “Sail.”

“Sail” blends live instrumentation and electronic parts into an electro-pop amalgam that simply rocks. Listening, it’s difficult to believe the track was never intended to be a radio hit. But, Bruno insists the ditty, which took him less than an hour to record, was simply the result of trial and error.

“That was written at a time where I didn’t know what direction I wanted to go,” Bruno told “I was sitting at the studio trying to make these little pop songs for aspiring pop artists for chump change, [with] barely enough money to buy a bean and cheese burrito.”

So, he thought, why not try something really unusual and cool? “ … I came up with the string section part at the beginning, and the song just came to me,” he said. “I recorded the strings, the beat and the synth — all within 45 minutes. My engineer went down the street to get some sodas for us, and by the time he got back, I’d sung the lyrics and it was done. It happened so quickly it was almost an accident.”

Accident or not, AWOLNATION’s “Sail” now fits comfortably at No. 6 on the BDS alternative rock chart. Bruno thinks the song caught on because it appeals to a wide group of music fans. “I just want to make music that’s relatable to everybody: you, Mom, Dad, hipster, hip-hop kid,” said Bruno, adding that he had a cheerful, caring home life. “I’m trying to be non-specific, non-genre. If you listen to the record, you can tell it’s all the same source, but you can’t really pinpoint what exactly it is.”


Anne Erickson
Posted by Anne Erickson | Alternative, Music, Rock News

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