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AWOLNATION: ‘This isn’t a comeback – it’s a reunion’ | Music | Entertainment

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It’s been a while for Aaron Bruno. The frontman and face of AWOLNATION hasn’t really seen the light of day for some time, and there are a few reasons for it.

First of all, when the band released their last record, Angel Miners & the Lightning Riders, in 2020, the world shut down soon thereafter. Since then, he’s been trying to start a family, and has since had twin boys. On top of that, he released an album of cover songs – “just for fun” – My Echo, My Shadow, My Covers, and Me in 2022.

But with almost 4 million monthly listeners on Spotify, AWOLNATION are far from irrelevant. And today Bruno has proved that with the announcement of his upcoming album, The Phantom Five.

Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk from within his home sauna, a couple of weeks ahead of the announcement, Bruno seemed at peace. Even an interview promoting a new album felt like a break for him with two almost-newborn twin boys in his home. But, looking forward, he has even more work to do.

However exciting this new album is, it was once a sombre idea, as Bruno wanted it to be his final album – ever. “When I was writing a lot of this record [I did it] knowing that I was going to become a father,” Bruno explained. “And with the world upside down… I was also thinking: this may be the last AWOL record. And so I kind of went into the writing as if to say farewell to the listener.”

Naturally, though, once the tracks were written and recorded he realised “of course, it’s probably not going to be the last record”. Despite that: “I liked the idea and the romanticism and drama,” he laughed. “Of considering it being the last record.”

Still, with the idea of this being his final AWOLNATION album during its infancy, was Bruno excited to be… free of it all? “Not so much excited,” he sighed. “As much as, maybe… relief? Relief because the pressure… the pressure of all of it is real.”

To alleviate some of the demands always surrounding him, Bruno went on to find some solace in a new, tongue-in-cheek project. The Barbarians of California, a heavy metal outfit comprised of him and some of his band. After letting off some steam there, he got back to crafting The Phantom Five.

He went live with it recently with the release of Panoramic View – AWOLNATION’s first new, original track in years.

Considering the time between songs, it did feel a little bit like, Bruno admitted, the band were making some sort of “comeback”. “I didn’t intend for it to feel that way,” he confessed, before explaining how he felt his fans had welcomed the new single with open arms.”

Bruno continued: “So, both the timing and just the reception of this first single, and the little teasers we’ve done of the next song just,” Bruno trailed off, before animating again. “I feel more connected to my fan base and more engaged than I have [before].

“Maybe it’s part of where I’m at in my life. And, I’m not sure, but yes, it does feel a bit like a comeback. It just feels, rather than say a comeback, I would say it feels more like a reunion, of sorts. With our listeners.”

Fans in the UK will no doubt be wondering when a real reunion will be taking place – a live tour with real shows in local cities. Unfortunately, there’s no good news there.

“We would love to go,” Bruno said. “I would love, I would love to see [British fans]. And I read on our message boards. It’s like… it’s so aggressive how people get [when] we haven’t been there in a while. But hey, it got tricky to get over there for obvious reasons.

“This sort of comeback experience – or reunion – will definitely help that become more of a reality … It definitely won’t be this year, because we have [the album] planned. But I’d be surprised if we didn’t do something next year.”

Listen to AWOLNATION on Amazon Music Unlimited here.



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