Aaron visited Red Bull Studios Sao Paulo when AWOLNATION was in Brazil for MIX Festival. While there he sat down and talked with Camila Alam. This interview is in Portuguese, so please bear with me as I pick out the highlights that I'm pretty sure are accurate. When I get a full and accurate translation I'll post it.
* Confirmed that a camera crew followed Aaron around for a documentary that's in the works.
* Being able to share his music with other cultures is very emotional for him. It re-energizes him and reminds him that music is a universal language.
* After Brazil, returning home to prepare for the release of the new album. And all that goes with that.
* The best part? He says the shows, celebrating the live music, especially when the crowds are energetic and participate and sing along. But, he says, if he had to choose only one part, it would be the actual creation of a new song that is his favorite thing.
The full interview can be found at Red Bull Studios.
EDIT 10/3/14 Here is a full translation. Many thanks to Joana Varanda for doing this for us!
After months of drought, last Friday it rained a lot in São Paulo. I was at Red Bull Station, in the city centre, awaiting the arrival of the Californian band Awolnation, that was going to go on stage next day at São Paulo Mix Festival, in the Anhembi stage.
The band's show brought together almost 30 thousand people. But before facing the crowd, Aaron Bruno, lead singer and idealist, saved a few minutes to speak about the current tour, his previous bands, and his creational process. Bruno, that was part of other musical groups before reaching world success with Awolnation, also spoke about the downside of being famous. On that day, a filming crew was following him up and down, capturing his every move for an upcoming documentary. "This is definitely not my favourite part", he said, laughing.
Is this your first time in Brazil? How are you liking it so far? I like your boots.
Well, thank you. They're a bit wet. I also dig your style. It's been great. With all the coming and going we haven't had much time to go sightseeing. In fact, yesterday I got off the plane, took a nap, and right after started giving interviews. I still haven't seen the city, just drove around in a van, and it was raining.
Do you have any plans to visit the city?
Haven't thought about it yet, but I want to enjoy it. I always try not to plan too much ahead, that way I can explore more freely.
What about the show tomorrow? Are you used to playing in such big festivals?
Yes, having the chance to play these songs that I wrote and sharing the lyrics with other cultures and languages is a big blessing. It's very emotional for me. I never thought that so many people would listen to my sound and actually like it. Sometimes there's a language barrier, but it's fun, it energizes me and reminds me that music is in reality a universal language. We've played in various places where that cultural barrier is even more drastic than here, but everyone sings along, even if they can barely speak english. Music unites us all. It's great to see people, in these caotic times we live, letting their differences aside and celebrating together.
That's cool. And you've played in other bands before, but you only gained world fame with Awolnation. How do you cope with so many cameras following you around?
I'm really not that used to it. This camera thing is not my favourite part. And those guys behind the cameras, they're really boring. Just kidding. But I still need to pinch myself everyday, reminding myself that things eventually worked out. I'm happier for my parents, now they can rest assured they did not fail raising me, and have put me on the right path. I don't know what I would have done without their guidance, I think they are more excited about fame than me.
So do you like it?
I can't like it. In fact, what I really love is wrting new music and keep growing as a writer, and making better songs.
How do you write when you're on tour? Is there a specific time where you sit and think about it?
These past few years we've toured a lot, around Europe and the United States. I still haven't had the time to go on studio, but I've already got a few ideas, and I try to turn them into reality. There's always time to write. I don't necessarily need the studio. I can have an idea during an interview, or during coffee break, or even going down the stairs and realizing the noise my shoes make against the steps can turn into a beat or a groove. When I see someone in the street looking sad, I also get some ideas. So there's really not just one way to make music, it comes when it comes and I do my best to serve it, if that makes any sense.
It does. Your record has many different sounds, like pop, rock and electronic. What's your favourite style, and is it that inspires you the most?
I listen to all kinds of music, nothing specific. But I do love punkrock, hardcore, hiphop, metal, classical, country, jazz. I even enjoyed these horrible hit songs that we listened on the radio on the way here.
A song by Celine Dion. The point is that you need to be open to everything. A good song is a good song, whether the artist looks good or not, what he's wearing or what your friends think about him. I'm not afraid to like whatever I want to like. It doesn't matter if it's popular, or catchy or cool, I like everything that touches me, to be influenced by what's good and that way improve as a song writer. When I'm composing, I always try new things, I try to expand my musical library, and it can contain something old or something new, it doesn't matter.
And what are your plans in Sao Paulo?
After the show, we're heading back to LA to finish the second record. After that, we'll be preparing to release it next year. We're going to do the music videos, and everything needed for its promotion. That's not my favourite part either, making videos and being photographed.
So what is the best part?
The shows. Celebrating live is the best, especially when the crowd is very energetic and participating, singing along. But if I had to pick just one thing, I'd say creating a new song. It's like going on a first date, or starting a new relationship, when everything is exciting. That's how I feel about a new song. And nobody knows it yet, so it's just my secret.
And that's when you can decide if it's good or not...
Yes, I get even more excited when I think it's good. I'm my worst critic, so I decide whether it's good enough to go on the record.
But what makes a song good?
My songs? I think if I record it, there's already something good about it. When the record's being created, it needs to fit the context, the lyrics, the feelings, all the emotion. Like everything was connected to create a story. In our first record, things were kind of random. But the next one, I want it to be more focused, even though still having different elements. Like making a movie. Sometimes there are really good scenes, like an hilarious line or dramatic scene, that get left out because they're not relevant to the story, or not part of the sequence. That's how it works.
Nice, we hope to hear it soon. And hope you can enjoy Sao Paulo.
Thanks, I hope it stops raining.
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