AWOLNation Builders turned 6 years old today! Thank you to everyone who has joined me in celebrating the musical experience that is AWOLNATION! I hope to see you at a show soon.
Here's something for all you drum wonks! Isaac recently talked with Sayre Berman at Modern Drummer about his kit and the AWOLNATION sound.
“When we were rehearsing for the latest album,” says modern pop group Awolnation’s drummer, Isaac Carpenter, “Masters of Maple owner Sahir Hanif brought his bell brass snare, and it seemed like our band sounded twenty-five-percent better. You can hit it on the side [of the head] or in the middle, and it always has such a good tonal quality. It’s not overly loud; it just has such great presence. It has all the cliché attributes that you’d want in a snare: great top-end volume with nice low end that hits you in the chest.
Read the full interview and his kit details here.
By Joey Michel
It truly is an exciting time to have the chance to see AWOLNATION live. Much of last year saw the band opening for many of their peers and friends in Fall Out Boy and Prophets of Rage and performing before audiences that may have not been so familiar with the amazing energy and live show the band wields. Many fans were ready for a change of pace and hoped for shows longer than time would allow with an opening slot. Since then, we have come to find out a new album is on the way thanks to many educated guesses and various social media postings. Kenny Carkeet’s departure also left a major gap in an otherwise mindblowing lineup. Houston Whatever Fest gave us the opportunity to put a bunch of speculation to rest. Anything could happen. And I, along with the other 300 or so fans now compelled to the front of Houston's Warehouse Live, were down for whatever.
After what felt like an eternity, AWOLNATION finally made their way out onto the stage, wasting no time by jumping into a quick jam reminiscent of a group of friends playing in the garage and finally finding that groove that seems so audibly appealing. Smiles filled each one of the musicians’ faces. This jam seemed to flow flawlessly into the opening notes of “Run” and then Aaron Bruno emerged from the side of the stage to a rupture of acclamation from the small crowd. Bruno put his mouth up to the microphone to exclaim the first line of the song, but it was as if he had never uttered a word. Every single person in attendance was now bellowing the lyrics as if it was their last will and testament. Only a moment like this could make you realize we ARE human beings, truly capable of doing beautiful things, echoing the sentiments of the song.
This sing along continued into “Hollow Moon (Bad Wolf)”, albeit even louder and with more emotion. Singing turned into dancing as Aaron encouraged us to “jump, jump, jump!” with him as he makes a deal with the Bad Wolf. This frenzied beginning eventually turned into a more mellow affair with the band ripping through classics “People” and “Not Your Fault” both involving a certain amount of audience participation in the form of Aaron lending the microphone to the crowd to sing. The audience's immediate reaction to what was happening kept Aaron amused, laughing, and smiling while the crowd relayed the song back to him lyric for lyric.
Next came the groovy “Megalithic Symphony” b-side “THISKIDSNOTALRIGHT” that seemed to jam even harder then I remember on the album. “I feel like the dance floor is about to explode” exclaimed Aaron before the rapid thuds of “KOOKSEVERYWHERE!!!” rang out around the Warehouse. He was not wrong as heads started bobbing, people started jumping, bodies started moving. I believe a mosh pit opened behind me, and once I finally found the time to look forward and see what was happening in front of me, Aaron was off of his own two feet jumping around the stage as if he had just rented out one of those nifty new trampoline parks that seem to be sweeping the nation. This procedure was followed by the equally heavy and fast “Soul Wars.”
By this point in time, I noticed that many people in the crowd weren’t holding up phones taking pictures and videos they may possibly never go back and revisit, but rather being in the moment and enjoying everything AWOLNATION had to offer. It was as if the band knew this and fed off all of the positive energy within the venue. They then ripped through stellar versions of crowd favorites “All I Need” and “Woman Woman.” Drummer Isaac Carpenter must be commended for his now infamous drum solo that seemed to impeccably flow into a jam that included a mini guitar solo from guitarist extraordinaire Zach Irons. Aaron even left the stage so all attention would be focused on this wonderful lot of musicians appearing before us. This would all culminate with an up-tempo “Burn It Down.”
The intimate vibe of the venue and the fact that many people couldn’t or decided against coming out to the show due to inclement weather may have caused Aaron to forget that he was even at a festival, mentioning to the crowd that “this is the first time in a while we’ve played one of our own shows in Houston!” I can see how he felt this way.
After an encore break which saw the band leave the stage for well over 3 minutes during which no one in the audience left, but rather everyone seemed to move closer to the stage chanting for one more song. This would happen as the band came back out and jumped into their cover of the Bruce Springsteen classic “I’m On Fire.” During the soothing outro, Aaron took the time to update us on the current state of a possible new album! “I’ve been feeling like a lot of you out there” explained Bruno, “we’ve been writing a new album! Putting these thoughts to music.” Aaron then proceeded to connect with the audience on a more personal level. “We are all sick!” he explained, “But music is our drug! I don’t know where I would be without the music I listen to everyday. I never imagined so many people would want to listen to mine.” This statement was affirmed as the band kicked into “Sail” where-in every single voice in the audience became as one singing every lyric in unison.
Dan Saslow of IRONTOM fame must be applauded for his impeccable performance on the keys. It was as if he had been a member this whole time rocking out without ever missing a beat. Who knows how long this partnership will last, but we wouldn’t mind if this lineup was set in stone for a long time!
If you have the opportunity to see AWOLNATION live this year, do not waste it. The band is tighter than they have ever been, and put on one of the best live shows of all time. Be prepared to bring your singing voice and your dancing shoes though as you’re guaranteed to be doing both by the end of the night!
AWOLNATION's first show of 2017 deemed "clear highlight of the weekend" by Houston Press. Read their coverage of Houston Whatever Fest here.
Our very own intrepid reporter Joey was in attendance, so stay tuned for more.
by Joey Michel
Nation! In case you may have forgotten, (even though it’s quite hard to keep off our minds at this point) AWOLNATION is gearing up to bring us their third album sometime in the near future!
We at AWOLNATION Builders are here to bring you everything you need to know about this new album and keep you up to date on some of the things you may have missed and any new information that may develop in the coming weeks.
There WILL Be A New Album Sometime Soon !!!
Talk of a new album first hit fans’ ears late last year whilst AWOLNATION were closing out an electrifying 2016. Aaron, under the AWOLNATION instagram banner, posted a photo of himself with his dog Bille. With this photo came a caption of “Let’s record some new songs, Billie !!!” and a hashtag of “#newbeginnings.” We can only assume that work on this third album started around the end of the Prophets of Rage tour in late October and early November 2016, but could have possibly begun well before that.
In January, Aaron posted a photo to AWOLNATION’s Instagram page of himself sitting on top of an amplifier with guitar in hand. We can only assume that whenever that picture was taken, Aaron was in AWOL creator mode.
Another photo posted in late January shows Aaron in the studio grasping a microphone accompanied with a caption of “Let’s start today …” lyrics found in the song “Knights of Shame” that no doubt were used here as a double entendre. If you look really closely you can see producer Eric Stenman in the background most likely helping Aaron get everything sounding perfect. Eric is no stranger to the world of AWOL as he has helped Aaron co-produce and engineer AWOLNATION’s last 2 efforts.
More cryptically, Aaron has taken to social media to express the fact that he can’t wait to share his thoughts with us using an image of Billie that seems to provoke doom, fear, and despair. I wonder if this could possibly be a clue?
Aaron And The Gang Are Finding Inspiration Around Every Corner
While we understand inspiration is found any and everywhere, Aaron seems to enjoy sharing where he has gotten his ideas from this time around. A series of pictures posted to Instagram in November 2016 show signs advertising the sale of various different fruits with the captions “Hey Mister, there’s no shortage of song ideas here” and “California dreaming of fresh new songs.” Both posts came accompanied with the hashtag “#recording”.
A playlist of music including various artists and genres handpicked by Aaron was compiled by 96.5 The Buzz on Spotify. This playlist includes hard-rocking punk songs by bands like Rage Against The Machine, Nine Inch Nails, Minor Threat, and Bad Religion; popular classics by Outkast, Michael Jackson, ELO, and Cyndi Lauper; indie favorites by Lana Del Rey, The National, and Arcade Fire; and rock classics by The Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, and The Cars. While we are familiar with many of these influences already, if this is what Aaron is listening to while writing this album, who knows what we can expect
Album #3 May Sound A Little Different Than The AWOLNATION We Know And Love
In an interview with Tracy Scholtz, host of Austin, Texas’ “What’s New?” radio show in November of 2016, Aaron mentions that he has a vision for what the next album may sound like and offers a prediction for the future of alternative music. “I do think people are getting a little burnt out on robotic instrumentation and robotic vocals” notes Aaron. “While I’ve never had ‘robotic vocals’ or any tuning of that, there's certain kinds of instrumentation that I’ve always loved, bass synth for example over real bass.” Aaron predicts record labels will start looking for more guitar driven songs compared to the electronic equivalent you usually hear on alternative rock radio stations today. “I think that's going to change and move more towards the original alternative sound” explains Bruno.
Since this interview, most of the pictures added to AWOLNATION’s instagram of the band in the studio feature a guitar in at least one of the band members hands.
The Songwriting Process Is A Bit Different This Time Around
Those familiar with AWOLNATION know that Aaron Bruno is the mastermind behind the first two AWOL albums writing, playing, and recording almost everything on them. But, it appears that this album's writing process may conjure up a fresh sound the likes of which we AWOLNATION fans may or may not be familiar with.
Asked by Milwaukee's 102.1 FM in December 2016 if he had been writing songs, Aaron gave some insight on what we may expect from AWOLNATION’s third album: “I think on the next record I’m going to incorporate the other members a lot more because I feel like we are finally in a very strong place where people will come to see us live and they walk away talking about it. And I would love to capture that on the next record as best I can.”
So far, this seems to be the case as bass player Marc Walloch has posted some updates himself from the privacy of Aaron’s own personal home studio letting the Nation know he and Eric Stenmen are hard at work fleshing out album #3. Other pictures from the band's official Instagram show Aaron working with drummer extraordinaire Isaac Carpenter and guitarist Zach Irons.
I am sure you’ll join us in eager anticipation for the next hint of what we can expect. Considering the passion and the innovation we have seen in past, I am positive that we fans will not be disappointed by this next offering from our favorite band.
Stay tuned for updates as they happen!
Well, it's official. Kenny Carkeet has left AWOLNATION and is launching a new band with Max Collins called Fitness. Most of us have been following along with the Fitness rollout but weren't quite sure it this was going to be a side project for Kenny while AWOL was on hiatus or a permanent move. The wondering is over now since Kenny announced the move during an interview on The Brett Davern Show. Kenny and Max enter at around the 12 minute mark.
Please join us in wishing Kenny much happiness and success in his new projects. We love you man!
Aaron has sent an email message via Red Bull Records.
Nation, I hope your 2017 is off to a happy and healthy start!
We’ve been having a particularly rainy winter out here in California, and it’s created an amazing setting of inspiration and beauty as new music is busily being created. I’m looking forward to sharing more updates and insights with you this year as the process evolves and grows into the next AWOLNATION chapter...
Today I’m writing to tell you about another project I’m very excited about.
Last year I produced the debut album for the band IRONTOM (who you may have seen opening a show for us), and I’m very proud of how it turned out. The album is called PARTNERS, and it will come out on May 5th.
Recently the 1st single from the album “Brain Go” was released.
You can go to www.irontom.com to get more info and sign up for their email list or check them out on Facebook.
Listen to “Brain Go” now on SPOTIFY or APPLE MUSIC.
I hope you like it!
Until next time… Thank you for listening.
We're going WAAAY back on this one. Name the gentlemen in the picture AND the year. Okay, two are pretty easy.
#AWOL2017 has officially begun with what is the first show announcement. The band will play the Houston WHATEVER FEST. The fest is April 1st and 2nd. We do not know yet when AWOLNATION is scheduled. Stay tuned for more info.
Expect more dates to follow.
We are fans of the face melting, attitude adjusting, musical experience that is
AWOLNation Builders is a fan site created in 2011 that is dedicated to being a central source for AWOLNATION news and information.
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