Awolnation performing in Los Angeles
Background information
Origin Los Angeles, California, United States
Years active 2009–present
Labels Red Bull
Associated acts
Past members

Awolnation (usually stylized as AWOLNATION) is an American electronic rock band, formed and fronted by Aaron Bruno, formerly of Under the Influence of Giants, Home Town Hero, and Insurgence. The band is signed to Red Bull Records,[3] and their first EP, Back from Earth, was released on iTunes on May 18, 2010.[4] They released their first studio album, Megalithic Symphony, on March 15, 2011; it featured their most notable hit, "Sail", which peaked at #17 on the Billboard Hot 100,[5] #4 on the Billboard Rock Songs chart,[6] and #5 on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart.[7] The song has been certified 6× platinum by the RIAA[8] and has sold 5,500,000 copies in the United States.[9] As of February 29, 2016, the album has been certified platinum.[10]

The band's second studio album, Run, was released on March 17, 2015.


Creation, Back from Earth (2009–10)

Aaron Bruno was approached by Red Bull Records in 2009, asking if he wanted free use of the Red Bull recording studio in Los Angeles.[11] He recorded a few songs in the studio and ultimately signed with the label, calling it more of a "partnership", and was allowed to make the recordings that he wanted. Bruno has been with numerous bands before he created Awolnation, including Home Town Hero and Under the Influence of Giants. Bruno writes all of his songs himself, but confides in close friends and family or respected artists for guidance.[12] The name Awolnation is derived from Aaron Bruno's high school nickname. In an interview with Kristin Houser of the LA Music Blog, he stated that he "would leave without saying goodbye because it was just easier, so that's where the name AWOL (slang from the military acronym for Absent Without Leave) came from."[13]

Megalithic Symphony and Touring (2011–14)

The band released their debut album Megalithic Symphony digitally on March 15, 2011, and physically on March 29, 2011 on Red Bull Records. Megalithic Symphony features a total of 14 tracks, including the singles "Sail", "Not Your Fault", and "Kill Your Heroes" (produced by Brian West). Bonus tracks are also offered with the purchase of the digital album depending on the outlet. These tracks include "Shoestrings", "Swinging from the Castles" and "I've Been Dreaming".

The band's first single, "Sail", peaked at #10 on the U.S. Billboard Rock Songs[14] and has gone platinum in the US[15] and double platinum in Canada. "Sail" was featured in the episode "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot" of CBS's television show The Good Wife, commercials for the Fox television show House, Nokia's commercial for Lumia and PT's commercial for 4G LTE, and is also the background music for Under Armour's "Are You from Here" commercial, featuring Derrick Williams. "Sail" was covered by Macy Gray (included on her album Covered) and by DevilDriver (on their album Winter Kills). "Sail" was also used for a Sonya Tayeh routine in So You Think You Can Dance season 9, episode 6; at the end of the episode "Dog Soldiers" in season 1 of Longmire; and featured on the soundtrack of the thriller horror movie Playback released in March 2012, as well as featured throughout the film Disconnect (2013) starring Jason Bateman in an incredible rare serious role. The track gained even greater exposure when it was featured during BMW's Olympic Opening Ceremony and in commercial spots throughout the Olympic broadcasts. "Sail" was used during CBC Hockey Night's opening tease in Canada on February 18, 2012, prior to a game between the Vancouver Canucks and Toronto Maple Leafs. It was also used as of March 2013 in commercials for History Channel's new series, Vikings. The song has also inspired conversations among bioethicists. "Sail" peaked at 17 on the USA Billboard Hot 100, 27 on the Australian charts, 33 on the New Zealand charts and 17 on the UK charts. "Sail" was also used on wingsuit flyer Jeb Corliss's YouTube film 'Grinding the Crack',[16] which as of October 2014 has had over 27 million views.

Another of the band's songs, "Burn It Down", is featured in the Sons of Anarchy episode "To Be, Act 1", and is also one of the in-game radio songs in Saints Row IV. Also one of their songs "Guilty Filthy Soul" has been featured in the episode "Break On Through" of The CW television show The Vampire Diaries. The band's songs "Sail" and "All I Need" are featured in the season 1 episode "Gun!" of Common Law. The band's song "Sail" was also featured in the season 4 episode "Hot for Teacher" of Pretty Little Liars. "Kill Your Heroes" is featured at the beginning and the end of season 3, episode 2 of the Canadian TV series Rookie Blue, and the remix of "Sail" together with Innerpartysystem was played in episode 8 of the same season. It was also used in the episode "The Wake-Up Bomb" of Covert Affairs. Furthermore, "All I Need" was used in the season finale of the NBC show Whitney.

On June 6, 2012, the band released an Extended Play, "I've Been Dreaming", for free download in their official website. The extended play includes 3 unreleased songs, ("I've Been Dreaming", "Shoestrings", "Swinging From The Castles") and recorded live versions of "Kill Your Heroes", "Not Your Fault", and "People" that they played in Toronto.

They released two new songs, "Thiskidsnotalright"[17] and "Some Kind of Joke".[18] "Some Kind of Joke" appears as the second song on the Iron Man 3: Heroes Fall – Music Inspired by the Motion Picture soundtrack. The track "Thiskidsnotalright" is featured in the video game Injustice: Gods Among Us. Beacon audio did a Kickstarter for a limited edition speaker.[19] They have released a Deluxe Edition of Megalithic Symphony that includes "Thiskidsnotalright," "Some Kind Of Joke", "Everybody's Got a Secret", songs from their EP I've Been Dreaming, as well as remixes of other songs from Megalithic Symphony.

"Megalithic Symphony" and Sails immediate success exposed the band to fans of all different genres of music. They were starting to gain diehard fans by playing various music festivals and consistently touring. Between the years 2011 and 2014, AWOLNATION played 306 shows, 113 in the year 2012 alone, supporting the album and its singles.[20]

Run, Christopher Thorns return, and Future (2015–present)

3 singles were released: Its lead single, "Hollow Moon (Bad Wolf)", was released in January 26, "Windows" on March 3, and "I Am" on May 17.

The band released their second studio album, Run, on March 17, 2015. The album received polarizing but positive reviews, and the band received its first Metacritic review; with the album getting an aggregated 68 out of 100, from 6 critics.

On April 7, 2015, they made an appearance on Conan.

On or around September 3, 2015 Bruno confirmed that long time guitarist Drew Stewart had left the band to spend time with his family. He was replaced by Irontom guitarist Zach Irons. In an interview with Premier Guitar, Irons says he got a call from Aaron while on the road with his band Irontom supporting AWOLNATION during the Run tour. Aaron asked if he could step in for Drew. Zach says it took him four whole days to learn all of the songs where he barely slept and there were barely any rehearsals. An interesting note about Zach's playing is that he is right handed, but plays guitar left handed.[21]

On December 1, 2015, AWOLNATION released a B-Side track from Run named "Wichita Panama" for the Red Bull Records "Red Bull 20-Before-16" December event.[22]

On February 22, 2016, AWOLNATION released the videoclip for the song "Woman Woman" for the Red Bull Records.[23]

In a live Facebook Q&A session, Aaron mentioned that his favorite song to play live with AWOLNATION is usually the newest song that they have started playing live.[24]

On June 20, 2016, the band announced that it was cancelling many dates of its summer headlining tour so it could serve as the opening band for the Prophets of Rage tour. This announcement was met with consternation and upset by many of the band's fans, many of whom took to the band's Facebook page and other social media outlets to express their displeasure at incurring non-refundable expenses planning to attend imminent shows that were cancelled unceremoniously and at the last minute.

On July 8, 2016, AWOLNATION released an alternate version of Run named Run (Beautiful Things), where the repeating lyric "capable of doing terrible things" is replaced with "capable of doing beautiful things." The music video for this shows a person in a cloak with the AWOL helmet holding a purple lantern while emerging from the sea. At times, the scene cuts away to a mermaid with the person as she swims away at the lyric "run."[25]

During the tour with Prophets of Rage, Zach Irons left the tour during the second leg to tour with IRONTOM. In his absence, original guitarist Christopher Thorn replaced Zach on a handful of shows starting in Tampa on October 1, 2016. This would mark the first time Thorn played with the band since around March 2012.

In a late 2016 interview, Aaron mentions that he has a vision for what the next AWOLNATION album could sound like. Bruno explains that on the last 2 AWOLNATION efforts, he would come up with whatever he was thinking, play it, and then eventually record it. While he still plans to use this method to some degree, he plans on possibly changing AWOLNATIONs style a bit. "I think people are getting really burnt out on hearing robotic instrumentation and robotic vocals. And while i've never had robotic vocals, i've had a lot of electronic elements." Aaron hopes that guitar driven songs will be brought back to the forefront of Alternative Music. "It's been a little abandoned, and it seems like most labels have been chasing songs like "Sail" and all the other songs that followed in its path." [26]

Band members

Current members

Former members



Studio albums

List of studio albums, with selected chart positions and certifications
Title Album details Peak chart positions Sales Certifications


Megalithic Symphony 84 16 21 57 100 179
Run 17 3 4 11 9 137

Extended plays

List of extended plays
Title Album details
Back from Earth
  • Released: May 18, 2010 (US)[37]
  • Label: Red Bull
  • Formats: CD, digital download
  • Released: April 12, 2012 (US)[38]
  • Label: Red Bull
  • Formats: Digital download
I've Been Dreaming
  • Released: June 6, 2012 (US)[39]
  • Label: Red Bull
  • Formats: Digital download


List of singles, with selected chart positions and certifications, showing year released and album name
Title Year Peak chart positions Certifications Album


"Sail" 2011 17 5 4 27 4 48 48 32 35 17 Megalithic Symphony
"Not Your Fault" 3 11
"Kill Your Heroes" 2012 7 16
"Thiskidsnotalright" 2013 21
"Hollow Moon (Bad Wolf)" 2015 125[upper-alpha 1] 1 11 Run
"I'm on Fire" 110[upper-alpha 2] 13 Fifty Shades of Grey: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
"I Am" 4 14 Run
"Woman Woman" 2016 7 30
"Run (Beautiful Things)"
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Promotional singles

List of promotional singles, with selected chart positions and certifications, showing year released and album name
Title Year Peak chart positions Album


"People" 2011 23 36 Megalithic Symphony
"My Nightmare's Dream" 21
"Burn It Down" 7 28
"Windows" 2015 29 Run
"Lie Love Live Love" 2016 34 46

Music video

Song Director
"Not Your Fault"
"Kill Your Heroes"
"Burn It Down"
"Hollow Moon (Bad Wolf)"
"I Am"
"Woman Woman"
"Run (Beautiful Things)"


  1. "Hollow Moon (Bad Wolf)" did not enter the Billboard Hot 100, but peaked at number twenty-five on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart, which acts as an extension to the Hot 100.[51]
  2. "I'm On Fire" did not enter the Billboard Hot 100, but peaked at number ten on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart, which acts as an extension to the Hot 100.[51]


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  18. "Tijdlijnfoto's". Facebook. Retrieved 2013-05-15.
  21. <iframe src="" width="560" height="315" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true" allowFullScreen="true"></iframe>
  22. "Red Bull 20Before16 AWOLNATION Wichita Panama".
  23. Ferris, Glen (22 February 2016). "AWOLNATION reveal all in new Woman Woman video". Red Bull Records. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  25. Wicks, Amanda (8 July 2016). "AWOLNATION Release Video for 'Run (Beautiful Things)'". Retrieved 27 July 2016.
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  45. "Awolnation". Official Charts Company. Retrieved November 17, 2013.
  46. "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2013 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
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  48. "Austrian certifications – Awolnation" (in German). IFPI Austria. Retrieved July 30, 2013. Enter Awolnation in the field Interpret. Click Suchen
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External links

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