Awolnation frontman Aaron Bruno is feeling landlocked. The reason may be literal, as the electro-rocker is sitting in a Dallas hotel room, at least 300 miles removed from any ocean. It may also be, perhaps, a physical encumbrance: the slog of a two-month-long spring tour — wending its way toward Fort Lauderdale's Revolution Live on Friday night — which is barging in on new songwriting ideas for the band's new album. Or, perhaps, Bruno has an obstinate "weight on his soul," a song titled "Sail," which peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard Rock Songs charts and No. 5 on the Billboard Alternative Charts, a feat Bruno still modestly chalks up to "luck." He'd like to recapture that "luck."
Or, maybe, it's just because Bruno would rather be surfing than singing.
"Don't remind me of it. I like to surf up in Malibu Beach and Santa Barbara, or near Oxnard and Ventura, or just places where it doesn't get so L.A.-vibey," the Los Angeles-raised 34-year-old says on the eve of the tour. "Surfing is in my soul. You just feel like a normal human being getting baptized by Mother Nature's tears."
Bruno is one-fifth of the powerhouse synth-punk act, which also includes guitarists Drew Stewart and Kenny Carkeet, drummer Hayden Scott and bassist Devin Hoffman. If he sounds restless, it's because the not-quite-3-year-old band's catalog sounds that way. "Sail," a stormy synth number stamped with anthemic piano riffs, muscular electro rhythms and Bruno's top-of-his-lungs screaming, is so far the band's pinnacle. ("It stuck out like a sore thumb," he says.) The track was strong enough to push Awolnation to start opening, he says, "for Weezer and MGMT to headlining out of the gate at Coachella last year. From 400 to 1,000 people to 20,000 in the audience? We just started building city by city. That's nuts."
As the band's lone songwriter, who formed Awolnation from the ashes of his other L.A. dance-punk outfits (Under the Influence of Giants and Home Town Hero), Bruno says he feels a "responsibility" for its new album, the first since 2011's debut "Megalithic Symphony."
"I always have so many of these small ideas for records, especially this one, and this tour, I think, is sort of intruding on my new record sometimes," Bruno says of the untitled album. "Before, I was in bands where three of us shared opinions equally — a Three Musketeers mentality — so songwriting now gives a little more of the Aaron pressure I put on myself. I want the second record to kind of blow my own mind and have heaviness like a snare drum. Sometimes, heaviness to me is being anti-heavy, a song with soft parts, with poignancy as well as depth."
But, again, Bruno prefers to surf, if only because it "takes the edge off."
"South Florida is like the swamp version of California, and I mean that in the best possible way," he says. "It's the furthest south we've ever gone, I think. It's the only other place in the country that, in the dead of winter, you can still wear a T-shirt. As soon as I'm done, I'm going to the beach."
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: Revolution Live, 100 SW Third Ave., Fort Lauderdale
Contact: 954-449-1025 or JointheRevolution.netCopyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times