After a behemothic amusing media hiatus, Waterparks’ Awsten Knight came aback online in a very, well… Awsten way beforehand this month: by livestreaming himself acid off his ablaze blooming beard (with what actual abundant looked like non-hairdressing scissors) to the complete of a aboriginal song. Naturally, admirers absent their aggregate “marbles”, while the frontman was artlessly stoked to see that – admitting aggregate that’s activity on in the apple appropriate now – “people still care” about his band.
“It aloof acquainted like it wasn’t my time to be heard,” he tells Kerrang! today of his accidental breach from the internet, which began in April and concluded in September, bar several Black Lives Amount posts in May and June. “I don’t appetite to be putting myself out there aback there’s so abounding added things that amount so abundant more. I was aloof like, ‘No-one needs what I’m accomplishing appropriate now.’ It was about aggravating to drag other people.
“But, at the aforementioned time, you can’t aloof be gone forever,” Awsten continues. “It was a nice time and way to footfall back, and it was additionally acceptable afterwards actuality out [on tour] for so long. While we were gone I was like, ‘I achievement too abounding bodies don’t balloon us!’ (Laughs) But all the numbers on Spotify and all that actuality aloof went way up, and we hadn’t alike been putting annihilation out. It was absolutely weird. Bodies seemed to accept been award us during this time…”
Clearly, Waterparks accept still been on echo as a much-needed antecedent of abundance for abounding throughout the accomplished few months. And now, there’s an added acumen to abide giving the Texan leash – completed by guitarist Geoff Wigington and bagman Otto Wood – a spin: they’ve appear a admirable new single, Lowkey As Hell.
Following 2019’s ablaze third anthology FANDOM, the clue serves as both a acceptable acknowledgment from rock’s best agitative adolescent band, as able-bodied the alpha of a new beachcomber of abundance from one of the best artistic frontmen on the planet. Amid autograph a ton of new music, finishing a FANDOM alive DVD – which was attempt in Birmingham while Waterparks were on bout beforehand this year – bike-riding about his home of Los Angeles, and delving into the apple of fashion, Awsten has been befitting himself abundantly active abaft the scenes this year. And, as ever, he’s got some big ideas…
Awsten, you’re the affectionate of artisan who is consistently alive on music. Has a all-around communicable kept that brawl rolling, or accept you struggled with actuality artistic while aggregate is so abashing in the world? “It’s affectionate of both. You charge to feel inspired, and you charge to acquaintance to absolutely accept things to say, and that’s absolutely the abandoned attempt there. But all of our songs alpha in the aforementioned way that they consistently have: I sit bottomward and achieve the audience at home. So if I’m accurately ashore at home (laughs), again music is aloof activity to happen.”
When we aftermost batten in January, you said you could appealing abundant address a song a day. What’s been your akin of achievement lately? “Well, it’s absolutely not one a day (laughs). Let me think… It’s tricky, because I don’t absolutely feel accessible to allocution about an anthology necessarily, but music is consistently accepting made. I don’t apperceive the exact number, but I’ve apparently got a few hours’ account of music. It’s funny aback you put it all into a playlist and it shows you the time – it’s like, ‘Fuck!’”
Is it all absolutely unorganised at the moment, then?“Some of it is. I affectionate of go aback and forth, and it’s a funny balance. I adulation pop music, and aback I was 17 or 18 I was like, ‘Oh my god, Kesha is so acceptable – she writes bigger articulate patterns than best of these bands.’ So sometimes I’m like, ‘I’ll angular on that…’ and achieve a full-on banger. But there are two abandon to authoritative music – like the angel and devil, not that either one is acceptable or bad, it’s aloof in that they’re actual opposite. So I’ll be like, ‘Man, I charge to achieve fucking art – some absolute awe-inspiring stuff, that’s absolutely altered or out of the box.’ That’s not to say the addictive things aren’t unique, but I will go out of my way to achieve some bits area I don’t apperceive what I’m doing, and it keeps it fresh. It’s a aberrant antithesis of authoritative one that sounds like a fucking huge banger, and again authoritative a brace of apish ones. I’ve realised that all my favourite albums go off and let bodies access the world, and they can acquaintance it and apperceive it, rather than aloof actuality hit over the face with singles. And appropriate now, I aloof appetite to accord bodies a song – that’s appealing abundant area I’m at. But it’s in the aback of my apperception that, instead of acrimonious 10 bangers and putting them out [as an album], what do I appetite to say with this? In this instance, though, I aloof capital to accord bodies something, and it’s the aboriginal affair aback aback an album, and I was aloof like, ‘This is gonna fucking bang; let’s go.’”
Is this a contempo realisation about all your favourite albums and how they’re bigger pieces of art to dive into? “It is. You know, I’ve consistently anticipation about it, but over the aftermost few years I’ve never absolutely had the time before. I alive alone, and so I’ve got all this quiet time and amplitude to absolutely analyze shit, and apprentice about everything. It allows you to go added than you commonly would. Maybe aback in March or April, I was aggravating abstraction it. No-one’s fabricated a fucking arbiter on it (laughs), but you can abstraction the best albums of all time, and see what they accept in common. And that’s not to say that my favourite albums are the best albums of all time, but it’s aloof a amount of affairs all these things calm and actuality like, ‘I see that these bristles best albums of all time all accept this affair in common,’ and then, ‘I additionally see that my favourite albums accept this affair in common.’ If you booty a footfall added back, you can see the bigger account more, and amount out what you like, and what you appetite to do.”
You’re such a songwriting nerd, so to accept all this added time to go to acute new levels is a actual agitative prospect… “(Laughs) Yeah, it’s appealing fun! Like I said, I don’t appetite to jump into anthology area yet, but aback I brush through all the account that I’ve gotten to achieve in this time, I’m like, ‘Whatever comes from this has to be – and I anticipate will be – bigger than FANDOM.’ I could address a fucking thousand songs, and if a accumulating of them doesn’t exhausted what came afore it, it’s aloof not gonna be released. There’s aloof not a apple in which I would be bottomward to booty a footfall backwards, you apperceive what I mean?”
Does Lowkey As Hell mark the end of the FANDOM era, then, or the alpha of the abutting one? “It’s affectionate of both. It feels like we’re all affectionate of in affliction appropriate now. Actuality able to aloof cut all my fucking beard off and be like, ‘This is the art appropriate here, and this is aloof us…’ feels like a displace to me, if anything.”
Is that what you’re activity on a claimed level? Is that what the beard cut symbolised? “Yeah, and I anticipate it’s acceptable to aloof admonish bodies that you’re a actuality (laughs). Abnormally with this song and the lyrics actuality as claimed as they are, it aloof acquainted like a acceptable beheld to put with it. With how abundant the song dives in and how abysmal it goes, it aloof acquainted like the appropriate move to brace with it. I’ve consistently capital to achieve abiding this bandage is actual beheld as able-bodied as agreeable – because you can accept badass songs all day, but if you’re aloof arid or whatever, you’re missing out on so much. It’s like A Quiet Place: we’re not those monsters that can abandoned apprehend (laughs). We’ve got eyes! There are so abounding things you can action to people, and you’re missing out if you’re not [presenting able visuals too] – it’s like you’re angry a action with one arm angry abaft your back. You can achieve batty videos that enhance your songs.”
How continued has Lowkey As Hell been in the works? “You know, time aloof blurs at the moment… If it’s September now, maybe it happened in June (laughs). That could be absolutely wrong, it’s aloof so adamantine to barometer annihilation because every day is aloof the same. The abandoned time I absolutely apperceive the day is on Tuesdays aback I can’t adjustment aliment from the Chinese abode that I absolutely like on Postmates! I don’t accept a agenda – I aloof deathwatch up and make shit.”
In that case, do you bethink the specific moment you were aggressive to address it? “With songs in general, and abnormally authoritative FANDOM, I’ve realised that I absolutely like songs that accept a specific concept. I like to try to analyze what I appetite to allocution about, and again amount it out from there. Sometimes things can be a little scattered, if you let them be, so I’ve absolutely been aggravating to consolidate what I appetite to say. And with Lowkey, originally I anticipation it would be funny to address a song alleged Drake Problems. It’s a awe-inspiring affair to allocution about in this apple aback there’s so abundant batty bits activity on, and it makes a lot of the things that I’m ambidextrous with or problems that I’m accepting not feel absolutely as accurate – and it is accurate that aggregate that’s accident appropriate now is bigger than annihilation I could be ambidextrous with, but Lowkey is affectionate of like that: it’s things that bodies don’t necessarily apperceive how to chronicle to. Everybody has got problems, but they’re all aloof altered problems, and so I capital to alarm Lowkey… Drake Problems originally because of the irony of him actuality one of the best acknowledged bodies ever, but he still has time to accuse or whatever – it was kinda funny. So those lyrics happened actual quickly, already it started. But I basically started talking about the time aback FANDOM came out. Like I said, I like to try and accumulate it actual concise, but with this I aloof started talking, activity over the aftermost six or eight months. So it’s not what I’ve been aggravating to do, but it came out absolutely able-bodied (laughs).”
Would you say it’s a blessed or sad song? The verses are appealing bleak, while the choir is absolutely lovely… “It’s affectionate of both, and that’s one affair I absolutely like aback I’m writing. I’ve realised that I absolutely like it in movies aback there’s not a assured acceptable guy or bad guy. Like, everybody is both. It’s aloof so abundant added absolute and interesting. I was talking about [2019 folk-horror film] Midsommar to some accompany the added day, and it’s like all the characters are semi-good-guys or semi-bad-guys – it’s not a assured thing. I anticipate that’s absolutely cool, and I’ve started absolutely affection movies like that a lot. And I anticipate it’s a air-conditioned affair to do in songs as well. You can accept a lot of angles, and it’s not aloof a apparent actuality area you’re like, ‘I feel this one affair appropriate now.’ It’s added like, ‘This is what I’m ambidextrous with, and this, and this, and this.’ There was one day area I looked at my Instagram, and there were so abounding bodies commenting actuality like, ‘Please appear back!’ and, ‘I absence you so much!’ and all this stuff, and bringing in the choir was affectionate of like that: the lyrics, ‘If you charge me now / I’ll be there somehow.’ There’s all this abrogating bits activity on in the world, but seeing those letters from bodies aback you affectionate of feel like no-one’s cerebration about you was absolutely nice. I don’t like to put too abundant banal into what bodies say online, but it was still a absolutely nice affair to see, and I anticipate that’s what creates the duality of the song.”
Explain the lyric, ‘I haven’t had a day off aback my dejected hair.’ Did that appear out of a faculty of brainy addict or burnout?“Kind of both. What we get to do is absolutely fun, but it’s still a weird, creepy, insane, ambiguous job (laughs). You still can get addict alike if you accept a ages off amid tours, because it’s not like the job is done aback you get offstage. You’re consistently working, and consistently actuality looked at, and I accept that you can’t do what I’m aggravating to achieve after those things – I get it, and I don’t authority annihilation adjoin the process. But on canicule area you’re ambidextrous with 10 things at once, it’s accessible to acquaintance that affectionate of burnout. And yeah, the dejected beard was the aftermost time absolutely that there weren’t any expectations – it was 2014, and alfresco of Texas, cipher knew who we were. And it was still a air-conditioned affair and we could advertise out small, bounded venues, which was absolutely fun, but there wasn’t [the aspect] of me logging online and everyone’s like, ‘Music, music music! Album, album, album!’ I acknowledge it and I apperceive it comes from excitement, but it all aloof adds pressure. That band accurately is because aback in that time, cipher accepted shit; I accepted actuality for myself, but I was appealing abundant the abandoned one (laughs).”
You’ve additionally got a nod to FANDOM in the song, with the Watch What Happens Abutting reference. Does that point to maybe not absolutely absent to let FANDOM go aloof yet?“I don’t apperceive if it’s necessarily about not absent to let it go; we’re still so abutting to that time, and I’ve not acquired accomplished aggregate that I feel on that album. Aback I put that anthology out and said aggregate that I was aggravating to say, it’s not like that afflicted everything. I still feel those things. And I aloof anticipation this was a air-conditioned way to flash a ablaze on it, and appearance a new aberration of: I still appetite all these things, but appropriate now I’m additionally affectionate of afraid to fucking go alfresco (laughs). Everybody’s afraid and air-conditioned out appropriate now, and they’re attractive for bodies to punish, and the apple itself is aloof fucking on fire. And so aback I’m like, ‘I like air-conditioned shirts, I like algid rings / I appetite a big house, but I’m hiding,’ that’s still aggregate that I ambition for, but now isn’t the time. I can’t accompany myself to try and cross or advance for that in this time. Bodies are alfresco fucking dying, and in California the sky is on blaze and shit. It’s affectionate of adamantine for me to again be like, ‘But my dreams!’ You apperceive what I mean?! I accept all these things that I appetite to do, but it’s aloof not my time appropriate now for that.
“At the aforementioned time – and I’m not singling anybody out – I’m watching these releases that I anticipate are actual acceptable and actual cool, but they get talked about for a actual abbreviate time and again bodies move on. Everybody’s accuracy are aloof fucked appropriate now, and they’re alive abnormally [than usual]. This year is activity so quick, and I was watching videos about it, and it’s because aback you do the aforementioned bits every distinct day, your academician doesn’t authority on to it as abundant because it doesn’t accept to. Your academician isn’t application every distinct day. I’m seeing air-conditioned bits actuality forgotten, and so I absolutely don’t appetite to accord annihilation too big right now…”
Waterparks’ new distinct Lowkey As Hell is out now.
Posted on September 25th 2020, 4:41pm
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