“If your art does not elicit a reaction, what do you do?” – Kerrang!
“Hey, what do you think of this color? In typical Awsten Knight fashion, his interview with Kerrang! is not a straightforward matter. Before talking about his band Waterparks or their new album Greatest Hits – available now via 300 Entertainment – is about to be mentioned, the leader is talking about K! through his latest nail polish choice, before lighting a candle and wondering how he “i have never had a pedicure … i should do something about it! Just five minutes ago, he was on Waterparks’ Twitter account announcing a limited run of signed album copies, but in some ways, despite the buzz surrounding Greatest Hits as release day approaches, it seems. eager to part with all the frenzy.
“We’re shooting a few music videos this week and I was like, ‘You know what, I need to have beautiful nails! It starts. “I also found out this week that Hayley Williams knew I existed because [her hair dye company] Good young dye contact me online, so today is a good day. “
When the conversation eventually turns into group questions, the conversation inevitably turns to this album title. Greatest Hits is not a compilation of previous Waterparks material, but rather a collection of 17 new songs that Awsten says are “a highlight of several eras of the band that people never really had. It’s a ‘Greatest Hits’ from a Waterparks reality that never happened.
Now, however, the reality of The Greatest Hits seems tangible. With a desire “not play in our shit from the past, ”Awsten and his fellow students Geoff Wigington (guitar) and Otto Wood (drums) look to the future, but one thing that will remain constant is Waterparks’ ability to elicit a fervent response – both positive and negative – from everyone who hears what they have to say.
It also raises the question of whether the purposely titled Greatest Hits title is, by design, meant to be antagonistic and boastful, to which Awsten has a firm answer.
“If you don’t prick with your music then you are so safe and boring, ”he suggests. “I know there are exceptions and not everyone wants to push, but if your art doesn’t get a strong reaction what do you do?
Greatest Hits is without a doubt a provocative album. Basically, his musical approach of continuing to push the boundaries and layering an array of electronic sounds on top of poppy rock songs is a sure bet to irritate purists, but it’s also a record with Something to say. And while his words aren’t philosophically deep or overwhelming, they are flawlessly honest and at times deceptively obscure.
A track on Greatest Hits that illustrates this is LIKE HE, an aggressive, aggressive and anguished pop song in which an edgy Awsten takes on those looking to undermine his craft. It is very reminiscent of water parks 2018 Track ANGER who saw the singer ask, ‘If I wasn’t slim and white with blue hair, would I be here? / Maybe if I kill myself you will know that I am sincere“. Put it to the singer who LIKE HE and several other songs on Greatest Hits regain that hostile energy, and Awsten reveals that ANGER was actually the genesis of much of what Waterparks’ new album ultimately became.
“ANGER was the gateway to so many of these songs, ”he explains. “It was the first time that I really said things in a direct way. When ANGER happened and I listened back, I was like, ‘Can I fucking say that? But the answer was yes, and it made me feel really excited. To be completely honest, there’s a part of me that likes to say shit, and it was so satisfying to say that and to be so blunt. That feeling really fueled this album and made me want to do songs like Numb and LIKE HE which are really important for this record.
These songs Awsten speaks of bring an intensity to Greatest Hits that has never been seen on a Waterparks record before, but the straightforward lyrics are just one facet of the album’s even more perilous tone. Paranoia – perhaps unsurprisingly given the recent single You’d Be Paranoid Too (If Everyone Was Out To Get You) – is an important lyrical theme, but its origins are not simply the result of confrontations with others. Greatest Hits is an album that was largely created at night, when the lights were low and Awsten was alone with his thoughts. There is a dreamy feel of a hazy reality everywhere, as songs like the title track and The Secret Life Of Me conjure a mind-boggling quality upon the band’s exit. It turns out that this is largely due to the fact that Awsten has had constant nightmares over the past three years, those experiences feeding off a vague concept from which Greatest Hits was born.
“The idea of this album is that it takes place over a single night, ”Awsten emphasizes. “That’s why this feeling of paranoia plays such a big role. Our last album, FANDOM, was a very cyclical thing, and this album is too, but the scary thing about this one is that, like my nightmares, the circle has come full circle and you have to relive it again. Coming towards the end of the album, you come to the Ice Bath track, which is literally meant to be the waking moment where you come out of that dreamy state you’ve been in for much of the album. But then the final song See You In The Future hits you, and this track is about how real life actually is so much more chaotic than that horrific dream you go through every night. With my nights being like this for so long, I really wanted to design an album that would reflect those experiences and show what reality looks like to me in a post-FANDOM world.
The vast array of sounds present in Greatest Hits combine to provide an otherworldly quality to the music, which echoes Awsten’s desire for the album to conceptually play out as one long dream streak where realities are blurry. and nightmares are too real. The title track kicks things off with Awsten stating, ‘Last night i had the strangest dream of all, ‘before the likes of Fruit Roll Ups, the twinkly synthesized number, the moody alt.pop single Snow Globe and the funk dancefloor of Gladiator send you on a nocturnal journey that is both disturbing and sophisticated at the same time. The confident pop-rock vibe that Waterparks has always had remains – just listen to the vibrant debut single Lowkey As Hell and Violet’s brilliant neon-pop! – but it’s clear that more thought, more blood, sweat, tears and nightmares went into Greatest Hits than any of the band’s previous albums, and the result is their most successful work to date.
Unsurprisingly, composing this complex album has been Awsten’s biggest challenge to date. After spending countless nights sifting through every aspect of the music right down to the track list, song transitions and callbacks to previous Waterparks records, knowing that his self-declared Greatest Hits group will soon be on the world gave him some solace. and closing, especially because it seemed so long in the making.
“Most of these songs were actually written in another world, ”he concludes. “Numb, Snow Globe, Just Kidding, The Secret Life Of Me, Crying Over It All… these songs are things I’ve been sitting on since January 2020, before the pandemic. It’s been so long since I started to wonder if this stuff is really good. Greatest Hits has been such a big part of my life for so long that it’s going to be a relief to bring it out, even if people hate it!
Despite this unusual hesitation, Awsten doesn’t have to worry about Greatest Hits’ ability to connect with listeners. There will always be haters, but what he, Geoff and Otto did with their latest album is the best representation of the fun, creativity and character that has always been at the heart of Waterparks. And that’s something pretty awesome.
Greatest Hits of Water Parks is now available via 300 Entertainment.
Posted on May 21, 2021 at 10:00 a.m.