No artist should sit still. In fact, it’s not a good idea for anybody to be in one place for too long. (Plus, it’s bad for blood flow and mental health). For as much as it seems like “guitar-driven” music has been stuck in a state of suspended animation since maybe like 1994, it doesn’t have to be this way…
Waterparks never sit still. The Houston trio—Awsten Knight [vocals, guitar], Otto Wood [drums], and Geoff Wigington [guitar]—manically move forward, shucking and jiving between fits of rock, alternative, and electronic with pop ambition and hip-hop’s bold and blatant disregard for the rules.
In 2020, the boys only pick up the pace as they ready new music after signing a new deal with 300 Entertainment.
“You don’t have to stick to one thing,” exclaims Awsten. “Over the years, we’ve gotten better at switching it up. By making moves like getting with 300 (an almost exclusively hiphop oriented label) and not forfeiting our guitars once we signed the deal, I think we’re actually taking steps to help rock. Either way, fuck genres and expectations. There’s no reason to be limited.”
By doing so, these musicians consistently raise the bar. 2019’s FANDOM elevated them to new critical and commercial peaks. Marking a series of career bests, it landed at #2 on the Billboard Top Alternative Albums Chart, granting their first Top 40 debut on the Billboard Top 200. KERRANG! rated it “4-out-of-5 stars,” and MTV admitted, “We have no choice but to stan.” As the band nears 200 million cumulative streams to date, it yielded fan favorites, including “I Miss Having Sex But At Least I Don’t Wanna Die Anymore,” “Turbulent,” and “Watch What Happens Next.” Along the way, they garnered “Breakthrough Artist” at the Alternative Press Music Awards and “Best International Newcomer” from Rock Sound. Just days after wrapping up their biggest international headline tour yet in support of FANDOM, the world shutdown at the onset of COVID-19.
Even though he stopped posting on social media in the Spring, Awsten didn’t stop writing…
Following a clean COVID test (four, actually), he entered the studio with FANDOM producer Zakk Cervini and recorded the band’s first single of 2020 and debut for 300 Entertainment, “Lowkey As Hell.”
Over a glitchy bounce, he confesses, “I just cried into a shirt I could never afford last year” before detailing, “Drake problems.” It builds towards a chantable refrain—“I’m highkey and lowkey as hell”–backed by a rush of distortion.
“The song is a recap of the last year or so,” he states. “it really describes what’s been going on and who I am. When I’m on stage, I’m a forward-facing, extroverted presence. At the same time, I’m also the biggest hermit ever. I just like to stay in, ignore my phone a lot, and write. I’m naturally reserved in my day-to-day life. The juxtaposition of loud materialism versus private emotion in that opening line really encapsulates the feeling I wanted to get across in the rest of the song.”
In the end, Waterparks bypass all limits and level up once more, never sitting still.