Ahead of Waterparks’ run of Aussie dates with Good Things Festival (and the exciting side shows that have just been announced), we got to chat to lead singer Awsten Knight about heading back Down Under, the pressures of the internet, lamps, and moving to LA!
This Awsten Knight interview has been edited and condensed for clarity
Don’t Bore Us: So you’re heading back down under for the second time this December for Good Things festival, are you looking forward to heading back?
Awsten: Oh my god, so much. Because as far as leaving the country, my favourite places to go for tours are Japan and Australia, 100%. Those are the best.
DBU: Last time we went jet boating, what are you looking forward to doing this time?
A: Seeing what you do to top that!
DBU: That is so much pressure!
A: I know right. But you took it to ten on the very first time!
DBU: What is your favourite part about touring overseas?
A: I usually don’t really love the idea; I mean of like touring in general. I love the shows, but trying to get used to the sleep schedule and everything it’s just… it’s usually very tough but with Australia it feels close even though it’s extremely far, it’s like a five hour difference or whatever. So it it’s not as hard, because I think I just try and sleep a lot then when I wake up I’m like “ it used to be 3pm and now it’s 7pm right now, that’s fine!’
DBU: Are you excited to do a festival run here?
A: Yes it’s going to be so cool! We are going to do some side headline shows, and I’m so excited for that.
Watch what it’s like to be at a Waterparks’ gig in their latest video for ‘Peach (Lobotomy)’
DBU: Do you prefer writing melodies or lyrics first?
A: Honestly they usually happen separately, and then I usually kind of pair them based on syllables. So a lot of times, they get paired up separately. And then other times I’ll have music… they’re kind of all different, there’s never like a fully set thing. There have definitely been some times where I’ve got a chord progression or the music ready, and then it’s like ‘oh the music and lyrics they go like this… cool!’.
DBU: Do you prefer writing, recording or performing?
A: Those are all the best parts! It’s the travelling for the tour that sucks, I love the shows! So yeah those are all obviously the best parts… damnit! I’m going to say not the writing part, even though I really like it… I’m trying to pick like a number one. Because with the writing, sometimes there’s like, I don’t want to say doubt because… I write so much that I don’t let myself have expectations, you know what I mean? I don’t go in like ‘oh man I really hope this is as good as this’, like no it will be fine and if it’s not another song’s going to happen tomorrow.
DBU: So the recording then?
A: yeah I’ll say the recording because then I get to stay home and keep my sleep schedule!
DBU: Well if those are the best three parts of being in a band, what is the worst part?
A: That’s hard. The worst part I’m going to say is a tie between the constant inconsistency you get with travelling, and people overstepping boundaries.
DBU: Has that ever happened?
A: Oh my god, yes. People have literally gone to my street looking for me, back when I lived with my parents. They somehow got (my address), or people would try and get my number to leak it… people just do weird shit. Like online people just being nuts, like dude, you got to chill. I don’t know, I think it’s good because music can help people but in the same way it kind of attracts certain types of people that aren’t the most stable, and sometimes those people can’t accept boundaries, or what’s ok and what’s not ok.
DBU: Has that changed how you act online and in real life?
A: A little bit yeah, actually. There was one day a few months ago when I was out in Los Angeles just by myself, everybody I knew had plans that day and I was like ‘oh shit, ok, you know what, I’m just going to do a me day’ and I was walking around and I hadn’t really spoken out loud very much that day. If you haven’t spoken for a while and you speak your voice can sound weird or like it’s not ready, it’s not warmed up, and you kind of have a weird morning voice type situation. I hadn’t spoken for hours and someone came up to me at a record shop and they were like ‘Awsten?’ and I was like ‘oh, yeah’ and it kind of caught me off guard, and then I spent the next few hours being like ‘fuck I hope I was nice enough to them!’. I had anxiety about it, I was like “Man, they’re going to be like ‘Awsten is such a dick when I met him’ “ but I was really just not expecting it. I was still nice, you know, but I’m very very conscious about how I speak to people and stuff like that.
DBU: Have you ever seen anything online where you’ve been like ‘That is so untrue’!?
A: Yes! I don’t want to say super often but semi-often where I’ll see something… positive or negative, where someone’s like ‘Awsten met me it was so funny he said this’. I was like ‘that’s funny but like I didn’t say that’. And then there have been some people that are like ‘I was telling Awsten this very personal thing and he rolled his eyes,’ like I would never do that! It’s just weird stuff, I don’t know.
There have been some very strange rumours, one person was like – this was the most upsetting one – someone tried to start a rumour late last year that I made out with them in a McDonalds… Like that is the trashiest thing I have ever heard in my whole life. I would NEVER… oh my god. It was gross… I don’t even know this person… and then they followed it up saying ‘Guys, we didn’t even make out, guys and girls can just be friends’, like I don’t know you at all, that’s not even true! Stuff like that kind of makes you a little apprehensive to talk too much to people. With stories like that you can’t even do anything about it because in no way shape or form did I make out with someone in McDonalds. I don’t know how I could have avoided that being put out like that.
DBU: What’s the nicest thing a fan has ever done for you?
A: They do nice stuff all the time! That’s really hard. One girl named Rachel bought me a star! Got me the certificate and was like ‘look! This is for you!”. I didn’t know I wanted one until I got one and I was like ‘oh my god amazing’. The paperwork’s in Houston, I kept it and brought it home from tour but I have moved to California pretty recently.
DBU: How exciting!
A: Yeah! My place is pretty much set up now. I started firing up recording stuff just to try and re-familiarise myself with some of it. I’ve got all my furniture now so that’s cool.
DBU: Are you settling in ok?
A: Yeah, I’ve been extremely busy so I kind of haven’t even really been here that much. Like most days I’m working on certain things and then I get home at night and I’m like ‘ok shower, bed, this is my place, I sleep here!’
It needs art first (before it can become a home).
DBU: If you could have anything in your house, what would it be?
A: Maybe a dog! But the thing is, I’m not going to be here enough to fully take care of it, so whenever we’re not touring as much I want to get one.
DBU: What is something you’ve never told an interview before?
A: I’ll do some rapid fire facts:
- One time, when I was like 14, I bought a bunch of grills – you know the ones you put in your mouth? – and I boiled them all incorrectly so now they don’t fit.
- My dad was the first person to ever shoot me with a paintball gun and he got me in the leg.
- I’ve got a rock collection, haven’t added to it in a long time, it’s a great rock collection.
- I now own five lamps, I like them a lot and I don’t think I’m going to stop buying them.