Houston, TX pop punk up-and-comers WATERPARKS just released their latest EP, "Black Light." We recently had the opportunity to chat with the band about their new music, their collaborations with Fred Mascherino and Tyler Welsh, the video for "New Wave," and much more. Check out our Q&A with lead vocalist, Awsten Knight below.
1. You just released the “Black Light” EP this month. How is this EP different from your previous release?
"Black Light" is different from our previous release "Airplane Conversations" because all of us wrote and recorded on it whereas the first EP was just Awsten. We also experimented with more complicated chords and threw in a lot more electronic stuff this time around and we're all stoked on how it came out. "Stoked". Eek.
2. Which song from the EP do you think new fans should listen to as a first impression?
That's difficult because they're all pretty different from each other. There are the harder tracks like Easter Egg and I'm A Natural Blue but there are also poppier tracks like American History. We didn't necessarily aim for it to be this way but there's really a song for everyone on there. Unless you only like Pitbull, in which case Black Light is probably not for you. Also seek help.
3. Fred Mascherino and Tyler Welsh are both featured on “Black Light.” How did each of those collaborations come about and how was it working with them?
Yes! Taking Back Sunday and Driver Friendly have both been my all time favorites since early high school so it's still fucking nuts that this actually happened.
I've been going to Driver Friendly shows for years and after one at a venue called Fitzgerald's I asked Tyler if he'd be down to do some guest vocals on my band Waterparks' new EP and right there he said he was down. The only thing that sucked was this was in late 2012 and so Black Light wasn't even started yet haha. But we got him the track later in 2013 and I must've listened to the demo he sent over with his vocals on it like 500 times. Driver Friendly rules, please go listen to them.
I got Fred's email through a friend and I sent a few tracks his way and asked if he'd be down for vocals, really not thinking he'd reply or anything. Shortly after, we were in the studio and I happened to check our email and he had responded saying the songs were great and he was down to do a guest spot and I freaked out and ran around in our engineer's driveway for a solid 15 minutes before Otto made me calm down. So we went back inside and immediately re-wrote the bridge of Night Maps to fit a dual-vocal spot. He was amazing to work with too! It was really weird critiquing the performance of someone you've really looked up to for a while but he was 1000% cool the entire time and the track came out perfect.
4. What inspired the song “I’m a Natural Blue?”
I wrote the lyrics for "I'm A Natural Blue" when I was feeling particularly burnt out on, not music, but literally everything that surrounds the "scene". I'm going to try my best to avoid name-dropping, but a while back there was a band guy that put out a blog discrediting the phrase "X band saved my life" and to us, it was a giant "DUH" because we'd been making fun of that phrase/idea publicly for years. Then immediately after, a ton of shitty, fake band guys started hopping on this idea and came out trying to be profound by tweeting mind-numbingly, cheesy things like "we didn't save ur life. our music was jus the soundtrack" or even worse "we didnt save ur life, u saved OURS!!!!!". These were the same band guys from 5 years ago that were "just here 2 save lifes man" while swooping their straightened hair out of their eyes as they sell you a neon shirt with their name in a bubble font/some cartoon animal jizzing out a rainbow. And the worst part is, people are falling for it. They see these desparate d-list band guys flailing for an inch of relevance by clinging with a deathgrip to anything they see is getting praise and they swandive into it.
This was the most frustrating thing to me because we'd been working on this music for a long time and the lyrics for even longer, so seeing these monkeys try to turn it into the next "thing" was beyond frustrating. The new trend for these bands is basically a dick-measuring contest to see who can be more "true" or "real" and typically I don't care what breakdown bands are into, but when it's what I've been working on for a long time it's hard to deal with. The main point is, I don't want what we've all worked so hard on and sunk literally every dime we have into to be left in the wake of their shitty trend hop. Because when they feast their nameless, follower eyes on what they see the next "cool" band doing, they'll immediately jump ship and we'll have been lumped in with that.
I'm sorry for rambling, the main theme of the song is frustration at follower band guys and my exasperation at their lack of identity.
5. You recently premiered a music video for “New Wave.” How did you guys come up with the video concept?
We were walking back from the pool and this idea evolved the way that most of our other ideas do; us piling our terrible ideas on tp of each other until we have a final, complete terrible master idea. The idea was to have a super fucked up violent triathlon and have the final prize be something awesome. The initial prizes were going to be something along the lines of a Chipotle burrito (which would be followed by the inevitable Chipotle sponsorship we'd definitely recieve), a white tiger, or just a regular tiger. Spoiler alert for anyone reading this: it's fucking impossible to rent tigers off the Internet. Fuck PETA. Then we asked our friends over at Jorgey Films to shoot it for us and it ruled. We also drank a lot of bacteria lake water and got life flight called on us by concerned, white onlookers.
6. What was your favorite moment from behind the scenes of filming the music video?
I'd have to say going to the gas station to buy a bunch of grape soda after the final shots wearing booty shorts/covered in blood. So many people, including the cashier, were like "Really, are you okay? Do you have someone we can call?" and I was like "No.. there's no one left for me to call.." and limped away. MORAL OF THE STORY: PEOPLE REALLY CARE ABOUT YOU WHEN YOU'RE BLEEDING AND IN SHORT SHORTS. Watching our friend Travis from DWHB do his pre-race warm ups was amazing too.
7. If you could tour with your biggest musical inspirations, who would be on the lineup and why?
That's such a good question. Here we go,
Geoff: Linkin Park, Sum 41, Blink-182, Chiodos, Waterparks.
Awsten: Ke$ha, Blink-182, Driver Friendly, Waterparks, DWHB. There are more I'd totally say but I wouldn't wanna TOUR with them because their fanbases would probably hate us a lot.
8. What are your upcoming plans that fans can look forward to?
We're working on getting a ton of shows around Texas and surrounding areas, so if you live in our region, we'll see you soon. Also videos. Lots more videos. DON'T DO DRUGS.
Black Light EP: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/black-light-ep/id883822081
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