Waterparks' Awsten Knight: Never Be Afraid To Show Your Ambitions

Waterparks frontman Awsten Knight rallies for bands to stop feeling embarrassed about wanting success in their careers…

Waterparks' Awsten Knight: Never Be Afraid To Show Your Ambitions
Awsten Knight, speaking to Emily Carter
Alice Baxley and Jonathan Weiner

When I first posted the news of [2019 single] Turbulent on my Instagram, I tagged the location as Wembley Stadium because that is absolutely what I want one day. Honestly, I could talk for hours about this, but there’s something within band culture that, in a way, shames success. It shames people for wanting to do cool stuff. People don’t want to seem like they’re trying, and it’s very strange to me.

I know so many people, and so many people in bands, and it’s like, ‘I know what you’re like – why would you put your whole life into something and then act like you don’t care if it goes anywhere?’ That’s crazy to me. There’s something about band culture [where] you kind of have to act like you don’t care, and if you are successful and things pop up, you have to be like, ‘Oh man, whatever.’ It’s strange. And you kind of have to mask your successes, or hide your successes, and I think that’s just crazy.

That’s kind of the subject matter on [latest album FANDOM], too. The last two albums [2016’s Double Dare and last year’s Entertainment] were very heavily influenced by love and feelings and all this stuff, but this is the first time I’m making a release where it’s not focused around another person. It’s kind of made it to where I’m more introspective about me, or about the things around me that aren’t love-based. Part of that is this fixation on writing about how this culture works. I’ve had these conversations a million times with people, and there’s these very strange limitations that are only placed on people in the band world, and I just think it’s super weird. And I don’t think I can change it (laughs), but I want to come at it from this observational way and plant the idea in people’s heads.

I think being able to see the potential of what you can do is half the battle – and to be able to pinpoint what you want to do and where you want to go. That’s such a big thing. When I’m implying little things like, ‘Yeah, I wanna fucking play Wembley one day – what’s up?!’ It’s such a big part of it. You’re not supposed to be like, ‘I wanna be the biggest band!’ because for some reason that’s just not something we should do, but, I don’t know, I just think that if the attitudes around bands can change, I think it’ll just help this kind of music in general.

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