It’s 1 p.m. on a Monday and Waterparks vocalist Awsten Knight is sitting in his car outside the DMV trying to work out a plan on how to look naked in his new ID photo. (Said plan involves a nude tube top.) Needless to say, Knight has a personality that matches the infectious and upbeat music he and his pop-punk trio make. The group is a testament to the power of the “Demo Submission” button on label sites as they found themselves snatched up by Equal Vision Records after sending in their video for the song “I’m A Natural Blue.”
“We didn’t have a ton of connections or anything,” Knight says. “So I sent it to, like, two or three labels without knowing if anyone actually checks those things, and very shortly after that Equal Vision was like, ‘Hey!’ and I was like, ‘Oh, dang, okay! You guys do check your stuff!’”
“They’re so smart and they’ve already done it, so they know what to do and what not to do.”
It was all very quick after that, and the label outfitted the group with a deal that allows the artists to maintain creative control of their previous two releases, their musical direction and even the design aspects. (Much to the delight of Knight, who doubles as the band’s graphic designer.)
“We can still do whatever, which is nice. As far as all the new music that we’ve been making in my room and stuff, they like everything,” he explains. “We were a little worried about that, because obviously the more control you have over things in general, the better.”
While working along with EVR on a routine search for producers to work with, Waterparks ended up with a new management deal with none other than Benji and Joel Madden of Good Charlotte, two of Knight’s role models.
“It’s awesome because they’re so smart and they’ve already done it, so they know what to do and what not to do,” he says. “They also do the coolest stuff for us, like premiere our video on Billboard.”
Waterparks worked with EVR on their debut studio full-length. They supported Never Shout Never on tour during the beginning of 2016 and released their EP, Cluster, on Jan. 15. And for those of you still wondering, Knight succeeded in getting his “nude” ID photo.
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