From Brian Wilson to Childish Gambino: The icons who inspired Waterparks’ Awsten Knight

Everyone from pop-rock legends to rap superstars have influenced Awsten Knight when it comes to creating the wonderfully wild world of Waterparks. Even if, as the frontman says, one particular artist’s vocals make him “insecure”…

From Brian Wilson to Childish Gambino: The icons who inspired Waterparks’ Awsten Knight
Emily Carter
Jawn Rocha

Waterparks are unafraid to make noises that other bands don’t even think of. Where does it come from? We got frontman Awsten Knight to talk us through the people who inspire him…

1Brian Wilson

“My dad actually made sure that The Beach Boys were the first thing I ever heard. Brian Wilson is the lead fucking dude, he plays a ton of instruments, and their music is so complex and weird, and there’s so many weird details, but you don’t feel like you’re listening to a bunch of nerds, you know?! And he’s the harmony king!”

2Charlie Puth

“His vocal patterns make me insecure (laughs). Not many vocal arrangements make me feel like that, but when people consistently write things that I wouldn’t have thought of that are amazing, I’m just like, ‘Fuck you, damn!’ He’s so talented, and his music is great. He put out a new album [Charlie, released in October 2022] but even the one before that, Voicenotes [2018] has so many incredible patterns. I’m jealous of him but I also love it…”

3Childish Gambino

“He’s a super genius. He’s inspiring because not only has he made literally some of my all-time favourite music, but he also expands into other territories in the way that I like to, and plan to continue to. And he does just as well [in these non-music endeavours], if not better. That’s goals right there. He’s fucking awesome.”

4Tyler, The Creator

“The sounds that he produces are completely made by him – there’s no samples and shit, he just does them. Or he brings people in and records stuff that you will never be able to find. There are things I do where I’m like, ‘I can’t play a fucking harp!’ but I’ll manipulate it so you can’t figure out where it’s from in terms of the plugins, but Tyler just gets that shit done. He’s the fucking man. There’s not a lot of people who I can look at and be like, ‘You do what I do, and I love what you do.’ He does music and clothes amazingly, and that’s what I want to do.”

5Vincente Void

“He’s made some of my favourite heavy music. His screams sound so painful and crazy, and he’s also a producer extraordinaire. He literally made a bunch of shit in his bedroom, and he’s this self-sufficient awesome fucking dude. I was a fan of his band [Darke Complex] back in Houston for a long time, and then we became friends and he showed me how to demo. He’s very, very unique.

“But also my final answer is a tie between him and Kesha – she’s an insane writer and performer. So I’m sorry, but I’m actually giving you six (laughs).”

Waterparks’ new album INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY is due out on April 14 via Fueled By Ramen. This article originally appeared in the December 2022 issue of the magazine.

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