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Waterparks Share the Origins of Stripped-Back Piano Version of “Lowkey as Hell”: Exclusive

Lead singer Awsten Knight also shares what to expect from the trio's upcoming A Night Out on Earth Tour

waterparks origins fabric lowkey hel Origins of Stripped-Back Piano Version Lowkey As Hell
Waterparks Origins, photo by Jawn Rocha
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    With our new music feature Origins, artists are given the chance to share unique insights into their most recent songs. Today, Waterparks reveal the music video for the acoustic piano version of their Greatest Hits lead single, “Lowkey As Hell.”

    When Waterparks’ lead singer Awsten Knight sat down to write “Lowkey as Hell”, the lead single off the band’s new album Greatest Hits, he had a lot on his mind. So much so that the words just wouldn’t come at first.

    “For a couple months before ‘Lowkey…’, I’d been trying to work on writing about focused, singular topics in songs and after a while it kind of blocked me up,” he tells Consequence. “Once I stopped overthinking and trying to make the song about one particular subject, the words came out really quick.”

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    The resulting song resulted in “covering all aspects of my life since the FANDOM tour ended,” Knight adds, “almost like word vomit. There’s a lot of reflection on recent career progress which is rare for me to stop and think about. Some of it is about family, friends, and where I sit in relation to all of them now as compared to before. There’s more about fandom/the listeners and my relationship with them and it’s all packed into this song, but it felt good to get it all out in a more free form way.”

    Released last September, the reflective single heralded not only the band’s fourth record, but also their transition to 300 Entertainment after releasing their 2019 LP, FANDOM, on Hopeless Records. Greatest Hits arrived in its entirety in May, a full fourteen months into the coronavirus pandemic. And while the global health crisis came with more obstacles and challenges to count for artists and the music industry as a whole, Knight and his bandmates (lead guitarist Geoff Wigington and drummer Otto Wood) embraced the freedom it gave them to approach the album’s entire rollout differently than they had in the past.

    “Since everyone is unsure of how to navigate this time, we’re allowed to do whatever we want, whenever we want,” Knight says. “I’m like, ‘Hey, it’s time for another single! Yeah, I know we just did one a week ago but here, oh yeah, the video is done too, here.’ It’s really good for my brain because I get bored easily and like to make quick moves which is less common in the pre-pandemic world.”

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    Another quick move is the new piano version of “Lowkey as Hell”, which Knight spontaneously recorded on the fly while working on other video projects. In the clip, he sits down at the piano — a place he admits he doesn’t find himself in often — to deliver a stripped back rendition of the single. “I just cried into a shirt I could never afford last year/ My Drake problems, my fake problems, but it’s really how I’m feeling here/ I guess at least my work is working right/ I think people like me better when I’m hurt inside/ They say it’s not true, and they hope I’m alright/ But their eyes probably rolled at the first line,” he croons, replacing the drums and production of the original version with simple piano chords.

    “I never play piano live or for people or anything because I’m not the best in the world at it, but I’m good enough to record our piano stuff in the studio and was just sort of messing around,” Knight adds of how the video came together. “It just felt really good to do and I thought it’d be a cool thing to exist online.”

    About one month out from the May release of Greatest Hits, the singer-songwriter says he’s gratified — and surprised — at fans’ response to the body of work, particularly their unexpected love for some of what he calls the “weirder” songs on the back half of the LP’s 17 tracks. As a whole, the album marks yet another expansion of the part-electronic, part-pop-punk sound that defined past releases like 2018’s Entertainment and 2019’s FANDOM.

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    “There will always be people that want you to do what you were doing on prior albums but that’s never gonna happen with us; the only way forward is through,” he explains.

    That desire to achieve constant progression also promises to bleed its way into Waterparks’ upcoming A Night Out on Earth Tour, which kicks off October 27th at San Francisco’s Regency Ballroom for a run of 25 shows across North America through the end of the year.

    “I’m really competitive with myself so I’m gonna want to level up our stage design and do more creative cool shit than we’ve done before,” Knight teases of his vision for the tour. “I’m so beyond ready to do these new songs, we played them for one virtual album release [without an in-person] crowd and I could still tell how hard they were gonna go…I can just tell they’re gonna be ridiculous.”

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    As for which songs he’s most excited to debut for a live crowd, the frontman lists off a number of those aforementioned cuts from the album’s back half like “Magnetic,” “LIKE IT,” “See You in the Future,” and “Crying Over It All.”

    Get an exclusive first look at the piano version of “Lowkey as Hell” and see the complete list of tour dates below. Snag tickets via Ticketmaster or here.

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    Waterparks “A Night Out on Earth Tour” 2021 Dates:
    10/25 — San Francisco, CA @ The Regency Ballroom
    10/27 — Portland, OR @ Roseland Theater
    10/28 — Seattle, WA @ The Neptune
    10/31 — Chicago, IL @ Vic Theatre
    11/01 — Minneapolis, MN @ The Fillmore Minneapolis
    11/03 — Detroit, MI @ St. Andrew’s Hall
    11/05 — Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Steel
    11/08 — New Haven, CT @ Toad’s Place
    11/09 — Boston, MA @ Big Night Live
    11/11 — Philadelphia, PA @ Theatre of Living Arts
    11/12 — Silver Spring, MD @ The Fillmore Silver Spring
    11/13 — Virginia Beach, VA @ Elevation 27
    11/14 — Richmond, VA @ Canal Club
    11/16 — Nashville, TN @ Brooklyn Bowl
    11/17 — Atlanta, GA @ Buckhead Theatre
    11/19 — Orlando, FL @ House of Blues
    11/20 — Ft Lauderdale, FL @ Revolution
    11/22 — Dallas, TX @ House of Blues
    11/23 — Austin, TX @ Emo’s
    11/27 — Houston, TX @ House of Blues
    11/28 — Kansas City, MO @ The Truman
    11/30 — Denver, CO @ Summit
    12/03 — Phoenix, AZ @ The Van Buren
    12/04 — San Diego, CA @ SOMA
    12/06 — Los Angeles, CA @ The Wiltern

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