Almost two years since Frost’s debut EP “Low High Low” and he’s back and feeling great!
At the young age of 20 he signed to Atlantic Records and released his debut EP, Low High Low and hasn’t looked back. Frost labels himself a blues-playing guitarist with a soulful voice and Hip-Hop drum sounds pacing through his head. His songs have a retro feel with a modern twist.
In 2013, his breakthrough single “White Lies” blended a mixture of genres that left a permanent stamp on the music industry. His songs would later be features in a Beats by Dre commercial and on the soundtrack for Vampire Academy.
Sept. 25 marked the release of Max Frost highly anticipated sophomore EP Intoxication. The Knockturnal chatted with the singer-songwriter producer hailing from Austin,Texas about his new endeavors, upcoming tour and some of the many artists he would like to work with in the future. Check it out below!
First off I want to congratulate you on the release of your highly anticipated sophomore EP Intoxication, is there anything special that you do to get inspired?
Max Frost: I spent a lot of time driving and listening to demo tapes of stuff that I’m doing especially the instrumentals and beats that I made. Something about the spotless action of just driving around for no reason or going on a long trip. For some reason, I find it a lot easier to write while I’m doing that than while I’m sitting in a chair in the studio.
Was music always a passion of yours?
Frost: Definitely, it’s always kind of been a focus for me. I’ve always been an audio oriented person. I was always getting in trouble in school for drumming on my desk as a kid or during nap time I was always making noise!
So you are one of the many musicians in the world that proved that you should follow your dreams. Was there a specific moment while you were attending the University of Texas [Austin] that made you realize that music was your calling?
Frost: It was more of like the whole experience of getting to college. I don’t know, I just expected college to be really different than what it was. I thought that college was going to feel way more like the real world. It just kind of turned me off, so I just spent all my time making music … I went to college for one year and then I came back after that summer and I was registering for classes and I just remember sitting there [thinking] like, “I can’t do this.” I was just like I can’t be doing this, there’s no reason to be here.
You credit your success as being an “experiment”. What exactly was going through your mind when your songs started gaining attention?
Frost: Are all these people insane, what is going on? [haha] It always seems weird to me. There’s always a sense of weird embarrassment over stuff like that especially when you’re doing stuff in the beginning, it’s kind of got a risk to it. I’m kind of learning now that if you don’t have that feeling a little bit about something you’re doing then it’s probably pointless. If it doesn’t make you uncomfortable to put it out there it’s probably not that hard. So I guess what was going through my mind was a lot of like what? Well is this going to work?
Next month you’ll be touring with fellow Austinite, Wild Child. How does it feel to be going on a major North American tour?
Frost: It feels great! I’m really excited to get back on the road, it’s been awhile. I’ve gotten to see a lot of the country and it’s always good to get back to places you’ve been before and see new fans. Touring is one of my favorite parts of being in this position.
You have a very diverse list of artists that you admire. How do they play a role in your music?
Frost: It’s just little pieces from different stuff, like Frank Sinatra. The fact that he’s always singing in such a relaxed way that if it were in person it wouldn’t be any louder than how he talks. You know that’s something that I’ve always tried to take away from that. His music that he’s singing over is also super laid back and the music I’m usually singing over is is not laid back at all … but I still sing in a laid back way. A lot of the rhythm and production in what I’m doing, I’m taking from all of the Hip-Hop that I grew up with … trying to make the rhythm and the feel of different tracks. Playing ’60s and ’70s music like Cream, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix and things like that. That’s more of the aesthetic and the instrumentation.
Between your Low High Low EP and your Intoxication EP, has there been anything that has surprised you musically?
Frost: You mean about myself? I wouldn’t say I’ve been surprised. I’m always feeling like I’m in competition with myself to make better music than I’ve made before. And it’s always a goal for me and I feel like with this EP I succeeded in doing that … Whenever you’re competing with yourself, the better you do the harder it is to get better than where you were.
You mentioned Stanley Kubrick as someone who inspires you. Do you believe music with a story line is relatable?
Frost: For sure, I think that if your stories are powerful enough … nothing else about a song even has to be great. Most songs without that lyrical element wouldn’t be that memorable. I think stories are the most relatable, easily digestible things that people can hear.
What is your favorite song off of the Intoxication EP? Why?
Frost: I would say “Paranoia” just because it feels like it most successfully combines a lot of different elements into one thing. I feel like it’s the most differentiated song on the EP that couldn’t be classified into a genre. Which is kind of what I’m trying to do.
What is your dream project? What artists would you like to work with or write a song for?
Frost: There’s a lot, I mean I would like to work with Beck. I’d love to work with Kanye West or Kendrick Lamar or Jay Z. There’s a lot of big artists out there in the world. I’d love to produce some stuff for Justin Timberlake.
What was the most memorable response to your music?
Frost: I guess for me the biggest surprise was the initial online thing with the first singe I successfully got out there “White Lies.” To see blogs in China that were written in Chinese and having to go translate them and do stuff like that that was always bizarre to just imagine someone on the other side of the planet, listening on some computer and typing out this review in Chinese. [ha ha]
What are some things you can’t live without?
Frost: Music, sushi, linen and films.
If you could bring any artist back from the dead, who would it be? Why?
Frost: I would say John Lennon because I think beyond the fact that we were robbed of his music continuing to be made, I just think he was a really important person to have in the world to comment on stuff. I was never alive when he was alive but when I look back I felt like he was a guy who always had something to say about a situation that made a lot of sense. He was a very insightful person.
Intoxication is now available everywhere online! Stream it HERE.
Photo Credit: Jimmy Fontaine
|3||Austin, TX||Parish *|
|5||Phoenix, AZ||Valley Bar *|
|7||San Diego, CA||The Irenic|
|8||Los Angeles, CA||El Rey Theatre|
|9||Santa Barbara, CA||SOHO|
|15||San Francisco, CA||The Independent|
|13||Santa Cruz, CA||The Catalyst|
|15||Eugene, OR||WOW Hall|
|16||Portland, OR||Revolution Hall|
|17||Seattle, WA||The Crocodile|
|18||Vancouver, BC||Media Club|
|20||Missoula, MT||Top Hat Lounge|
|24||Denver, CO||Gothic Theater|
|26||Kansas City, MO||The Record Bar|
|24||St. Louis, MO||The Firebird|