Interview: Max Frost
Mon, 14 Oct 2013 10:20:27
You might just fall in love with Max Frost as soon as you hear him. His EP, Low High Low [iTunes link], has that kind of magnetic soul charm that's a hallmark of all superstars. His voice immediately resonates, while the songs themselves prove unshakable. It's a dynamic and diverse offering, introducing one of the most exciting new artists of 2013.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Max Frost talks Low High Low and so much more.
What ties Low High Low together for you?
With this EP, I was really trying to make something that had coherence, but also give a little bit more of a rounded taste of all the things I've been doing and plan on doing in the future. Initially, I set out to make an EP of five songs that were all big bangers. Then, I thought, "There are going to be so many slots for things like that on the record, I'd rather the EP have some more revealing things on it that cover more genre flavors". The theme of it is the Low High Low thing. That's what I feel like connects it. The songs are either on one end or the other of the emotional spectrum. There aren't a lot of midpoint vibes. Certain songs, I don't know if I'd call them lows or highs. As far as coherence and what glues the songs together, I feel it's around the theme of the Low High Low thing. I'm looking at the record as the future of everything.
"Suspended Animation" stood out. What's the story behind that?
I'm really glad to hear someone say that. I can't tell you how thrilled I am to know you're into that one. I'm always worried "White Lies" is the only song people will want to talk about. I don't want to say "Suspended Animation" is about a specific person, but it is in a way. I was trying to describe or write about a phase in my life. It's something I feel a lot of people in my generation have hit in high school or early college. It's a dormant state of hypnosis. It's about a guy who's sitting around his house and is almost frozen in a state of what might be fear or lack. I've never really understood how people live like that for that long. I even have some friends who have been in that status for years. How do you maintain that? How do you not have an urge to get out of your house? On a simple, it's about homebodies or whatever. On a deeper level, I'm posing questions for myself about what keeps a person like that from being motivated. How is it that a human comes to exist like a sloth? Is that from being afraid of something? People have different reasons. That's more of a topic-based song. I'm asking those questions. When I started writing that tune, I felt like it was a cool thing to focus around. I don't hear a lot of music focused around that. The chorus is a direct message to those kinds of people. You have to keep moving on.
Where did "Be Who You Want to Be" come from?
That was one of those songs that came easily and quickly. I was almost writing it as an exercise. I made it right before I made "White Lies". I was going for a Stevie Wonder vibe that day with making the track. I wanted to write a song that was carefree but positive. In a way, it connects to "Suspended Animation". Live your life how you want to live it and not by anyone else's laws or what you've been taught. That's something I've tried to do for most of my life. So far, it's sort of worked out [Laughs]. I think of that one as a groove.
What artists shaped you?
My parents played a lot of old school music. Coming up in Texas as a guitarist, I was a blues fanatic. Probably my first huge hero was Stevie Ray Vaughan. I was obsessed with the blues. Growing up in the mid-nineties, Eminem was a big deal. Mainly, that was because my parents told me not to listen to him. I got into more hip-hop when I was 17 or so. Everything about Erykah Badu seemed like it was from nowhere on the planet. As humans or artists, we steal a lot of things. The act of singing or playing is almost imitation. Stevie Ray just wanted to be Albert King. He happened to play and sing different, and he turned into Stevie Ray Vaughan.
If Low High Low were a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?
I love that question. The movie I immediately gravitate to is Fight Club because it's really gritty, but it's really cerebral. Those are two things I would connect to what's going on with the record and the way I'm writing songs in general now.
Have you heard Max Frost yet?