Over the weekend, we spoke with Austin’s own Max Frost to discuss his influences, creating a follow-up to his debut EP, and tacos!
I was first introduced to Max by accident, really. It was during SXSW a couple of years back. At SXSW, you could pretty much stroll into any bar and hear all kinds of bands playing and in the middle of the night, I did just that.
To me, that is the best way to discover new artists. No outside influence, just listening to them rock out live. I walked into this local bar not having a clue who was performing and when I heard Max Frost I was impressed and have been a fan since.
[Editor’s Note: We previously caught up with Max last December. Check out that interview here]
Max Frost: Hey, What’s up man?
AltWire (Danny Benavides): Hey how’s it going?
Max Frost: Doing alright! Sitting in Portland, eating some sushi, drinking a beer.
AW: That’s right, you are currently on tour. How is that going?
Max Frost: It’s going pretty good, I got to tell you. I have been very blessed to be on some big tours in the past with a less intimate audience of 1 to 5000 and this is a much smaller tour but I’m really falling in love with it. It’s a different feeling being on tour at these types of clubs because you are way more face-to-face with these people. It’s a cool, raw feeling.
AW: That’s awesome, man. I actually live here in Austin. I’ve seen you here a handful of times in the past.
Max Frost: Oh Cool!
AW: For the new album, Intoxication, you got together with Jeff Tweedy [of Wilco], What was that like?
Max Frost: I wrote with Jeff Tweedy along the process. I got in the studio. Luckily I wasn’t petrified of him, but I just spent most of my time picking his brain. We actually did start a song together that I plan to finish.
AW: Is there anyone else you are currently in the process of working with or would love to work with in the future?
Max Frost: That’s a lot of people. That is a lot. Solidified in stone right now, not even for sure, knock on wood, you may not have heard of her, there is this artist named (BB Bareilly). Right now she is more known as a writer who has done some stuff with some big artists. Someone sent me a link to her stuff that’s is soon to be released and she’s got one of the most unique, special voices I’ve heard. There is this “Marilyn Monroe” song I’d like to feature her on that’s currently in the works. We haven’t gotten together to finish that yet but it’s a possibility, and who knows if it even ends up happening. I really hope I get to work with some great producers in the future. That’s big to me. The list is very long. Unfortunately, a lot of my heroes that I’d love to work with have passed away but there is still obviously a lot of amazing people walking the planet.
AW: Who would you say are some of your inspirations? Who did you grow up listening to?
Max Frost: I would say Jimmy Hendrix was one of my biggest influences of my songwriting life. Also, all the blues and Bob Dylan I had been listening to. Another guy that turned my life upside down when I was about 16 was Ryan Adams. I started getting into what he did. Something about the simplicity of his songs was a big influence to me. He was really clever with the way he would use only three chords to make it sound like there was so much going on. I’m an old-school, typical retro rock junkie. That’s what I originally wanted to be: a guitar player. Then I started singing, had a bit of a voice, and wrote songs and stuff like that. I also remember the impact that Eminem had on me. I was about 9 years old. I saw this bleached blond hair dude on TV acting like a crazy motherfucker and these really awesome songs and I started learning the songs and rapping the verses. My parents would be like “what is that?! you can’t listen to that.” The fact that I wasn’t allowed to listen to it made me listen to it even more. I would say Eminem was the first rock star I was ever obsessed with.
AW: I like Eminem, especially his older stuff.
Max Frost: Yeah, It’s going to sound like I’m too much of a fan but I literally think in like a hundred years we could still be talking about it. He could be a Shakespeare-level badass.
AW: I agree, I’d definitely put him up there as one of my top 10 lyricists in Hip Hop.
Max Frost: No Doubt. Genius.
AW: Your first EP was Low High Low. What did you think when “White Lies” was playing everywhere, commercials, radio, etc… Did you expect that kind of impact after that song?
Max Frost: No, you can never predict that. You know, I knew that song was one of the betters ones I had in the can, leading up to introducing myself as an artist. I’ll come up with a lot of songs where I am like “yeah, this is really great”. Two weeks later, I would listen to it and just get sick of it. That was one of those songs I didn’t get sick of so I knew it meant something. It was an amazing, surreal thing the way that song hit. I could get hit by a truck tomorrow and the fact that it was featured on the Dre Beats commercial was such huge honor for me and made my day. I have so much respect for Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine and the fact that they chose that song out of all the songs they could have chosen for that commercial. It’s kind of hard to wrap my head around. I hope I can get another kite that high up in the air.
AW: I love the new album. $Dreams is my favorite track from the album. I actually came across you at a show a couple of years back in Austin. I want to say it was before “White Lies” hit, I had no idea where I was going. I followed the large crowds going from bar to bar, and heard you playing. It was during SXSW.
Max Frost: Was it at Saxon Pub?
AW: I have no idea. Especially at 1 am. Haha
***I later confirmed since it was bugging me until I find out. It was at Saxon Pub****
Max Frost: You were wandering into some room, to sober up and just heard something?
AW: Haha, pretty much. I heard you playing, and I was impressed. Had to ask around who was playing then immediately turned to YouTube later in the week. Been a fan since.
Did you happen to check out any of the ACL shows that went on earlier this month?
Max Frost: I love ACL. I’m not crazy about SXSW as an Austinite. This time I just didn’t have the gas for it. I was rehearsing for this tour, so I kind of tilted my head down and avoided the big party because I knew I had to save my energy for this run. At ACL, Every year it’s more and more fun because I know more and more people in the business and more and more artists that are there so it feels like a graduation party or something like that.
AW: When you are in town, do you have a go-to spot for food or beer?
Max Frost: Yeah, I live in Hyde Park these days. I like to zip over at the Taco Deli on 45th and Guadalupe for some breakfast. I love that place Bar Fly. I don’t know if you tried that new place Komé off Airport. I’m a huge sushi connoisseur, that place is fantastic. I definitely recommend it. Oh Also, I’m going to sound crazy but this place is called Kesos Tacos. They may be the ones to kill Torchy’s and Taco Deli. This shit is pretty good. I was blown away. The building doesn’t look like anything but that tacos are slamming. It’s not a trailer but the appearance on the outside gives it that vibe. If I wasn’t doing music right now, I would be trying to open a Torchy’s taco in every city in the country. I’m telling you, I know it sounds crazy. For breakfast, I think Taco Deli may have it but lunch tacos… Kesos.
AW: Awesome. I’ll have to try Kesos next time I’m in the mood for Tacos.
Max Frost: It’s good!
AW: Thanks for chatting with me while you are out on tour. I look forward to seeing what you continue to do in the future. Enjoy your tour!
Max Frost: I really appreciate you being a fan, man. Thanks, man. Take care.
Max Frost is currently touring with Wild Child and will be wrapping up the tour, finishing in Denver, CO tomorrow.
Max has also released a music video to his latest single, “Withdrawal” which can be heard below:
“Withdrawal” comes from Max’s newly released EP Intoxication and hit No. 1 on Hype Machine upon its release. Max Frost was named by Rolling Stone and NPR as one of their “10 Artists You Need To Know.” His new EP Intoxication follows his breakthrough single “White Lies” from his debut EP LOW HIGH LOW that hit #1 on Hype Machine’s “Most Popular Tracks on Blogs” chart, and “Nice and Slow,” another single from the EP earned Top 3 status on Hype Machine. Since his last EP, Frost has released “Paranoia” and “Let Me Down Easy” which immediately hit #1 on Hype Machine.
Follow Max Frost on Twitter.