Last weekend I had the privilege of interviewing musician, and Austin native, Max Frost. The multi-talented twenty-one year old tunesmith just signed a deal with Atlantic records, and will be accompanying his fellow Austinite, Gary Clark Jr., on a major North American tour, kicking off September 26th at The Wiltern in Los Angeles. Frost will be following up his online smash hit “White Lies” with a new single called "Low High Low" and releasing his debut EP, entitled “Low High Low,” on October 8th.
You've had an active presence in the Austin music scene since you were in High School, how do you think the music rich environment Austin offers helped your career?
Austin is amazing. Musically, it’s such a wide and diverse scene with a real emphasis on roots stuff. I was exposed to a lot of blues and folky genres that I otherwise would have never been exposed to.
Growing up who were your biggest musical influences?
The Beatles were huge to me when I was really young. I also had a huge Chuck Berry phase. But as I started to play instruments, specifically guitar, I would just cycle through every great guitar player ever, like Jimmy Page, and so on. Recently I’ve been listening to hip hop a lot more and drawing from that. Incorporating sounds like NAS.
What current musician inspires you?
I think James Blake is the man. He’s got such a legitimate weird sound he is pushing, but it doesn’t feel forced. Also, the way he sings is like nothing I’ve ever heard – it’s almost eastern with a blues vibe.
As an Austin Native you’re well versed with ACL & SXSW. What’s it going to be like playing ACL for the first time?
Obviously, I love them both, and they’re great for the city. I was pretty low-key this year at SXSW. Did a show at Saxon Pub and a little thing off of Congress. I actually played ACL years ago with Ruby Jane when I was about fifteen or sixteen so this isn’t my first time, but it will be as a solo act. It should be surreal because I always used to go and now I’m performing. I’m interested to see how the two-weekends decision plays out. I’ve always thought they should have it in the city limits rather than Zilker Park. It’s beautiful but not really that big a piece of land. But it's always a great festival.
For someone living in Austin, SXSW is like the opposite of Christmas. Rather than waking up to presents, you wake up to a week of traffic overload from everywhere. It's crazy.
You’ve been playing for so long, when did you really decide to make this your career, and what was your Wow- I’m-making-it moment?
I’ve been playing music since I was thirteen, and I was always in bands or involved in music one way or another. So, in that respect, I’ve always had sort of a leg in the scene. But it took some maturing for me to start taking it more seriously as a profession, as well as something I love. I was at UT Austin and the reality of timing in life hit me, and I said if I don’t go do this now I never would, so I dropped out and I got to work.
As far as my “wow” moment, I remember playing some shows with Gary Clark Jr. We did Blues on the Green. There were 25,000 people there and I remember looking out at the crowd and thinking whoa, this is the center of Austin and there are tons of people here listening to us play.