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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

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March 4, 2024
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An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
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Max Frost Interview (edited-print version)

With a recent release of his new EP, “Intoxication,” Max Frost spoke with the Mass Media about his inspiration, his vision and his upcoming US headlining tour. Max will be playing at the Great Scott in Boston on May 4.  
MM: First off, congratulations: you’re about to embark on your first US headlining tour, which is really exciting. But you’ve also had some really big things happen to you in the past couple of years: you’ve been signed to Atlantic Records, you’ve recently released an EP… Thinking back to when you first started making music, did you ever expect this to be the outcome?
MF: No, not at all. I never really even thought that I would be trying to make music for a living until, maybe, my freshman year of college. It was always something I was into, but it wasn’t really considered a realistic thing that I tried to do. Then I decided to take a break from school and take more of a shot at it, but I always thought that if I was ever signing a record deal or something that it would be later, like in my late 20s or something.
MM: You played back one of the hooks you wrote, “Nice and Slow,” for a group of artists and based off their reactions, you knew your sound was born. But now that you have this sound, do you feel like you built a box around yourself musically, and that you have to stay within its confined lines?
MF: Not really, I more just think of it as like, I know what my connecting thread is and now for me, I think of it less as like I built a box around myself but it’s more like an explorer who’s found a cave or an island, and now I get to go see how far it really goes left or right. I think it’s a bigger thing than a box… It does have boundaries and if I step outside of them, there’s a loss of me and a loss of coherence, but within that voice and within that sound I think there’s a lot of possibility that I haven’t even turned over. 
MM: When writing music, you have a very unique outlook on writing that most other musicians don’t have. When played acoustically, your music still has a modern twist on it, but the execution and the performance itself gives it a very vintage sound. How are you able to achieve this?
MF: I think it’s more in the phrasing of how I think about songs. It’s more like, hip-hop kind of invented a new way that different rhythms can be more complex… And now that we’re sort of living in the “big bang” of hip-hop, I think we can see how that’s really affecting pop song writing. It technically has nothing to really even do with hip-hop. I think a really good example of it would be “Sorry” by Justin Bieber. You would never write that song if hip-hop had never existed. The rhythm just wouldn’t be something that people would even understand. It’s way more complex, it’s all on the upbeats, it’s all very much out of that school of thinking.
I think lyrically… it’s more just in the phrases you use. At least that’s what I’m trying to do, but without being too clever. Like I’m not trying to write lyrics like a rapper, it’s more like the way that they’ll just make modern references. It’s speaking a language that people relate to now and that makes the song more alive to now. And maybe it’ll be dated later, who knows, but it makes it feel more current.
MM: When writing those lyrics, you say you’re not trying to be clever as though a hip-hop artist would, but you do have some clever lyrics. In one of your songs, “Die Young,” you’ve got some pretty clever and deep lyrics – what’s the inspiration behind those lyrics and others like those?
MF: I’ve known a lot of people that died young; my brother died when I was pretty young and I’ve had a lot of friends die. I think it is that we culturally, or maybe it’s just humans in general, there’s something more legendary, something more immortal, about a person who dies too young and how there’s just something special about that. And in a weird way it’s almost something we celebrate. You’re so much more likely to see a poster of someone who has died young. I guess maybe what it’s not so much that we love it when someone dies young, we loves someone who lives in a way where they’re not afraid to. That’s more what we want to celebrate.
Be sure to read the full interview on umassmedia.com