When Max Frost arrives at Whisler’s, a bar on Austin’s gritty east side, for our photo shoot, he’s straight from lunch with his dad. A bartender recognizes him and squeals. “I remember seeing you perform at Hyde Park Grill when you were like, 12,” she says. “I’m so glad you’re doing what you’re doing. Tell your mom hi!”
Not everyone can forge a career in his hometown, from the uncensored control of his laptop, with family and tacos nearby. Max Frost, the 21-year old musician, producer, and songwriter was born the same year as the Internet, but he grew up to a soundtrack of the Beatles, Sinatra, and Tony Bennett that his parents played on vinyl. He developed his own eclectic style in his teens, inspired by artists like Erykah Badu and D’Angelo, and playing with everyone from Bob Schneider to hip-hop producer MC Kydd.
Last year he released “White Lies,” a hard-driving, infectious song about the paranoia of betrayal. Last spring, after the song went viral, he found his career on the move. His debut EP Low High Low was released in October. For the next couple months, he’ll divide his time between Los Angeles and NYC, wrapping up his first yet-to-be-named LP that will be released in May and kick off a national tour. We sat down with the emerging talent and asked about striking the balance between realistic expectations and the brink of fame.
I was always in love with music, I had this weird connection to the older stuff that my parents would play. I finally started playing when I was eight. But when it came to choosing music as a career, there was a constant echo of “it’s a tough life, you’ve gotta be a smart kid and go to college.” I felt I had to be realistic. Then when I got to college I was like, this doesn’t interest me at all. Music was the only thing that felt valuable. Music is an obsession that has never exhausted me.
I spent time playing with Blues Mafia and Gary Clark Jr. We were a young band in 2005, and I thought our style was so retro that it was only fun for us and only cool in Austin. Then this huge shift happened with the whole online presence. Radiohead dropped their record for free. The Internet had crash-landed, but it had actually set a lot of stuff free and scrambled the egg.
One part of me misses the late nineties. The best things that people love about Austin had started to flourish, but they hadn’t become overgrown. The city was just starting to appear on all these lists as a great place to live…As a local artist my presence rises as the city grows, but it’s difficult to maintain the same culture.
Austin can be too quick to put a ceiling on its own stuff, and the rate of recognition here is slow. When Gary Clark Jr. first started out, the blues hadn’t come back like they have now. He was just this local guy who does his guitar thing. But this guy could be a Hendrix. It took so much proof and national recognition before he was revered locally. Now that he’s won a Grammy, everyone loves him.
Playing SX is kind of like showing up at a football stadium and trying to tell the crowd something. Everyone is there to promote, no one there to listen. But once you’ve gotten a wave going, that’s when you seal it. If you’re trying to get a tire to the road, it’s such a costly thing energetically to even get into it.
Bob is so good at engaging an audience. I think his most valuable asset is holding their attention. I love that he stays in Austin and packs it out every time. His shows are still a blast because he’s just being himself, no bullshit. Bob is an example of the future of a successful musician. If you’re the real deal [the industry] won’t get lost on you.
I’m more passionate about writing and producing. I would have my career be more about making records than playing shows for a living. These days music is more like a collage. Success is going to have to come from the energy of the art itself, not the medium. Today, all that matters is great songs.
by Joanna Steblay
As the warm weather begins to set in and patio parties hit our calendars, we can’t help but embrace that summertime has returned to Austin. If you’re anything like us, you’ll be celebrating the return of the season with decadent ice cream, healthy smoothies and icy cocktails from your favorite local spots.
For those days when it’s too hot to venture out, we went to Austin’s sweet treat professionals and compiled the ultimate collection of DIY recipes to make from your home. Click through the galleries below to learn how to make everything icy and sweet, from poptails for date night to ice cream sandwiches for a dinner party.more
The spring edition of the Renegade Craft Fair returns for its seventh year in Austin May 14-15 at Fair Market. With over 125 makers on the roster, the scene is sure to be bustling with local artisans and DIYers slinging their unique, one-of-a-kind wares. In addition to great shopping, the RCF offers activities, special showcases and plenty of food and drink options for visitors. This year, celebrate your hard work shopping with a snack from Burro Cheese Kitchen and Lucky Lab Coffee Co. before commemorating the afternoon with some snapshots from Magnolia Photo Booth Co. But before...more
by James Ruiz
Inspired by the beautiful outdoor living spaces featured in our May feature The Space Between, we went window shopping and found some great outdoor furniture and accessories to liven up your outdoor patio, porch and pool. Flip through the galleries below to see how you can add a pop of color and style to your outdoor hideaway.more
Hundreds of people are moving to Austin each day, and downtown is one of the major hubs of growth for the city. Local real estate expert Jude Galligan discusses smart urban growth and what to expect this year as the skyline continues to evolve.
Your blog keeps Austin updated on the latest news in downtown. What is the most exciting development happening right now?
From my point of view, the most exciting development is the Waller Creek District Master Plan. Decades in the making, this transformative project came to life after designers competed for the contract. It is finally coming to downtown, bringing an imaginative chain of parks,...more
by James Ruiz
As you flip through the pages of our February Love Issue, one thing you’ll notice is the beautiful blooms that pop up throughout the magazine. We got some major googly eyes for the bouquets featured in our "Real Weddings" features, and earmarked the TRIBEZA Wedding Guide for even more Pinterest-worthy petals.
Instead of letting all that inspiration go to waste, we tried our hand at flower arranging to see what we could create. Since we consider ourselves floral design novices, we asked a few top designers...more