Interview: Max Frost on Gold Rush, summer festivals and Twenty One Pilots

(By: Angela McLean)

It would appear that recording artist Max Frost has struck gold. The October release and subsequent success of his debut album, ‘Gold Rush,’ has set him on his first 31-stop headlining tour across the U.S. and Canada, continuing until April 27. He’s already drawing sizable crowds, thanks in part to his previous gigs opening for alt-rock heavyweights Twenty One Pilots on their 2018 Bandito Tour, and Panic! At The Disco at several arena shows.

But Frost is far from the end of the tunnel – he just announced summer festival performances at Firefly and Lollapalooza and continues to draw buzz within the industry.

To learn more, RUtv News caught up with Max at the Toronto date of his Gold Rush tour to talk about life on the road, festival hacks and “Money Problems.”

Max Frost
Max Frost at the Baby G in Toronto on March 20. (Photo credit: Angela McLean/RUtv News)

How is the Gold Rush tour going so far?

It’s going great. The album and the Twenty One Pilots tour, I feel like were these two big hurdles that have put me into a whole new chapter in my career. I see and feel a level of excitement about the music that is exponential to before, and it feels more like what I originally dreamed or hoped everything would become.

Is your stage show inspired by groups you’ve toured with, like Twenty One Pilots?

I definitely learned a lot from getting to watch their show every night. It never actually occurred to me how similar the constraints of my show were to theirs; even though it’s two of them and even though Josh is playing drums it really is on Tyler to make one guy seem like a lot more people. He succeeds with that the same way that I try to, which is by just being in a lot of different places on the stage doing different things and trying to be dynamic. Also, treating your production as if it is your third band member, or in my case my second band member.

This tour is in support of your debut full-length album of the same name. Does the album tell a specific story?

I finally decided to throw in the towel on living where I’m from in Austin, TX, and moved to LA in search of a new blank canvas for myself psychologically and creatively. One of the first songs I made was “Good Morning” and the direction of the album became clear really fast. I felt like isolating myself in a place that was unfamiliar, like LA, but having access to people creatively really enabled me to actually open up doors I had been trying to open up but couldn’t for years. So, the name ‘Gold Rush’ really came from the narrative of the historic gold rush in that I went west in search of kind of a new life and creative gold.

‘Gold Rush’ is executive produced by Fitz & the Tantrums’ Michael Fitzpatrick, who called you his “long-lost little brother.” How does it feel to get that kind of praise?

He’s like a big brother to me! I was years into a record deal, going broke and right on the hinge of maybe all the dots not connecting, but the reason I’m here on this tour and have this album out is because I was able to finally have a couple of beacons of light that weren’t just on the business side but on the, like, look, focus on these things and you’ll be alright. He helped me put some blinders on and run forward and it meant a lot to me that he believed enough in it.

Ahead of kicking off your summer festival season, what are some of your fest essentials?

I grew up going to Austin City Limits every year, which is a very congested festival and extremely hot. That kind of put me in a place where I’m like, what we should do is hide in the shade, see the bands we want to see and then go home. Eat a lot of food, drink a lot of water. And don’t hang out with people who are going to get too messed up because they’ll ruin your time, even if you’re not. Oh actually, the biggest piece of advice – don’t make your whole festival experience just trying to find your friends! Just go to the show!

Let’s do a rapid fire based on song titles from your album. “New Confessional” – what’s one thing your fans would be surprised to know about you?

That I’m not really a fan of my own music. I don’t listen to it. I have one song I like, but that’s about it. Maybe one day I’ll find another one that I really love, but then everyone will probably hate it (laughs).

“Money Problems” – you have a wicked style, so which stores claim the most money from your wallet?

I spend a lot of time on the ASOS app. The reason for that is, you can go to Zara and H&M and find good stuff but then everyone’s going to have it. I don’t know who else is buying all this ASOS stuff, but they must not be anywhere near me. I remember I was at a pre-Grammy party and even these rich rapper dudes were like, MAN, where did you get that jacket?! I’m like, oh, this was $40 on an online app. I’m proud to say that. I have money problems!

“Stranger to Me Now” – name an artist that’s a stranger to us, but should be on our radars.

UPSAHL, who’s opening for me right now! She just released her new EP and it’s amazing, especially the song “Fine.”

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