When Max Frost performs at The Southern Cafe and Music Hall on Saturday night, he expects to see fans of his different singles and styles coming together to enjoy the same show.
Frost is the kind of artist who can sweep listeners away into a blues groove one minute and then keep them humming an ear-candy hip-hop hook all week. He’s touring in support of “Gold Rush,” his debut album on Atlantic Records, which offers common ground to fans who savor his bluesy rhythm-and-blues and rock side and those who favor his electronic pop, hip-hop and dance sounds.
“This album has kind of unified my audience,” Frost said.
And although listeners are turning out enthusiastically for “Gold Rush” tour dates, it’s not too soon for the singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist to start working on new music. For Frost, there’s no need to wait for an album’s worth of songs to release new material.
“I plan on releasing some singles later this year,” he said, adding that “some stuff is right there at the finish line.” Listeners can expect to hear new music in September or October, he said.
“Right now, I want to feel like I’m in a flow. I like the idea of making music and releasing it as it comes,” Frost said. “You start fresh, instead of thinking of it as a 10-song album.”
Working on the songs for “Gold Rush” helped Frost recognize moments of growth as a writer. While writing earlier material, he often focused more on how a finished song would sound. As life unfolds and experiences inform his writing, “I just have a lot more to say,” he said.
And audiences are responding. They know the words, and the words mean something to them. Often, they sing Frost’s words back to him.
“Where I see a connect is I can tell that the messages of the songs are what the people are connecting to,” he said.
Frost has released two EPs, 2013’s “Low High Low” and 2015’s “Intoxication.” His singles include “Paranoia,” “Let Me Down Easy,” “Withdrawal,” “President,” “Adderall” — and, of course, “White Lies,” the song that got him on a national radar.
Moving from his hometown of Austin, Texas, to Los Angeles in 2017 opened up a variety of creative influences and opportunities.
“It gave me a sense of a blank canvas,” Frost said. “Austin is sort of a place to incubate,” while Los Angeles was the place to be “as far as creating an identity as an artist.”
The presence of so many cutting-edge musicians and songwriters in Los Angeles makes collaboration inviting and more convenient.
“You’re way less isolated from the world of music day to day,” he said. “You’re a little more aware of what people are listening to.”
Headlining his “Gold Rush” tour isn’t the only thing keeping Frost busy these days. He has performed on Twenty One Pilots’ “Bandito” tour and opened some shows for Panic! At the Disco.
Lately, it has been easy for Frost’s fans to find him on television. On “Good Morning America,” he has performed “Eleven Days” and, of course, “Good Morning.” And on “Live with Kelly and Ryan,” he performed “Good Morning” in one appearance and “Money Problems” in the second. (“Good Morning” also has bubbled up, naturally, in commercials for bubly.)
Television shows are easy for viewers to enjoy, but those brief appearances take lots of work to create — not to mention that musicians accustomed to performing late into the night must be fresh, tuned and ready to rock early in the morning.
“It’s pretty incredible, but it’s a pretty nerve-racking environment,” Frost said of live television performances.
Frost enjoys performing in a variety of settings and soaking up inspiration from what each has to offer. He enjoyed opening arena shows for Twenty One Pilots, for instance.
“It has its own scale,” he said of arena work. “There’s a different chaotic energy to a packed club.”
“When you’re in a smaller venue, you can hear everything that’s going on in the audience,” Frost said. “You have just as intimate a read on how they’re feeling. Everybody has a front-row seat in a club.”
His time in the arena setting has taught him some lessons about owning his space that he’s starting to apply to his club performances.
“As a performer, playing arenas has taught me to be more expressive with my body,” he said. When he goes back to a club environment, he’s ready to “take up as much space with my body as possible.”