SLOWSHINE is available on Ultra Records
In May, 22-year-old Australian producer Max Byrne aka Golden Vessel released his highly-anticipated debut album, SLOWSHINE, and it’s a total gem. From the onset, the album flawlessly captures Max’s evolving and signature production of textured synths, intelligent beat-making, and an infectious lo-fi sound that draws influences from pop, hip-hop, R&B, and other organic sounds. In turn, creating a unique and lush soundscape that demands repeat streams.
SLOWSHINE follows the 2017 release of Right / Side, an EP that first sparked international interest in Max’s music, and its release was led by its fifth single, “TONIGHT” alongside Sydney hip-hop duo, Cult Shotta. The album also features a wide range of guest collaborators; including DUCKWRTH, E^ST, Woodes, Akurei, The Nicholas and Emerson Leif.
Earlier this year, Golden Vessel brought his chill electronica to the U.S. in support of BAYNK‘s North American tour but now the Aussie producer is back on his own headline tour in support on SLOWSHINE and it’s a show you won’t want to miss. We caught up with Max (and Connor Grant/Akurei) ahead of his incredible set at U Street Music Hall in Washington, D.C., to discuss his latest album, making music videos in Japan, and more. Read on below.
Your first-ever U.S. headlining tour kicked off Friday in NYC. How’s it been so far?
Really great! It’s been nice to meet people in the cities we’ve played so far and to finally show off the new headlining show. In February, I opened for BAYNK on his North American tour but since then the show has developed and we’re able to do more projections and increase the scale a little bit. The shows have been really great so far.
You’re touring your recently-released debut album, SLOWSHINE. How does it feel to finally have this complete body of work out?
Nothing like it. I’ve been sitting on the album for a while so it’s nice for people to hear it finally. The music has been done for a while but the visual elements were completed closer to the album’s release date, so we put everything together earlier this year and released it as one cohesive product. That was really fun for me.
How has your sound developed since Right / Side?
Golden Vessel: What do you think, Connor?
Akurei: It’s hard because I’ve been listening to the new-new stuff but I think the difference with R/S and SLOWSHINE is first in the songwriting, that was a big step up. With the sound, it feels much more balanced and the pertinent parts seem to shine more.
Golden Vessel: I would agree and I think with R/S, I think I finally found what I was trying to get at and with SLOWSHINE I got to do it on a larger scale and maybe do it more intricately and with more people.
The album features a few new and many frequent collaborators. Since you’ve worked a lot of these artists before, did the songs take shape organically before the concept of an album?
Definitely. I was playing around with what I wanted to do conceptually and I had one really good weekend with Elkkle and Akurei – where we wrote “MOONSTONE” and “BIGBRIGHT” in the same weekend, maybe a few days apart. All of the ideas that I had been thinking of just started coming to me then and from that point on everything seemed to just flare up quickly.
There’s a lot of exciting genre-blending. Hints of R&B, pop, electronica. Are you at all inspired by any current musicians or were you while making this album?
It’s always been a collection of things I like – drums, really textured synths, weird little loops, and very forward vocals. I like taking different things that I like and just trying to put them together. I listen to heaps of different music – I was listening to a lot of hip-hop while making SLOWSHINE, lots of guitar music, and weird electronic stuff. For this album, BROCKHAMPTON and Frank Ocean were really big influences. At the moment, I’ve been really into Big Thief and really enjoying their style of songwriting, textures, and sounds.
I just caught BROCKHAMPTON for the first time at Firefly Festival a few weekends ago, they were incredible.
That’s so sick. I saw them in LA last year and it was a wild show. We also saw them again in Australia, which was really cool.
So, the lead single from the album is called ‘TONIGHT” and it’s featuring Cult Shφtta. Tell us a little about single.
It was the last track that I made for the album. I wrote the original concept when I was hanging with Akurei in the studio and then later while I was with Cult Shφtta asked if he wanted to work on the track. What they did sounded cool and then I was working on the track with Tim [Nelson] from Cub Sport for a little bit. I just remember wanting to create one more track in that style, my friends all did a little bit on it, and we made TONIGHT. It was a fun one to make because it happened so late in the process.
You’ve released a few visuals with this album and the music video for “TONIGHT” was filmed in Japan. First time leaving Australia to shoot a video?
Yeah, it was. I went to Japan at the start of the year and I love it. Tokyo is my favorite city. Every little block and street is really interesting, so I just wanted an excuse to go there. One of my best friends is a filmmaker and I asked if we could just go make some music videos if I bought his tickets and of course he said yes. We went for two weeks, ate sushi, and just had the best time.
You mentioned reading Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood while out there. Are you an avid reader?
Yeah, I did. I was reading that during my first trip out there. That book is so sick. I wouldn’t say I’m an avid reader but I definitely try to keep up and read a lot of articles or just things on the internet that interest me. Maybe that book was so cool for me because I usually don’t read that much and read the whole thing while on the trip. I’ll read Murakami and little bits of poetry or whatever.
Do you have a favorite track on the album?
Yeah, I think my favorite one is “TENNOJI.” Akurei is on that one as well. It’s a mixture of a few songs but we wrote our parts straight after when we got back from Japan. We just thought Japan was the best and we wrote this song about it. I think I like it because it’s the weirdest on the album and piecing it together was really hard, and then it finally worked, so it felt like a labor of love.
You’re on tour in the U.S. through July, with stops in Chicago, Minneapolis, Austin, Denver, LA, SF, Vancouver, and more. What’s going on after that?
I think at some point in the next few days, we’ll announce an AUS/NZ tour for September/October. When we play back in Australia, we have a drummer. So we’ll have a few weeks to rehearse with him. After that, I’m not even sure. There’s a lot of new stuff and I need to condense it and figure out how I’m going to put it out or what type of project I want to release next but there’s definitely a lot of music in the works.
Golden Vessel‘s North American tour runs through the end of July with stops across the U.S. and parts of Canada. See the full dates and purchase tickets HERE. Stream SLOWSHINE below and on Soundazed: Keep Me Buzzin.