This summer, we shared six SoundCloud artists on the verge of exploding, and today we’re thrilled to introduce you personally to one of those musical phenoms—introducing SAINT WKND.
Interview by Caroline Moore
Ever considered how your favorite song was conceived of, or wondered what underlying narrative or inspiration the artist drew upon? For German-born producer SAINT WKND (AKA Max Seethaler), making music starts with “a certain feeling or vibe you get. Sometimes it’s maybe just scrolling through Tumblr, looking at pictures of palm trees and getting those beach feelings. And that’s where it starts.”
For Max, it began at age 12 when the he began making music on his own, inspired by the tranquil atmosphere of his small hometown and the local club that featured electronic music. Now, at 20, he’s also a designer, a photographer, an avid longboarder and explorer, a self-professed nerd and, most of all, a socially-conscious guy with passion, talent and the desire to make others feel uplifted through his work. I got the chance to ask Max about the relationship between his visual and sonic art, and he believes their mutual influence “is more of a subconscious thing.” And just as seamlessly, he draws on visual art as a catalyst for his music: “When I’m done writing a song I already know how the artwork should look. I still do all the tour flyers and work by myself. I also do a lot of different stuff, but that’s just for myself. Maybe I’ll share it someday.”
For now, SAINT WKND will content himself pursuing his potential as a musician, sourcing inspiration not only from established artists he admires (Rick Rubin, Kanye West and Kurt Cobain, to name a few), but from everyone he meets. “You just have to listen!” he says, emphatically. “Everyone has a story to tell. You can find something in everything, which can help shape your self.” Drawing on this muse, his favorite place to work and create is alone at home, “with my midi-keyboard and laptop and a cup of good coffee. That’s all I need to totally forget about anything around me.” In fact, the track he is most proud of, Lost, was conceived in precisely this way. The lilting melody and soft, fluid vocals cement this recent release as an instant favorite.
In other moments, the artist revels in physics documentaries and diverse sources of scientific knowledge. “I am so deeply fascinated by quantum physics and the peripheral areas,” he tells me. “We could probably talk hours.” Within the realm of physics is the science of sound, and as he notes, “the amazing thing is that the way energy is passed from one system to another is vibration. Music comprises vibrations on air molecules. Sunlight is the vibration on an electromagnetic field. Anything interacts by the vibration on the right frequency—take a chord as an example, which is the combination of the right frequencies.”
When it comes to music, he remarks, on how the “power of notes is unbelievably amazing. Not only in a way of how it works physically, but also emotionally. Music can make you sad, it can make you happy, it can make you feel all sort of things. Just by playing some minor chords everything can become so dramatic.” Like Picasso, he laments increasing restraints on creativity and emotion on adults, and views music as an opportunity to encourage emotion. “It is sometimes kind of sad to see that people stop expressing themselves as they grow up. As if it was a bad thing in our society to feel.” Which is exactly why SAINT WKND seeks to counteract that message with his records, eliciting empathy and projecting good vibes in the hopes that his work will move an audience in some way. As Ursula K. Le Guin said, “the creative adult is the child who has survived”—and Max Seethaler has done just that.
So what’s next for the burgeoning artist? “Writing more music. I really want to take my sound to the next level. And of course, touring the world and showcasing my sound. And last, but not least, stay kind and honest with everything.”
Check out some quick takes with the artist below:
Favorite place in the world?
How do you take your coffee?
With milk and sugar.
You have an entire day free. What do you do?
I would sleep late, make myself some epic brunch, drive to the beach and enjoy the day, heading back home and then start writing on music until it’s probably 6 am.
Black or white?