I had the incredible opportunity to briefly interview Max Heath, half of Boston-based electro-pop band Child Actor, over email recently after the release of their latest full album, Never Die. Described by some as dreamy dance music mixed with ethereal vocals by Natalie Plaza, Never Die manages to lull you to sleep one moment and have you dancing in public the next. Heath and I discuss the album and Child Actor below:
Pop Modern: Never Die was just released about a week ago, and it’s already sitting high up on my personal Best Albums of the Year list. This is in part due to your unique style of producing, as well as Ms. Plaza’s vocals. What mood/feel were you going for with Never Die, and what are some tracks you are particularly proud of getting out there?
Max Heath: There is certainly a feeling of fantasy or dream that runs through most of the album. Writing these songs I was excited by a contrast between euphoria and dread in the music. I think my favorites might be “The Memory” and “Ungone”, but I also like “Morning” purely from a songwriting perspective.
Pop Modern: Child Actor has built itself almost entirely on word of mouth and free publicity, and Never Die at least is free to download on your website, with options to pay for it on most digital retailers. Has this model worked out for you so far, and do you plan to stick with it in the future?
Heath: Making a record is almost always a big, scary investment of time and money and it’s hard from a practical standpoint to resist the pressure to monetize everything. Our main goal is to allow anybody who wants to hear the album to be able to do so. Of course our more passionate fans also have the opportunity to buy shirts and vinyl so we’re not exactly socialist. Really figuring out how to sell (or not sell) music is my least favorite responsibility so I try not to spend too much time thinking about it. Hopefully somebody else will think about it on our behalf soon enough, though it is nice in theory to feel like we make all the decisions ourselves.
Pop Modern: Who inspires you musically? This can be artists that directly inspire Child Actor work, or just people who’ve inspired you to make things and create content for the world.
Heath: The feeling of being directly inspired by a particular artist changes pretty dramatically and constantly for me. At this moment it’s Milan Kundera.
Pop Modern: Any plans for a tour coming soon that you’d like to share with your fans? Or other upcoming work to look forward to?
Heath: We’re considering various options for putting a tour together but nothing solid yet. Hope that works out. We still have a few videos and a couple cover songs we’re planning on releasing over the next several months.
Pop Modern: Where did the title, Never Die, come from? There’s obviously a track on the album by the same name, but I was wondering what made you choose to name the album after it?
Heath: We spent a lot of time thinking about death; you could almost say we were obsessed. We came to the conclusion that we really don’t want to die right now.
Couldn’t have wrapped it up any better myself! Many thanks to Max from Child Actor from taking time out of his day to be interviewed, much love to Ms. Plaza for co-creating such a fantastic, enchanting piece of work. Go download Never Die for free at childactor.net, or buy it on iTunes, Soundbutt, Bandcamp, or Amazon. Support good music, and let us know if you’re enjoying these sporadic, more focused interview features.