The Sonic journey of indie artist & producer, Maxton Hunter

Today, I’m met with former member of The Caverns and The Shorelines, Maxton Hunter, as he embarks on his journey as a solo Indie artist and producer here in Los Angeles. Join us as we discuss early artist life, producing, and life as a solo artist–read the full convo below!

From a young age, Maxton knew he wanted to be a musician. He reminisces about early music memories, such as listening to ACDC and Led Zeppelin with his Dad and “drumming with chopsticks on the couch.” Maxton tells me these early instances “struck a chord with me”, especially listening to Led Zeppelin’s self-titled and “Highway to Hell.”  Jokingly, he mentions, “I started air guitar at 9 years old, fully imitating Angus Young.” Maxton will always remember when he held a guitar for the first time—”Out of all the instruments I’ve played, and guitar has been the most loyal.” By 11 years old, Maxton was properly writing songs and getting involved with the local music scene in Santa Barbara, eventually joining The Caverns and The Shorelines. 

During his time with The Caverns and The Shorelines, Maxton spent time “playing live shows religiously” with The Caverns, while working on the collaborative project, The Shorelines, taking the lead on recording. Through both groups, Maxton gained extensive experience with live shows and recording music, and ultimately he found a greater love for the recording process—“I’m OCD about the studio setup…It’s just very inconvenient having to set up and tear down my equipment every weekend, so it’s more productive for me when my studio is always up and running.” In December 2019, Maxton decided to make the big move to Los Angeles and refocus on his solo project. With the release of his EP Paradise Syndrome in 2020, Maxton felt this was the kickoff to his solo career, ultimately closing the chapter for his work on hometown-based music projects. 

With taking the plunge into his solo career, Maxton tries to trust his instinct with writing and producing. “I could write Psychedelic Indie all day, but I also try and experiment with different sounds and genres; I love embracing as many different sounds and genres into one cohesive song. Artists tend to get really comfortable, so my goal is to continue breaking down those internal walls.” 

Through his solo venture as “Maxton Hunter,” he frequently collaborates with other artists on his tracks. “When recording with another artist, you’re in new territory and you kinda have to read the room.” Maxton brings up his experience collaborating with Lucy Branch on tracks “Say What You Mean” and “Faces”—”From working with her in the past, I know Lucy Branch liked my style of writing, so by default I catered it to her”. 

For Maxton’s recent single “Honestly,” Maxton adopts more of a Pop element; “More tangible, but still me.” Ultimately he considers this single to be his “quarantine wake-up call,” as the song’s themes focus on seeing who your real friends are. The line “it’s about time” that repeats throughout the chorus represents wanting to be in adulthood. Including friendship and the transition to adulthood, Maxton adds that he wrote “Honestly” while making the big move from his hometown (Santa Barbara) to Los Angeles, with those array of conflicting emotions present in the feel of the tune. Creatively, this track specifically focuses on the producing and recording aspect of Maxton’s solo career as he took the reins as a producer, while collaborating with Parsonics’ engineer Noah Bruskin and AriBella and james october for vocals–he adds this experience included his first Zoom writing session. 

Maxton finds inspiration from friends and collaborators in the Santa Barbara scene (such as Cecilia James and Queentide) as well as The Beatles, Kevin Morby, Jorja Smith, Dr. Dog, The Mattson 2, Palace and Jimi Hendrix. He adds, “[Jimi Hendrix] passed the torch to so many people, and blended surf rock and blues.” Along with the array of artists Maxton loves, he also mentions his love for ambient music, noting he’s more focused on sonic ear candy for future tunes. 

Maxton Hunter is an artist of multiple talents, with a strong desire to push his creative boundaries and create enjoyable, feel-good songs. Maxton is currently in the writing process, with the intention of mapping out his next EP. With that, his singles “Halfway Home” and “Morals” are set for a  Spring 2022 release, and I can’t wait to hear what he’s got in store for us. Keep up with Maxton Hunter on Instagram and check out the playlist down below for a highlighted selection of Maxton’s music and collaborations!

Interview By: Alexa Terry