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interview: photographic memory

Photographic Memory is the dream pop project of Los Angeles musician Max Epstein. He just released a new summery single “Teen Flick” at the beginning of last month. We asked him a bit about the inspiration behind the new track, his favorite song he’s written so far, and who he’d love to tour with in the future.


How did you first get into writing your own music?

Gosh I’ve been playing in various bands since I was 15 and typically contributed to the songwriting process. Around 2013 I was living with my other band Roah Summit in this warehouse and a lot of creative stuff was happening there. It was a really inspiring time and writing songs was just something we all tried to do every day. 


What artists would you say inspire your sound the most?

So much stuff inspires me constantly. Sometimes it’s a band like MBV or Sonic Youth. Sometimes it’s getting a text message from Scott Ruth to hear a new demo he is working on. A lot of times it’s movies. I’ll watch a great movie and the way I feel after will inspire the palette of how I want the next song to feel. 


What inspired the band name “Photographic Memory”? Do you have a photographic memory?

There’s a scene in Good Will Hunting where Skylar asks Will if he has a photographic memory. Also I have a photographic memory.


What inspired the new sound in your latest track “Teen Flick”?

Nostalgia. Watching Gilmore Girls on loop for half my life. Wanting to write songs that felt like the good parts of love. 


The cover for “Teen Flick” is so bright and very aesthetically-pleasing. What was the vision behind the cover shoot and how does it complement the album?

Tracy Nguyen shot it. I loved the work she did with King Princess and I knew I wanted her to do it. I had shared a snippet of the song with her while I was writing it and she just understood the vibe right away. 


If you were in a cover band, what band would you cover and what would you call the band?

Love a good cover. So expect one every tour. Been wanting to cover Hilary Duff’s “Come Clean” for awhile now. But if I strictly did a cover band I’d call it The Sir Slys. And we would play everything from top 40 to Power Trip. I’d be on drums. And we would suck.


What’s your favorite song you’ve written so far?

That’s hard to choose. They’re all so good. I’m pretty happy with this new song called “Big Branch” that’s coming out soon.


Who would you love to open for on a tour?

The 1975. Seeing that show every night will be amazing. 


How do you get over creative blocks or writer’s block?

I work on music everyday. And since the process never stops, I don’t really allow myself to accept writer’s block. Now with that being said, for every 15 songs there’s usually one that I really like. This also goes back to an earlier question about what inspires me. There’s so much cool stuff out there that fires me up. Go watch any Jim Jarmusch film and try to not want to make something sweet. 


Any cool bands or artists you want new fans to know?

Yeah – LA Qoolside, Murderoid, Luster, Charade, Scott Ruth, Launder, Angel Du$t, Creeks, Vanillaroma, Sir Sly, Regulate, JAE BLAK.


Since live shows are cancelled until further notice, what are your plans for the rest of the year? Any new releases we should be keeping an eye out for?

Writing and recording as much as possible. Gonna sprinkle out a few releases as I go. Shoot a few videos. Right now I’m working on a collab with Teenage Priest that I’m excited about. Actually there’s a few collabs I’m excited about. 


Follow Photographic Memory here and listen below:

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