The last year has seen Shaun Frank rise in popularity with hit tracks like “This Could Be Love”, “La La Land”, “Heaven” and more. Showcasing his musical aptitude with each song he touches, Frank has caught the eyes of many household dance names like KSHMR, Steve Aoki, The Chainsmokers, Oliver Heldens and many more. Joining The Chainsmokers for their first ever Dreaming at Red Rocks event, we sat with the rising talent to talk about his beginnings in dance music, his future plans musically and girl scout cookies. Check it out:
First off, thanks for sitting and talking with us!
Shaun Frank: Of course.
How was your flight coming in?
SF: It was good, it was early. Me and Cody (videographer) were on the first flight out of Toronto. Yeah, I mean we came straight to the venue and I’ve wanted to play at Red Rocks since I was 10 so yeah this is huge.
Did you get a chance to explore Denver at all?
SF: I’m actually flying out direct to New York after I play here for E Zoo so we just came directly up here and explored Red Rocks.
So I wanted to get a little background about you as an artist: what really got you started in dance music?
SF: I used to play in bands, I was a singer in a band for a lot of years and actually toured all over the world with that band. There was a couple dance artists that heard my voice and I actually started singing on dance records, that’s how I got in. I actually sang on this one track that became a big hit in Spain and I went on this tour with that DJ as the singer. I became accustomed to the culture more and started to really get to see that audiences and the festivals and the vibe with dance music was so much better than what I was doing with my band, so I just switched gears and started producing. I actually started out doing a lot of ghost producing for others at first and then the records I made that I really liked I started to put out under my own name instead.
When did you first really feel that you had made it as a producer and DJ?
SF: I don’t really think I’m there yet. There’s so much I want to learn and there’s so many artists that I look up to. I guess though when I put out the record with Oliver Heldens, “Shades of Gray”, that was when I was really able to go play a lot of shows, and go on tour. Then I had another release with KSHMR and those two records really put me on the map and to be able to play clubs and those are the things that happened a year ago to really put me on a roll.
Did you ever have any crazy experiences as a fan at a show that you can share?
SF: I always get asked this question and I don’t really have anything crazy other than like having fans bust into your dressing room and stealing all your liquor. *laughing* The true fans always find their way back into the dressing room.
So speaking of Red Rocks, we met back at Dead Rocks while you were in town with Dr Fresch and SNBRN a couple months back for the New Order Tour at Beta. How was that show last time?
SF: That was sick! Denver is one of the best places to play, from my experience. That show was amazing. That was one of the last shows on the New Order Tour, and that was some of the most fun I’ve had on tour. Plus seeing the Zeds Dead guys, they’re from Toronto, I love those guys. I’ll definitely be paying homage to them tonight, I know they’re pretty big here.
Speaking of the New Order Tour, you’ve seen massive success with the b2b2b project. What brought the three of you together?
SF: Me and Kevin (SNBRN) actually have the same agent, and they threw us on a b2b show at Miami Music Week like two years ago. Our agent was like “hey, you’re gonna play with SNBRN b2b at the show” and we like met on stage and he was like “okay how do you mix?” and turns out we have a very similar style of mixing. So we played and it was awesome and afterwards we were like “sh*t, we should do that again” so like a year later when we were trying to figure out artists to go on tour with that were similar size it only made sense for us to connect. Then Tony (Dr Fresch) is a really good friend of Kevin’s, we did our first b2b on Mixmag’s show which was sick. Then we had the tour after and in each city we played the b2b2b for like an hour. In some cities where there was no cutoff we ended up playing until like 5 in the morning. *laughing*
Can we expect to see more from The New Order, such as an entire EP or more touring in the future?
SF: I know that we have one or two more shows that we’re gonna throw in, but I just started the Getaway Tour, today’s the first day of that. I think we’ll run into each other though, we always run into each other at shows so there’s always bound to be a New Order appearance. We could do a Part 2 though, I’m down for that.
You’ve worked with all assortments of names in dance music, such as KSHMR, Oliver Heldens, Steve Aoki and more. Who is one name right now that you’d love to get into the studio with?
SF: I love those Rufus Du Sol guys. I’d be so stoked to do a track with them, that “Innerbloom” track is like my favorite song of the year. They’re a band, I used to be in bands, so I really relate with what they do. Hell if I could even just write a song with them, I’d be down.
Apart from working with big names, you actually were listed as a co-writer alongside Freddy from Louis the Child on the new breakout track “Closer” by The Chainsmokers and Halsey which has become an all time highest rating hit for the duo and out of dance music. What was it like working on a track that has become a massive end of summer anthem?
SF: I mean, it’s the number one song in the world, it’s so crazy. Every time I get up and I get in the car, it’s always on the radio. It’s the first time I’ve ever had a song that you hear it all day every day. Like you go on Spotify and there it is #1 on the charts, it’s pretty surreal. It started in the back of the tour bus on the Friendzone Tour. Louis the Child was on like 2 or 3 shows on the tour, and one night Freddy and Drew were messing around with some chords that Drew had and some sounds that Freddy had. Then the next day, me and Drew were working on a collab that we were gonna work on but Drew was super excited about this song and came up and said “actually I have this song that me and Freddy were working on last night and it’s super dope. Would you want to help me write it?” and then, I remember him being like “I just kinda want this to be done.” So I told Drew that he should sing it, and he wasn’t sure at first but we ended up recording the vocals that night on the tour bus. I did vocals with him, we recorded the whole thing, they got Halsey on it and yeah here we are. It was one of those things that we knew as soon as we got the vocals in that this was gonna be big. They had some friends on the bus and they were just looping it for like two hours, the rough version, it was great. *laughing*
Your new single “Let You Get Away” with Ashe shows a new side of your production talents. What inspired the heavier, trap infused sound and will we be seeing you break into more genres in the coming months?
SF: Well when I made “La La Land”, I wrote that song with Delaney Jane and “La La Land” happened to be at a different tempo than what I was used to. I’m used to making a lot of house music and “La La Land” was at 140, which is obviously not really house music anymore, and that song just became that tempo because of how it was written, it was played at that speed on the piano. That’s kinda how I do all my stuff, I just write the song first and if it’s at 140 or it’s at 80 or something like that, tends to sound like it’s trappy or more future bass. Also, while I was on the New Order tour I was starting to play heavier songs at higher tempos and I realized I needed some of my own originals that fit that energy and tempo so I can play a more diverse set. So the goal for me was to write new music all over the map so I could really build a more epic set. You’ll hear it tonight, like when I started I was much more into that house vibe and now it’s definitely more diverse.
Your show tonight supporting The Chainsmokers marks the kick off of your world tour! I have to ask how excited are you to play Red Rocks? (If after, How was your experience playing Red Rocks?)
SF: Well my dad actually used to have the Under a Blood Red Sky DVD with U2 and had them playing like “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and a bunch of other tunes at Red Rocks and ever since then I just don’t think there was any other venue in the world I was as excited to play as here. This is definitely a bucket list play right here and I hope next time I’m here I’m headlining it.
Are there any spots you’re really looking forward to visiting on your upcoming tour?
SF: Yeah! Some of these shows in Asia I’m really excited for. There’s apparently this Korean festival that I’ll be playing and I watched some videos from last year and it looks insane. I’m playing Bali and Jakarta. All the dates in the States will be exciting, I’ve got this cool Halloween run happening, me and Delaney Jane are doing some co-shows. There’s a show in Toronto coming up and it’s just Shaun Frank ft. Delaney Jane and she’s coming out a lot more than she normally does with me. I really want to incorporate some more live vocals to my sets, I wanna start bringing Ashe out from the new single, I actually have some other tracks with her. I want to start incorporating more live stuff as much as I can.
What can fans expect when they head out to see you this Fall?
SF: Time permitting, I’m starting to add more live elements to my show. Like singers, instruments, I really wanna switch it up. I mean, like I said I used to play in a band and I can play guitar and piano so I might as well start doing it. Just have to figure out how to do it because when you’re flying everywhere it’s hard to bring some of that gear. I’m starting to figure out how to do it and it’s gonna start happening on this tour.
Well before we head out, I had one last question for you from a fan: What’s your favorite girl scout cookie?
SF: Well in Canada we have these maple ones, I don’t know if you guys have that ‘cause maple syrup is such a Canada thing but definitely those maple syrup girl scout cookies.
Well awesome man! Can’t wait for your set!
SF: Yeah thanks buddy!
You can catch Shaun Frank across the globe as he embarks on the Getaway Tour, and make sure to check out his new single “Let You Get Away” ft. Ashe out on September 16th!