Canadian DJ, producer, singer, and songwriter, Shaun Frank, is a multi-talented creative boundary pusher who does not settle for less. Some of his most recent, highly notable achievements are:
- Co-writer on The Chainsmokers’ track, “Closer”
- No Future Tour
- Collaborations with renowned DJs Oliver Heldens, KSHMR, DVBBS, Borgeous, and many more!
Before his set at Hangout Music Festival, we had a moment to sit down and pick his brain on a multitude of topics:
Don: “Test, test. Check, check. I’m here with Shaun Frank!”
Shaun: “We’re here, recording live from Hangout Fest, backstage!”
Don: “Let’s jump right in!”
We know you’ve been doing music since you were about 14, but, regarding your creative background, how did get started with songwriting and production; studio stuff?
“I would say that the first producing I did was on an 8 or 16-bit version of Cakewalk, which was something that people used to sequence up keyboards. I didn’t do any audio recording, but you could program notes for sheet-music in like songs.”
So, I’d write songs for this Ska-Punk band I was in, I’d map them out in the program, and it would come out sounding like old, Nintendo music. That lead me into getting my first Pro Tools setup, then my first Ableton rig.”
Who are some of your favorite artists, and what/who are you listening to a lot of lately?
I’m really in to DROELOE and San Holo right now. They actually just dropped “Lines of the Broken” together, which is my favorite track of the month. Anything that’s really musical and pushes the boundaries.”
“I think we need more artists that push the boundaries right now. It’d be dope if that were happening.” – Shaun Frank
You’ve featured vocalist Delaney Jane on a lot of your tracks. How did you two initially come to work together, and can we expect more music together from you two?
“Yeah, so she moved in next door to me. I lived in this artist compound in Toronto with all these different musicians, and she just so happened to move in. It was these two, massive houses full of artists, musicians, and studios.
She moved into one of the rooms, and I heard her singing one day and was like, “Oh! We should write a song together!” She wrote a song with me that we ended pitching to somebody that ended up getting signed to Spinnin’, and her next song with me was the “This Could Be Love” record.”
“Every time we sat down we were able to write something quickly and painlessly, and it was a really natural relationship. So, we do have more songs coming out together! We actually have a duet coming out.” – Shaun Frank
Given your recent success, we can only wonder where you’re going from here. What do you have in store for the future, regarding releases, that you can tell us about? Anything on Ultra; on Spinnin?
“Well, I’m excited to announce that today I heard the final master of my new record, which is called “Upside Down”. It’s coming out on Ultra in a month, and I’m be singing on it! So that’s cool.”
Don: “It’s great you’re so multi-talented, and when you mention the music industry needing more artists and musicians pushing the boundaries we can think of so many producers in the Dance / Electronic industry that can make a dope song. After a while, one can get really great at sound design, mixing, etc., and when you’re multi-talented on so many sides of the spectrum you’re able to move your music in any direction you choose versus those who do not possess such creative assets.”
Shaun: “Yeah man! 100%, and that’s why I’m happy to be singing on my records. I used to sing in the band, and it’s nice to be back behind a mic singing on this track. “Upside Down” comes out in June!”
How has your No Future tour been going, and what are some of your favorite moments from it?
Shaun: “However, I wouldn’t even say those were my favorite moments. I’d say Los Angeles was, where we sold out the show; definite highlight. Atlanta was AMAZING a couple weeks ago. Where else have I been? I’ll tell you one thing, I haven’t been home enough!”
Shaun: “Oh! A definite highlight was when Delaney and I did a show together in Ottowa, Canada, and it was CRAZY sold out, loud, nuts, bonkers, and it’s awesome to just play at home in Canada.”
If you could collaborate with anyone, who would IT be and why?
“My dream would be doing a record with Thom York from Radiohead. That would be the most unreal thing ever! It’ll probably never happen; no chance. But, something like that.” – Shaun Frank
Don: “Never say never!”
Shaun: “I’d love to work with DROELOE! They’re putting out such good tracks right now, and I’d love to do a record with them. Oliver, like I said before, would be so fun to work with because they make such great mix-downs. I’d love to hear what one of my songs sounds like mixed by those guys, because they sound so next level. I love Grey, and think those guys are super talented. We got in the studio and wrote something a few months ago, and I’d love to hear it again.”
You just did a mix on Diplo & Friends, and very recently were featured on The Chainsmokers’ “Nice Hair” radio show. What are some of your favorite tracks to play in your sets, and why?
“There’s this Porter Robinson flip by this other guy, who I can’t remember. It’s the RL Grime remix of “The Hills”, Porter edit, and then flipped by this other guy. You’ll have to hit me up for it to get the exact name *laughs*, but I’ve been playing it and it’s FIRE in my sets!”
“I’ve also got a great “I Spy” remix by Bag Raiders that I’ve been putting in my sets. I really like to play little, creative edits, and also throwbacks. I throwback a lot. There are some great remixes of my record “Let You Get Away” that I love playing as well.”
Who would you like to see that’s performing here at Hangout this weekend?
“I’m catching Migos tonight after my set! There’s just so much buzz about those guys, and I want to see what the fuss is all about. I can’t stay for the rest of Hangout, unfortunately, so they’ll be the only acts I’ll be seeing.”
We briefly mentioned pushing the boundaries in music. What do you feel artists and musicians these days aren’t doing enough of?
“I think people are settling too often, and there’s a big drive to put out as much music as humanly possible.” We’re in a different era right now. You don’t get punished for a bad song these days. You can put out a complete piece of shit, your next record is great, and you’ll be fine. Then people can be like, “Oh, but you put out that crap record.”
“There was a time when if that were to happen your career would be over. I kind’ve liked that time, in a way, because it made people care a more.” – Shaun Frank
“Rather than be like, ‘Ah, whatever. I’m just gonna’ pump this out because I need something on Spotify this week and I don’t have anything on Spotify. I’ma just crank a remix out and throw it online’ I DO NOT do it like that!
I genuinely care about anything I put my name on, and I think that’s what people should be caring about. This is coming out with YOUR name on it! This is YOUR stamp! When an artist puts out a record and I listen to it, I think, “This person cared about their song as much as I would care about one of my records.” If it kind’ve blows, then it’s like… OK?”
“Don’t settle! Never settle! Try to find that thing that makes the record special, and if it’s not, then don’t put it out.” – Shaun Frank
Lastly, where do you see the future of music going?
“FUCK *laughs* I think there’s going to be a bunch of hybrid happening. It’s happening right now, and not just between Electronic genres. I think Hip-Hop and Electronic are going to become very unified.
I feel like we’re going to see a lot of Hip-Hop on Electronic this year. We’re going to see a lot of DJs doing live shows, and I hope they learn how to play instruments *laughs*. Yeah, that’s what I think we’re going to see.”
“A big melting pot of multi-cultural music-ism.”
Connect with Shaun Frank: