Shaun Frank is having a huge 2015, with tons of original releases and collaborations. In fact, his collaboration with Oliver Heldens ‘Shades of Grey', featuring Delaney Jane, has been #1 on Beatport for the past 10 days. This is only just the start for the Toronto native, as he has tons of new material to be released in the near future. I had a chance to check out his set a few weeks ago at Firefly Music Fest. It was a special set, from start to finish, he had the crowd moving and grooving to a great variety of house tracks including ‘Shades of Grey', ‘This Could Be Love', ‘All About' and ending his set with Jack U‘s ‘Where Are You Now'. It was one of my favorite sets from the weekend. I had a chance to sit down with him after his set to chat about how it went, what we can expect from him soon and many other questions.
Talk a little bit about your first Firefly experience…
“I had to look on a map to figure out where it was exactly, a really cool festival. I found out I was gonna play this a month ago and I looked it up and couldn't believe the lineup, like it's amazing. I mean Paul McCartney is here, but it's also cool that a lot of my friends are here. SNBRN played yesterday, The Chainsmokers are rescheduled for today, and Steve Aoki is on right now. A pretty good time.”
Are you planning on seeing any other artists playing the festival?
Yeah, I'm pretty stoked to see The Killers to be honest, but like I said The Chainsmokers have been rescheduled for today. I just did a couple shows with them about a month ago. We were down here last night and just came a day early to hangout. That thunderstorm was pretty wild last night. Me and my manager escaped before too much of the madness but I was happy the festival was up and running today so I could play.”
How did your latest track ‘Shades of Grey' come about?
“Yeah, it's really exciting because we started this on New Year's, so it's been a while. We met on New Year's, Oliver was in Toronto doing a show and he came by the studio. I had that ‘Shades of Grey' vocal that I had done with Delaney Jane and he was just really into it. So when he went back we just kept talking and I was kinda like…You wanna do the track? and he was like absolutely! So yeah, really really pumped on that.”
What's next for you? What else are you working on?
“I have a few really cool collabs coming out. I had Sam Feldt in the studio a couple weeks ago and I've been working on a track with Cashmere. I have a bunch of originals coming out soon and some really cool remixes. I did a remix for this girl Grace, she's an Australian singer and she featured G-Eazy on her record and I did a remix of that. It's actually a remake of ‘You Don't Know Me'. I have a Vicetone remix coming out too, so that plus a lot of shows. It's an exciting year coming up.”
How did you get into DJing?
“I've always kind of loved house music and I actually grew up playing in bands, so I was always into music. I was heavily in the music program growing up. My parents had me on the piano when I was like 5. I was always primarily a songwriter and I started building up a home studio, writing songs and demoing them. Then I went to Asia with my band a few years ago and kind of fell in love with the party scene over there. Yeah, like I said, I really got into house music. I was singing on dance tracks and used to be a vocalist as well. That kind of evolved into putting out my own records. I think what's really helped me is being on board with guys like Oliver Heldens, and I had that Borgeous track that came out a few months ago, and being able to collaborate with these guys has helped build up my profile. Now I'm playing crazy festivals like this (Firefly). It's been a whirlwind.”
How would you describe your sound?
“The future house genre has become kind of all about that bass sound…that bass line sound. I don't do it that much but I do have a couple of tracks that are bass line driven. I come from more of a songwriter place so generally I start writing my songs on the piano with a vocalist or I just write the vocals and they evolve into that. So there's a lot more soul and chords and I like to use a lot of those U.K. garage sounds. Some people have been calling it ‘funky disco house', and I guess my track ‘Time' was kind of like funky disco. It's funny cause when I got into electronic music I really got into guys like Porter Robinson and Mat Zo and that kind of stuff. They always have those kind of funky chords, so I think that also inspired my sound. A lot of different influences.”
Where do you get your vocals from?
“One of the things I work really hard on and I pride myself on is that I do all the vocals in my own studio. I write a lot of the lyrics with the vocalist. I'm part of that and I also do a lot of vocal writing for other artists. We just finished a vocal for Tiesto, so I do a lot of that stuff in my studio as well. It's pretty cool.”
What do you prefer to play? Clubs or festivals?
“I haven't played enough festivals yet to know, but I think…there's something so sick about playing to 200 people in a packed small room in the basement of somewhere but I also love the big vibe and the love that goes with these festivals. Just the community feel in the crowd, so I'd say it's pretty equal for me right now.