Shaun Frank is one of 2016’s biggest names in production and he’s setting up to make 2017 even bigger.
Unless you’ve lived under a rock for the past two years, you’ve heard the name Shaun Frank multiple times. He’s had a multitude of huge releases in the past year and manyh of them have come with people like Steve Aoki, KSHMR, Borgeous, and more being just some of the names he’s collaborated with. He also co-wrote “Closer” with The Chainsmokers, a song which ended up topping the charts at #1 for multiple weeks running. We had the chance to sit down with Shaun on board the Norwegian Sun as part of Groove Cruise Cabo 2016. A five-day, festival on a ship that sailed from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas Mexico. Read on as we go in-depth with Shaun Frank as he talks about preparing his live sets, collaborations, and travel must-haves in this interview!
Stream The Chainsmokers – Closer Ft. Halsey (Shaun Frank Remix) on SoundCloud:
Last time we spoke, you mentioned that you like to prepare special moments for your set and that you never play the same set twice. What do you look for when you’re finding tracks to put into your set that will make the moments special?
It’s usually how I play my own music. I generally play in to my own tracks differently every night depending on what the room is like. For example, this whole cruise (Groove Cruise Cabo) has been pretty housey, so I’m going to do a more house oriented set today, and I did the other night in Cabo. Just finding new and different ways to transition into my own songs, so that fans kind of hear it in a different way every night.
Kind of playing off of that “special moments” theme, we’re at a nightclub on the beach in Cabo, pretty intriguing venue. Do you like playing festivals or clubs more, and which of those do you think fosters your ability to create memorable sets for fans?
I think festivals for me are the most epic. I definitely plan my sets around there being that kind of energy, but then again some of my club shows on the Getaway tour have been the best shows of my career. I play New City Gas in Montreal last week it was insane there’s a video of it online you can check out. My show in LA, my show at The Hoxton [in Toronto] were ones I curated, they were club shows and some of the best shows I’ve ever played. Definitely the energy of those shows was epic but I’ve also enjoyed, I mean I played EDC this summer and that was nuts and super fun.
A few months ago you released “Let You Get Away” with Ashe, and of course “Closer” with Halsey and The Chainsmokers, and you’ve worked with other vocalists like Delaney Jane in the past, do you like working with a variety of different vocalists and do you think the production process changes when working with different artists?
I’ve made like five tracks with Delaney and I think when you find people when you click with on like a songwriting level, it’s good to do it a lot. Because I think that’s the way you can kind of find that magical song. It might not happen on the first session. So for example with Ashe, I have like five or six songs that I’ve written with her and “Let You Get Away” was the one that was our favorite. So I like to, when I find someone I work really well with, I like to work with them a lot if possible. But it’s always exciting, actually, it’s the most exciting when you find somebody new you click with that has a great voice. I’m always looking for that.
Since we talked to you in the spring it seems like you’ve blown up even more. With how big of a year you’ve already had is there one event or place you’d still like to play that you didn’t get to this year?
I’d love to get into Europe more. I haven’t done that much stuff in Europe but the stuff I did do, I went to Prague, Italy, and Belgium this summer and it was amazing. I’d love to do more stuff over there. And I’m always looking forward to playing some more of the alternative festivals like Coachella and stuff where it’s a mix of electronic and live. Because the crowds there would maybe vibe with my sets. I always have the live singers thing, and I’ve started to incorporate live elements, so that’s kind of where I want to move.
Outside of the dance music scene who are the top 3 artists that have inspired you and that influence your sound?
Radiohead has always been a group that I listen to. I always love some of the people behind some of those Coldplay records like Jon Hopkins, I guess he is in the electronic scene, but some of his synthesis stuff is really amazing. Who else would be someone outside of the electronic music industry, I mean just singers that I love like Ashe and Delaney Jane. These amazing young vocalists that are coming up, they’re such good writers. I’ve been working with a whole bunch of writers in LA that have been amazing so yeah, that’s the most inspiring thing. Finding unknown singers and writers that are just so good, that I get to work with.
As a DJ that travels a lot, playing shows all around the globe, other than your DJ equipment (Headphones, Computer, USB Drives, etc…) what are some of your must-have items while traveling?
Noise canceling headphones. I bought a pair, the ones that go in your ears from Bose, and they’re a life saver. Every day you get up, you get in the car, you drive to the airport, you sit in the airport, and there’s always so much ambient noise, and you can’t get away from it. But you get these headphones and you can sleep, listen to music, I watch movies with them, it’s actually like you’re at home and they’re incredible.
In previous interviews, you gave us early hints at collaborations you had in the pipeline with artists like The Chainsmokers and Steve Aoki that turned out to be “Closer” and “Dope Girlz” respectively. Is there anything else you can hint at or let the fans know you have coming?
I have a bunch of my own material coming out. I have five singles I’ll be putting out in the first part of 2017. I’ve been working on a track with The Chainsmokers forever, it actually wasn’t “Closer” that I was talking about, there’s another actual collab. Because “Closer” wasn’t actually a collab, I just wrote that song with them. But there’s another track with them that we’re working on and I’m hoping to get that out in 2017. And I’m always talking to lots of different people but I’m really just focusing on my own stuff for the next year. Cause I did all those collabs, with Oliver Heldens, and the KSHMR collab, and “Closer.” I think 2017 is all about putting my own stuff out.
New Year’s events are always big for DJs and you haven’t been announced on a line up for one yet. Can you tell us where you’ll be welcoming 2017?
I don’t know where I’m going to be this year. I’m doing Contact festival, and Get Together in Edmonton. Contact is going to be sick, it’s with like Disclosure, and Zeds Dead, and Duke Dumont. So that’s going to be amazing. Then the next day I go to Get Together in Edmonton, it’s a lot of the same artists. So I go from Vancouver to Edmonton, which is dope, it’s not New Year’s it’s the 26th and 27th but it’s good to spend that time in Canada, where I’m from. And then we haven’t locked down exactly what I’m doing on New Year’s but there’s a lot of talking. I might go to Asia, I’m not sure exactly.
Earlier this you were on tour with SNBRN and Dr. Fresch with the New World Order but it’s been relatively quiet recently. Do you guys have any plans on reviving that and doing another tour or possibly some songs together?
We are, we’re doing the final show in New York in December at Webster Hall so look out for that one.
So we’re on Groove Cruise Cabo, and you never know what can happen while at sea. If you got stranded on a desert island, what 3 items would you bring with you and why?
I would have to bring… a boat no just kidding. I would definitely need some tunes so a laptop. I’d need some sort of sustainable greenhouse thing so I could like build my own ecosystem and food. And then I would need sustainable power so either solar or geothermal. So I’d have to create my own energy source, once I had my energy source, I’d need the laptop with a connection to satellite internet, and I’d need a greenhouse to build my ecosystem. And I could just live by myself like self-sustained.
Connect with Shaun Frank on Social Media:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | SoundCloud