From lead singer of a rock band to internationally known DJ, Shaun Frank has seen many sides within the music industry. On Friday, June 12th , after his set at Toronto’s first ever Bestival, I had the chance to sit down and talk to Shaun about summer music festivals as well as his career thus far.
Our readers at the XTRA Mile love finding new artists. Why do you think our readers should listen to your music?
Well they don’t have too, but I try to bring a different spin to house music, kind of bringing in a more song writing approach to it. If you’re a fan of vocals and lyrics that you can get into and relate to then maybe I’m your guy.
How did you make the transition from lead singer of a rock band to now a DJ?
Well I was actually touring with my band that I was in before The Envy and I went to a lot of full moon parties, that’s where I really fell in love with house music and I started making it like years ago on my laptop just for me cause I always loved it. I knew it would kind of take me away from the stuff I did with the band. It allowed me to think about music differently and then I started singing on dance tracks, that’s how I got started. Armin Van Buuren reached out and asked for a vocal for one of his artists on Armada Records, I did it and then that kind of spun into more things. I was then like wow I should probably put my productions out and that kind of lead me here.
With that being said, besides the obvious differences, what would you say is the main difference between the two worlds?
There is a lot more love in this world. The Festivals just have more energy; it’s very refreshing for me. The rock thing was really great, I just kind of out grew it a little bit and this is like a very big breath of fresh air. It’s all about the music, people just come to have a good time and you know just get into the vibe and I like being the sound track to that.
Speaking of festivals, if you could play any festival around the world, which one would that be?
Well I was at Ultra this year, didn’t play it though. I did play a lot of the pool parties and stuff. Next year I really hoping I have a chance to play on a stage at Ultra.
Music festivals aside where in the world would you like to play?
I would really love to play Holland, Germany or the UK where a lot of this stuff originated. That would be really cool for me to get to play over there.
So you like you were saying it’s the love that brings you to music festival like that, correct?
Yeah the love is awesome and then hearing sing your songs back to you is such a gift. This Festival, Bestival is a great festival, this is unreal you get to see a bunch of different acts, it’s great.
Throughout you’re musical career you have played all over the world. Where would you say is you’re favourite place to play?
Like honestly Toronto, as a DJ Toronto has been the best scene. We have the best dance music scene in the world so far that I have seen. It’s so educated, they let you take risks and it must have something to do with government and having great promoters like Embrace that bring amazing talent to Toronto each week. The Hoxton has been like a home to me; definitely playing here in Toronto is the best. Some of the best nights of me life have been going back to back with some DJ (whoever else is playing) at that venue.
Now I listened to your new single “Time” and I really enjoyed it. Now where did the concept/ inspiration come from for that song?
Every track is different, but that track specifically came from just a vocal chop thing that I was doing in the studio and I was just messing around with the vocals and these chords. The vocal chop kind of sounded like the vocals we ended up recording. So I was like ah I wondering if I could take that vocal chop. I actually did that in another song called “This could be love” where I took this vocal chop and I rewrote a vocal that kind of sounded like the vocal chop. I know it’s all kind of nerdy but that’s how it came to be. I had these really nice chords; the vocals and I just wanted to do something cool and just kind of legit. It came out on Size Steve Angello’s label and then a week later I played with him in Atlanta. That’s a cool piece and I’m really proud of that one
I’m from The XTRA Mile and every writer on our site goes the XTRA Mile for everything we cover; now how does Shaun Frank go the XTRA Mile?
When it comes to my music I am very particular on what I put out and I just never give up. If I have a song where I know it could be better I don’t put it out until it’s perfect. I’m a perfectionist and I think that’s the key to art. Sometimes you can’t get it there but you gotta at least try.
What can people expect from you in the near or far future?
I have a couple cool collaborations coming out. There’s one with Oliver Heldens coming out June 22nd called “Shades of Gray”. I also have one with cashmere coming out and a cool collab with Sam Feldt coming out. And I have some originals that I’m really really excited about.
Listen to Shaun Frank’s “Time” below!