Exclusive Interview: Shaun Frank, His Music Evolution and The Chainsmokers Tour
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Exclusive Interview: Shaun Frank, His Music Evolution and The Chainsmokers Tour

From singing in an alt-rock band to singing on his new dance track, Shaun Frank does it all.

Exclusive Interview: Shaun Frank, His Music Evolution and The Chainsmokers Tour
Shaun Frank Facebook Page

Shaun Frank recently wrapped up a massive 30+ date North American Tour with The Chainsmokers, released his first song featuring his own vocals and still has a packed festival schedule ahead of him. The Canadian DJ-songwriter-producer has been heating up the scene for a while, but originally started out as the singer of alternative rock band The Envy. Over the past few years, Shaun has racked up an impressive resume of collaborations, from Oliver Heldens, KSHMR, and DVBBS to The Chainsmokers, whom he co-wrote smash hit "Closer" with. Having just dropped two new catchy tracks "New Future" and "Upsidedown", Shaun sat down before his show at Marquee NYC to tell us why he feels more equipped than ever to do what he does best.

Welcome back to NYC! How have you been?

Great, we got in yesterday and did a whole bunch of stuff. I just dropped a new song called "Upsidedown" and we've in New York talking about it.

Have you played Marquee before?

I've played Webster Hall last time and Electric Zoo last summer and I'm doing it again in the fall. And it'll be my first Marquee show tonight.

How do you like the club scene in New York?

Well we're gonna find out! Webster Hall is more...grimy, which is good. So this will be more of a fancy club experience.

You just recently put out a new track “Upsidedown”. What was your creative process behind this song? Can we expect more of your vocals on new music?

It's the first song I've put out with my vocals on it and I've wanted to sing on a record for a long time, but none of them were really right. It's actually funny because I've gone on and sang on a few of records that I've put out and it wasn't right until this one. I kind of forgot that it's me singing on my record and there's no featuring. The response has been like, "go and sing on all the other records" I have another one done with my vocals on it -- a duo with Delaney Jane. We played it at EDC and that was fun.

Tell me about the tour you recently got off supporting The Chainsmokers.

They're the best. I did their tour last year and they were nice enough to bring me back this year. Those were some really big shows; it was my first time playing arenas. So many people and so much energy. Huge rooms too, like some people are so far back. Spending time with those guys is awesome, they're great dudes.

Most memorable show?

Chicago was really memorable, it was the biggest one I got to do and that city just has a lot of energy for what I do. A lot of my fans came out to that show and me and Alex from Chainsmokers did an afterparty for that show.

Do you find certain cities have more fans?

I've played Chicago before I guess. There were some new cities for me too. I haven't really played Detroit and that was my first time in Cleveland and Cincinnati.

Between all the different types of shows, what do you prefer more?

I'm a big fan of the summer festivals and I have a bunch coming up. Once festival season is over, it's fun to do a winter tour and play all the clubs.

How have you found your musical style evolving over the years?

I made a lot of house music when I started and it's kind of how I learned to make electronic music. "Upsidedown" was definitely a different track for me -- it's a lot slower, but it's reminding me that my favorite part of this all is the songwriting and I just like to write a song and whatever the production ends up being, it ends up being. Me and this girl Joni Fatora wrote it together with Whethan and then it just came out this way. That's my favorite way of doing it, just letting the song be what it wants to be.

Like no genre boundaries?

There's definitely signatures in my sound with the vocals and the way I do that, but there's no rules.

So you started off singing. What was the motivation behind you going from being the vocalist to the actual songwriter?

I realized that I love producing music and I wanted to have my own songs. I knew that as a vocalist I would only be featured on other people's songs and that the way for me to have my own songs and my own touring was to become a DJ so that's why I did it. I've been producing for a lot of other people before I started to do my own stuff. It just seemed like the right move. It's been a long process to get to where we are now -- getting a song out with my vocals on it.

It's gotten to that point now.

Yeah, and I feel like I can do it now, it's weird. I couldn't do it before, but now
I can.

You’ve been actively creating in the music scene since you were young…what were some of your earliest exposures to music?

My dad always had The Beatles on, Paul Simon, Tom Petty, Bob Marley. I was a big hippie, my parents went to Woodstock. I always grew up with really catchy songs and that's why when I started, it was always about the song and the story. I listen to all that stuff continuously even after my parents stopped. I got into classic rock like Led Zeppelin. And then I went through the punk rock phase and I was into My Chemical Romance and The Used and Taking Back Sunday. I was in bands that did that kind of stuff. A weird evolution if you think about all the stuff I've listened to.

Being open is key.

Being open to songs and stories and different ways of representing stories. It's funny that everything is coming back to live-sounding music.

Out of all the artists/producers/singers that you’ve worked with, who do you think you have the most compatibility and chemistry with?

Probably KSHMR. When we made that record "Heaven", it was like the most natural collaboration ever. I mean, when me and Drew wrote "Closer", that was very smooth and we had lots of chemistry. We talked about how we loved Taking Back Sunday and that's how the song grew. We felt it was a modern version of that kind of stuff. But yeah, that record with KSHMR was fast. Me and Delaney wrote that vocal and then KSHMR came up with the drop. After he sent the drop idea, we wrapped it up in a couple of days. It's funny because "The Shades of Grey" with Oliver Heldens took so long. It took like 17 rewrites.

Life motto?

Never give up.

What are your 3 essentials to have while on tour?

Internet, tequila and steak.

In a 60 minute DJ set, what’s your favorite interval to play?

First 3 minutes is so amazing. And then, there's definitely like a point in the middle where you catch your stride with the crowd and you got it figured out. And if it's a mid-day festival...the end is pretty delirious, but the middle is a good point.

If you were a festival-goer, what would your totem be?

Probably the new hotdog dude on Snapchat. I'm actually all about that dude, I'm kind of obsessed.

3 songs that you're bumping.

"Redbone". I'm still listening to "Shelter"! And "Upside-down!" [Laughs]. Let me think of a 3rd. That new Jay-Z record with Damian Marley, "Bam".

What are you looking forward to most in the coming months?

Shambala. I'm going to do a completely different set. I've built a framework for my sets, but I want to break my framework for Shamble and do something unique.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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