Interview: Five Minutes with Shaun Frank
Multi-platinum status DJ and producer Shaun Frank has just dropped his latest offering titled ‘On Your Mind’ via Physical Presents. The charming vocals of Alicia Moffet are featured in this emotionally confessional dance track. Shaun assisted with the writing and composition of The Chainsmokers track titled ‘Closer’, which reached number 1 on the Billboard chart and is recorded on Billboards 13th biggest hit of all time list. The song has also received diamond certification. Shaun was nominated at the Junos for “Dance Recording of the Year”. He has released music with the world-acclaimed Steve Aoki, as well as Oliver Heldens, DVBBS, KSHMR, Digital Farm Animals and Dragonette. The DJ has released official remixes for industry giants, The Chainsmokers, as well as Duke Dumont, & Louis The Child.
We find out more about this music hit-maker in this exclusive.
Set the tone for us. Why the arts?
My parents had me in music classes from 4 years old. Growing up it was always music, a lot of my extended family were also in the arts. For as long as I can remember, I just wanted to make music and perform it on stage. I feel blessed that I’ve gotten to do this.
Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?
It’s always different, but I generally get in the room alone, or with another musician and just play around with my array of synths and drum machines, until something sparks a feeling. I think my strength is being reactive and identifying when something is dope, and then steering it in the right direction.
Does your material feature any collaborations?
I’m a big fan of collaborating, I think my best work is done when I work with other talented people. My earliest success in dance music came from collaborating with artists like The Chainsmokers, Oliver Heldens, Kshmr, Dvbbs, etc.
What’s on your current playlist?
Listening to a lot of Rufus Du Sol these days.
Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.
The dance floor is my biggest inspiration. The energy from the fans can make the feelings of a brutal travel day not even matter. Touring is a gruelling and exhausting experience but with amazing fans and support for that ninety-minute set every night, it’s all worth it.
What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?
Lately, I’ve been getting really into Modular synthesis. It really lets you break the rules. It also spits out random things as you patch it, and for that reason, it’s almost like having an artificial collaborator.
Take us through a day in the recording studio.
Usually, starting my day in the studio after going to the gym, so my mind is clear. I generally start with Mix tweaking, because first thing in the day is when your ears are the most tuned and accurate. I do most of my deep creating late in the day going into the late hours of the night.
Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?
Pretty much always, I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t trying to do this
What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?
The clock! I really wanna make my sets an experience that has a beginning, middle, and end, so I’m super conscious of where I’m at time-wise. Also tequila.
Any emerging artists on your radar?
Delaney Jane’s new album is unreal, and I hope everyone goes and listens to it! Also, Grabbitz is a force to be reckoned with.
What gets your creative juices flowing?
Being around other dope musicians.
Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.
I produce all my stuff in Ableton and track vocals in Pro-tools, but the real magic to my setup is my collection of Synths, Modular and Drum Machines. My whole studio is Midi sync’d, so when you hit play, every synth and drum machine is linked in tempo. Love my Elekotron Analog Rytm, and Roland TR8-s for Drums. I generally run them through the Elektron Analog Heat for overdrive and extra vibe. My Juno 106 and DSI pro 2 are secret weapons of mine. I also have an Alesis Andromeda from the 90s, which is incredible. My modular rig is too big to even describe but it’s very weird and wonderful, and I love it.
Any side projects you’re working on?
Always, I actually have a cool project that I’m singing on every song..kinda sounds like something between Rufus Du Sol and Bob Moses…haven’t figured out when or how to release it.
How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?
I think it’s just a natural progression of keeping up with how the industry is changing. I’ve learned to let go…we’re in an era where quantity is almost as important as quality…which I don’t fully subscribe to…but I’m aware of this and definitely pick my battles.
Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?
I have many collaborations in the work from Tiesto to R3Hab, to more of my own underground sounding records. I’m working on a follow up to my Activ8 EP, which I’m really excited about.
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