Just when we thought Bestival couldn’t get any better, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Vancouver artist Shaun Frank for a chat. Frank is one of the most promising up and coming electronic artists coming out from the West Coast and if his music is not enough to make you a fan, then his personality will win you over. Shaun chatted with us about playing at Bestival, his upcoming projects, and the moment he knew that his career was about to be huge.
Jackie Willson: How are you feeling about your set?
Shaun Frank: I had a wicked time! It’s always fun to play in my home town, especially when it’s a festival this cool. I think everyone involved did a great job for bringing Bestival to Canada for its first time.
JW: I’ve read that electronic music is something that found you in Bali, during a tour. Looking past that though, when did you first get into music?
SF: I mean, I’ve been playing music since I was 5. My parents had me on piano at a really young age, and it’s something that’s always been the main focus of my life. I played in bands for a few years and one of my tours took me to Asia, where I experienced my first full moon party…that’s kinda where I fell in love with dance music and decided I wanted to start producing it.
JW: You joined Dim Mak last year, how has it been working with them?
SF: The Dim Mak team is awesome, and so supportive. Aoki is such a homie, and has had my back every step of the way.
JW: How has working with Keys N Krates been? Do you know the guys well?
SF: I’ve always been a fan, what they do is really cool and different from what you normally see. When I was young, it was cool to see how bands perform like that, and their fans are crazy. I did one show with those guys a few months ago. I’m a big fan…coming from playing in bands, I obviously really respect their take on dance music, and how they perform everything live.
JW: You have done quite a few remixes, is your focus shifting to mostly original productions or is it a bit of both?
SF: A little bit of both. I am kind of switching to what I really love, I want to do these songs justice. I don’t love remixing songs that I love, definitely my focus is collaborating. I’ve got a song with Cashmere coming up, very exciting.
JW: What do you think of the collaboration with Cashmere, are you a fan?
SF: Definitely my favourite song that I have ever done. That guy is SO talented. We just really connected, I was in L.A. for like five minutes, I went to his house, I got like 20 minutes, and he said come over, and we chatted about music. I came in, we got this idea, I quickly sang it, it’s actually a track by Billy Jayne.
JW: Did you have the idea before you went in?
SF: Yeah, I had the vocal and the chords, and I went in and he had this cool idea for the drop and I did my thing. It was sick.
JW: When is that coming out?
SF: I have no idea, but it shouldn’t be too long. I hope really soon.
JW: Will you eventually move somewhere like L.A. or NYC, closer to the heavy hitters in the industry?
SF: I want to spend time in L.A. There’s a lot of producers I want to work with. I do love this city though; the music scene here is one of the best music scenes that I’ve experienced.
JW: Why is that? What do you really like about the music scene in Toronto?
SF: I don’t know, I’ve done L.A. and I’ve been to Miami and Boston. The music here is great. I don’t know if they are so supportive because I am from Canada or the music is just better. I think it is a very educated crowd. You can veer off and play some more obscure stuff and they respect you for it and actually enjoy it more, which I love because it gives you a chance to be more creative. I think a lot of it has to do with the government support as well.
JW: What would you say a highlight of your career as a producer has been so far?
SF: The highlight of my career was probably watching a video of Oliver Heldens dropping “Shades of Grey” on the stage at Coachella, and being like “Wow, I made that song,” you know, I recorded that vocal in my studio here in Toronto and now I’m hearing it at Coachella. Watching the crowd sing it back even though it’s not even out yet, that was phenomenal, that was huge. The label called and was like “We’re getting this song out,” and now it’s coming out on June 22nd.
We can’t wait to touch base with Shaun again and hear what is next for him. Stay tuned fans.
photos by Erik Shaw