Shaun Frank Joins the Dim Mak Crew

July 23, 2014 Tim Gauthier Interviews

uberjakd logo colorWe could not be more excited to welcome Shaun Frank to the Dim Mak team! The Toronto-based producer first caught our ears with his fine-tuned vocals on tracks like “We Are”, then later captured our hearts with his studio skills and solid mixing chops. Having already remixed and covered a bevy of artists including Coldplay, Avicii, Lorde, John Newman and The Neighbourhood, Shaun’s plunging into the world of original productions and we’re stoked to have one of his first with “Vagabond.” 

Shaun Frank’s collaboration with Vanrip “Vagabond” will be out on Dim Mak Records on August 5.

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1. WELCOME TO DIM MAK, SHAUN! WE’VE BEEN FOLLOWING YOUR RELEASES FOR THE PAST FEW YEARS AND ARE THRILLED TO HAVE YOU. WHAT PART OF JOINING THE DIM MAK TEAM ARE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT?

Thanks for having me! Dim Mak has such a great roster of artists, including a lot of great Canadian artists like Felix Cartal, Botnek, Autoerotique and Keys N Krates. This label has broken so many new artists, and I’m really looking forward to working with the team on my upcoming singles to really get my music heard on the world stage. We have some really exciting and creative ideas, and so far the label has really been on the same page as me with everything I want to do musically. I can’t see a better fitting label to be working with for where I’m currently at in my career. 

2. YOU’RE MAKING YOUR DIM MAK DEBUT WITH “VAGABOND,” YOUR COLLABORATION WITH VANRIP. TELL ME A LITTLE ABOUT HOW THE TRACK CAME TOGETHER AND WHY YOU CHOSE TO WORK WITH VANRIP ON YOUR FIRST EVER ORIGINAL COLLABORATION.

This track came in as a demo to my manager. The Vanrip guys had a drop written that I really thought would kill on the dance floor, so I took the ideas and worked out the track around that drop. I wanted to get really cinematic with the breakdown, so I did a lot of epic sounding tribal drum stuff and wrote chords that I thought would compliment the track. I’m pretty pumped about this one – I’ve been playing it out live and it’s been crushing. It was really a pleasure to debut this track with Steve Aoki at the Dim Mak Beach Party at WMC this year.

3. YOUR CAREER BEGAN AS A LEAD SINGER OF TORONTO ROCK BAND THE ENVY. HOW HAS THAT EXPERIENCE PLAYED INTO YOUR PERFORMANCE TECHNIQUES WHEN DJING?

I think being the lead singer in a band for so many years and being on stage constantly has just really helped my overall confidence when DJing. I mean, there’s the technical side of the whole thing, but I think the most important thing is giving the crowd a super hyped up and emotional experience. It’s what I always strived to do in my band, and now with DJing it’s even more fun to push the limits. 

4. I KNOW YOU BROKE INTO DANCE MUSIC BY PROVIDING VOCALS FOR ELECTRONIC TRACKS LIKE “WE ARE” ON ARMADA MUSIC, BUT AT WHAT MOMENT DID YOU REALIZE YOU WANTED TO TAKE YOUR CAREER IN A MORE PRODUCER/DJ DIRECTION?

The truth is I have always been producing music, and have always spent most of my time in the studio. Before I was even singing on dance tracks, I was doing a lot of writing and producing for other artists. I’ve spent a lot of time in Los Angeles, New York and Nashville just writing songs and building up my catalogue. Armada reached out to me because they heard my work on an Arty demo, and I sang the “We Are” track, which was kind of my entry into doing this thing as my own project. That was a pretty exciting time because the concept of being a solo artist was never really something I had considered, but then I looked at the catalogue of songs I had, and combined with my love for electronic music, I kind of just dove in.

5. AS BOTH A VOCALIST AND PRODUCER, YOU’RE KNOWN FOR SPICING UP YOUR LIVE SETS BY SINGING AND SPINNING SIMULTANEOUSLY. DO YOU HAVE ANY PLANS FOR PROVIDING VOCALS ON YOUR OWN ORIGINAL WORKS, SIMILAR TO CALVIN HARRIS’ RECENT RELEASE “SUMMER?”

Absolutely! There are already some unreleased tracks with my voice on them. I’m also doing a series of club covers where I take a song that you normally wouldn’t hear in the club and redo it with my own vocals. We released the first one for The Neighbourhood called “Sweater Weather” six months ago, and we got a lot of great support from it. The latest was for Coldplay’s “Magic,” and we are working on a new one that’s almost done as we speak. They’re all for free download on my Soundcloud.

6. COMING FROM YOUR LIVE PERFORMANCE BACKGROUND, DO YOU PREFER DJING OVER PRODUCING? OR DO YOU TRY TO FIND A HAPPY MEDIUM BETWEEN BOTH?

I get a little restless if I’m stuck in the studio for too long. My favorite place to be is on stage, it’s truly where I feel at home. Having said that, I think being in the studio is a good way for me to stay grounded, and stay in some kind of a reality. The road is a very surreal place and you lose yourself a bit out there, so sometimes it’s really nice to just get back home and make music again. I kind of feel like the shows are the rewards for all the hard work I put into the studio.

7. YOU’VE ALREADY REMIXED TRACKS FROM VARIOUS INDUSTRY HEAVY-HITTERS INCLUDING AVICII, LORDE AND MARTIN GARRIX. IS THERE ANYONE ON THE DIM MAK TEAM YOU’RE EYEING TO REWORK?

I love the vocals on a lot of the Keys N Krates stuff, I think it would be super fun to mess around with that stuff in my style. I’ve also always been a huge fan of what Botnek does – I think they’ve been one of the most underrated producer teams to date and I’m super happy they’re blowing up right now. I’d love to mess around with their sounds as well.

8. BETWEEN YOUR REMIXES, ORIGINAL WORKS AND VOCALS, YOU’VE DABBLED ACROSS GENRES AND STYLES. DO YOU SEE YOURSELF HEADING IN A MORE SPECIFIC DIRECTION WITH YOUR UPCOMING RELEASES OR CONTINUING TO KEEP YOUR OUTPUTS DIVERSIFIED?

I don’t really think about it too much. I really love so many genres of music, and when I go into the studio or grab my laptop to create something I just go with what comes out. I think I would get really bored if I made too much of the same thing – being free to do whatever I want is what really keeps me inspired. Lately I’ve been writing my tracks on this old broken grand piano I have at my place. I find that if I write the whole song before I even touch the computer, I can really get to the essence of the music without getting bogged down in the technical stuff.

8. WHAT’S NEXT FOR SHAUN FRANK?

Well… “Vagabond” is the beginning of me releasing my own tracks as Shaun Frank, so it’s pretty exciting. I’ve done remixes and club covers so far, but now I finally get to start releasing my own solo work. I’ve got a bunch of tracks that I’m really excited about, and some really great collaborations coming up that I can’t really talk about but they’re going to be really sick. It’s going to be a super fun 2015 – I’ve never felt so on top of my game as I do right now.

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