How Shaun Frank Found EDM Clarity Through His Relationship With Gene Simmons
To dig into Shaun Franks past,
you’ll first have to go through his rock band’s archives
where you’ll find a history of world tours,
intimate vlogs, KISS concerts,
and a personal relationship with Gene Simmons.
Shaun Frank was the lead singer of The Envy, the band in which he showcased his talents as a musician. In a sit down post-show meal I recently had with the superstar DJ, he revealed that the creation of the band’s music started with him producing poor quality electronic versions of how he wanted the songs to sound like.
From these demos, he would isolate the individual role for the drums, guitar, bass, and one for the keyboard. The other members of The Envy would learn their respective parts and bring it all back together to form a polished track.
That’s the story of the hit maker, Shaun Frank. The End.
There’s waaaaaayyyy more than that!
The Envy had musical flare and skill, which was extremely appealing to fans. One listener, Mark Spicoluk, a Universal Records A&R agent, sent a demo of the band’s music to legendary rock star, Gene Simmons. This was early 2010 and Simmons had just launched his own music label, Simmons Records, a subsidiary of Universal Records. The Envy was instantly contacted and within 2 weeks they became the first band signed to the new label. Simmons says, “He saw them live and connected with them emotionally.”
Watch this recap of Shaun Frank with The Envy & Gene Simmons
The Envy went on to open for the 2010 KISS North American Tour, ‘Hottest Show on Earth.’ During that year, Frank posted personal videos on The Envy’s YouTube channel, Common Sense, of he and the band sharing moments speaking to Simmons on the phone, visiting Simmons and wife, Shannon Tweed, at their LA home, and performing live during the tour. Frank even appeared on national television alongside Simmons for the FOX BUSINESS segment, ‘Gene Simmons’ Tips For Success,’ and for a segment on ‘FOX & Friends.’ The pair promoted The Envy, the KISS tour, and their opinions on how to succeed in the music industry.
But with extreme highs, come extreme lows. During my conversation with Frank, he described the controversy that brewed between him and Simmons during the time they worked together. They weren’t seeing eye to eye on many aspects including the marketing of The Envy. Simmons Records hadn’t released any of the band’s music, with exception to a sample pack, and they weren’t generating any money. When I dove back into history of The Envy, I found a letter from The Envy written to fans, posted February 14, 2013, expressing some of their disappointments:
We love each and every person that we work with. The flaws in this business aren’t with the people, but the system in which music is released through Major Record Companies. We have nothing but love and respect for Gene Simmons, who has been the rock we could count on throughout this process.
Within the first six months, we turned in 12 new song ideas. Nothing happened…. Within the next 6 months, 12-15 more. Each time we turned in a track, we became more and more confused and frustrated as to why we would get no response. Through all of the miscommunications, market research strategies and plain old misunderstandings, we weren’t able to get the Label to release our music.
We never should have relinquished the power over our own art. We should never have expected anyone, no matter how powerful, to be able to make our career ‘happen’ for us.
When I asked Frank how he went from touring with KISS to EDM producer and DJ, he expressed the frustrations with Simmons and how he was, “Set in his ways.” His music wasn’t making any progress with the label and he was broke. It was during that time that he was sought out for his voice. People were interested in paying him to sing on their records, one of them being Spanish DJ, Marien Baker. Frank has always had an interest in house music and agreed to contribute the vocals for, “Live Forever,” which was released towards the end of 2013.
The single was a hit overseas and Frank toured with Marien Baker in Europe. When he returned home to Toronto he decided to focus his creative efforts into the production process he originally created for The Envy’s music.
Frank had also toured the world with his band, separately from KISS. He took his international experience from that, the knowledge from working with Simmons, his new attraction for the dance music scene, as well as his own opinions on how to connect with the future generation of music listeners, and applied that to producing electronic music.
Transitioning from lead singer in a rock band to a solo career as an EDM hit-maker hasn’t been an easy journey for Frank; though he is sincerely grateful for all of his past opportunities because they have turned into life lessons. Frank has since produced a mix of house genres, collaborating with the likes of Steve Aoki, DVBBS, Oliver Heldens, SNBRN, Borgeous, and KSHMR.
In addition to producing, he is a published song writer. The Chainsmokers were just nominated for a 2017 Grammy under the Best Pop Duo/Group Performance Category for “Closer” feat Halsey, which Frank co-wrote the lyrics to!
I spent a few hours in Orlando with Shaun Frank. Not only had we discussed his musical path, we also shot a video earlier of us going on the worlds largest, tallest Slingshot ride. I then attended his gig at GILT Nightclub, where he entertained a packed venue with hits like, “Let You Get Away” featuring Ashe, “LA LA LAND,” featuring Delaney Jane and, “The New Order.”
After he took pictures with fans, our group made a quick stop at his hotel and headed out to grab some late night eats. Over sandwiches at a unique deli and tea café, Frank also provided me with some time to ask him a few random questions I was curious about.
Shaun Frank Q & A
What is your favorite curse word?
I don’t know if I have a favorite but I say “Fuck” the most. I wish I used “Bullocks” more often.
Do you bring anything with you when touring that provides you a sense of comfort?
I don’t really have anything now that I bring on tour that gives me that feeling, but I get the most comfort from being on my laptop. I just moved to LA so everything I own is basically still in boxes.
What are you going to do to make your new place feel like home?
When I get home I’m going to do laundry. Lay in my bed. Probably going to sit on the couch and watch Westworld on HBO.
Going into the studio will also feel like home.
Tell me about your fashions. Every time I see you, you have on a new pair of shoes and a new outfit. How do you select pieces for your wardrobe?
I get a lot of stuff from Ampersand & Co. The guy there always emails me when they get new clothes in; it’s kind of like having a stylist.
If you’ve raged to one of Shaun Frank’s tracks, you already know this dude is major. There’s so many moving parts going on in his world; there’s lots of future projects and ideas that we’ll see come to light in 2017. Definitely stay tuned for more greatness, because what’s to come from Shaun Frank will be more thrilling than the Slingshot ride we went on!
Article written by: A. Re
Tags 2010 KISS North American TourA. ReAlex PallASHEborgeouscloserDelaney JaneDJ ChallengeDrew TaggartDVBBSEuropeFox & FriendsFox BusinessGene SimmonsGetaway TourGilt NightclubGrammyhalseyHottest Show on EarthInterviewKISSKSHMRLa La LandLet You Get AwayLive ForeverMarien BakerOliver HeldensOrlandoShaun FrankSimmons RecordsSlingshotSNBRNSteve Aokithe chainsmokersThe EnvyThe New OrderTorontoUniversal Records