Shaun, unlike a lot of artists who start producing music on their laptops, you come from a song writing background. How has that helped you?
Shaun Frank: How you create your music is what gives you your own unique style at the end of the day. I do remixes and club mixes, but I always try to take a song writing approach to things. It definitely gives us an advantage. A lot of the collaborations that launched our careers all started with a great song. So in that way, it’s helped. If we had just been beat makers, I don’t know if any of that would have happened. We’re always able to come to the table with something that Delaney and I wrote together, and that’s what makes these artists so excited to work with us.
How would you classify your sound at the moment?
Shaun Frank: It always starts with the song. I don’t really care about the style or BPM, or whether a DJ will play it or the radio will play it. The content of the song just needs to be good. I want people to sing along. I definitely fell in love with house music at a young age, but I just want to write great songs with great lyrics.
I don’t really care if it’s a club track or just a track you listen to at home. When I was growing up, 99% of my music listening was done while lying on the floor of my jam space in the basement with headphones on. I want people to be able to enjoy my music like that, and enjoy it in the club setting. So maybe I’ll have to do a remix that makes the track more club ready once in a while. But what’s more important to me is that you can listen to this stuff at home with friends, or over dinner or in the car etc.
How did you get involved in EDM Delaney? Was it always the genre of music you wanted to work in?
Delaney Jane: I actually started singing and writing songs with my acoustic guitar. When I moved to Toronto from Waterloo though I moved next to Shaun. Within a few months Shaun and I were sitting down at the piano. I sang something I had written, he put some chords together for it and it sounded really good. And then after a few more months I had written my first track for Lush & Simon.
I remember being at school and I got a text from Shaun saying the song had been signed to Spinnin’ Records, and I didn’t even know what Spinnin’ Records was back then. It’s crazy how much I’ve learned since that happened. That was definitely my entry into the EDM world though.
And why do you keep coming back to EDM?
Delaney Jane: It’s just so in reach. I feel like it would be bizarre now to go back to my acoustic roots. Plus, we’ve got a lot of momentum building now, and we have a pretty large fanbase. I really love the energy, too. I love being on stage with that energy. It keeps pushing me.
Shaun Frank: She has her own project going on as well, too.
Delaney Jane: Yup, I’m working on a solo record. I’ve got most of the songs written and we’ve laid down the first track. It’s like chill future bass-y. Really feels-y. Shaun is helping produce it.
When you lend your vocals to a track Delaney, do you have any restrictions in regards to what the producers can do with it?
Delaney Jane: I’ve definitely recorded top lines, sent them off to DJs, gotten the track back to approve it and have had a lot of problems. Either too many effects, too compressed etc. Typically, I’m not a huge fan of pitching my voice up. Shaun likes it though.
Shaun Frank: I’m a big fan of Galantis and what they do with vocals, so I’ve been messing around with those techniques. But on “Heaven” we had such an organic vocal. It was just Delaney’s real voice and it just sounded so good and people loved it. It really touched people. It’s emotional, it doesn’t sound robotic or auto tune at all.
Delaney Jane: I hate when people blast the auto tune. I want to sound real, I’m not a robot.
Being from Canada, have you found it more difficult to break into the EDM scene?
Shaun Frank: I think for anyone it’s just a hurdle to break out of your hometown. It’s all about the music though. And using the internet to build something for yourself. For me though, my first few shows outside of Toronto were awful. I’d go to the club and play and no one would show up. It quickly changed, thankfully. But at the start I had some bad shows.
Things really started to change with “Shades of Grey,” and then “Heaven” was just the icing on the cake. It was more of a “this is who I am” type of track, for both of us. That’s when things started taking off really quickly.
When you two sit down to write a song together, what’s the process like?
Shaun Frank: We generally start on the piano. Sometimes I’ll just start playing chords and she’ll start singing and we vibe off each other and find something. And sometimes we’ll use poems Delaney writes as the basis. Other times when I’m on the road or in the studio I’ll write a basic chord progression with a drum beat underneath it, and we’ll take that to the piano.
Delaney Jane: For “Shades,” the whole process took us about 7 hours, in one evening.
Shaun Frank: Yah that was quick. And our upcoming track “La La Land,” I think we wrote that in 20 minutes. We had one part from a beat in the studio and that was months ago, and then the rest of it just came together really quick.
What advice would you give to aspiring young artists?
Shaun Frank: Just be yourself. Do you. The only way you’ll get noticed is by doing you. The copycats get a bit of notoriety but they disappear quickly. It’s best to just be genuine. And make music part of your life. You’ve got to focus 100% on it. And focus on finding something that’s you, from the beginning.
Delaney Jane: What I’ve noticed more and more lately as I progress through my career is that it’s helped me to listen to music I love, and figure out why I love it so much. And as Shaun said, find your own voice and write about things that are the most real for you. And you also need to network, put yourself out there and take risks. It’s scary, but you have to do it. Treat people with respect, too. Be genuine, be yourself.
Aside from the DVBBS collaboration, “La La Land,” which is coming out March 24th, what other new music do you have coming up?
Delaney Jane: My first single will be coming in May I think. I’m working really hard on my EP right now, so that’s what I’m focused on.
Shaun Frank: I’ve got a track with The Chainsmokers coming soon. No date yet, but it’s coming. And I have a song with Steve Aoki as well coming in May. Plus I’ve got some solo stuff, too.
That concludes our interview, but we’d like to thank both Shaun and Delaney very much for their time! For more info on both artists, be sure to check out Shaun’s Facebook, SoundCloud and Twitter, as well as Delaney’s Facebook, SoundCloud and Twitter.