[INTERVIEW] SHAUN Reflects on His North American Tour, Recent Collaborations, and Future Goals

Popular Korean DJ and producer, SHAUN, embarked on his first-ever North American tour in April 2023, visiting nine major cities across the U.S. and Canada over the span of eleven days. Supported by Unbound Entertainment Group and Modo Live, the On The Road whirlwind tour delivered a much-anticipated live experience to his dedicated fans at every stop.

SHAUN’s musical career began in 2009 as a keyboardist for the K-Indie band, The Koxx, but he is best known for his 2018 hit song “Way Back Home” which quickly went viral across social media. SHAUN garnered a large international audience after releasing a remixed version of the song with Sam Feldt and Conor Maynard, making him one of Spotify’s Top 10 most-streamed K-Pop artists in 2019 and 2020. In 2022 he released two singles – “For You” and “So Right (feat. Yuna)– as well as his two-part EP series, Omnibus Pt. 1: Kaleidoscope, and Omnibus, Pt. 2: Inside Out. Over the years, SHAUN has also produced music for some of the biggest names in K-Pop, such as Girls’ Generation, EXO, SHINee, BoA, and Epik High.

Kpopconcerts.com caught up with the singer-songwriter a few days after the final show in Chicago to hear more about his experience. Sipping an iced coffee and comfortably switching between English and Korean, SHAUN spoke candidly over Zoom about his first North American tour, recent collaborations, and what fans can look forward to in the future.

KPC: SHAUN, thank you for chatting with Kpopconcerts.com today. I’ll start by saying congratulations on your first North American tour – fans were thrilled that you were able to come here! You recently wrapped up your last show in Chicago, how do you feel about completing this tour?

SHAUN: Gosh, that schedule was so tight, and we’ve been through nine shows in eleven days. It was pretty crazy, right? (laughs)

KPC: Definitely sounds like a tough schedule!

SHAUN: It was so tight. I was so tired all the time, but I was also so happy. I met many fans at the concert halls, and they showed me how much they love my music. I was surprised at how they could sing all my songs. Yeah… they touched my heart, and I was really happy about that.

KPC: It’s wonderful to hear that fans were so engaged during your shows! Were there any cities you visited during this tour that you’ve never been to before? Which stop was your favorite?

SHAUN: Well, I visited L.A. two years ago, so L.A. was really familiar to me. San Francisco had pretty crazy energy, but the city was beautiful and all the designs in the [city and] buildings were beautiful. The weather was also beautiful! Then I went to Canada – Vancouver. Oh man, Vancouver was the craziest crowd I’ve ever seen! (laughs) The weather was a little rainy, but I loved the atmosphere and scenery of the city. 

And my favorite, hmm… well the best, craziest, loudest scream was in Montreal, I think. Yeah, Montreal was pretty crazy. Everyone sang my songs, and I really loved it. Every city was amazing though – they all had great energy!

KPC: It’s too hard to choose just one – that’s understandable! When you’re putting together the setlist for a show, how do you usually decide which songs to include? Is it fan favorites, or do you determine a theme and then choose songs that relate to it?

SHAUN: So, every time I come up with a setlist, I imagine myself in the crowd – how it’s going to feel as an audience member watching the live show. And I consider all the ingredients and layers of that setlist – where to put the materials in between, and how I’m going to structure the whole hour or two. I am the type of person who plans the setlist very strategically. For this show, I wanted everything to flow very naturally and make the audience feel like they’re going on a journey.

When I previously worked with SM Entertainment and other idols, before promoting as “SHAUN,” my job was to create transitions between songs in a setlist, create the background music for videos that would be used in concerts, and just increase the overall quality of the show. I do my best to apply those skills to my own shows so that I can create a production that is up to my own standards and is easy to follow for the audience. I think that creating a fluid setlist is one of my strengths, so it was not a big obstacle for me when preparing for this tour.

KPC: Were there major challenges or differences during this tour that you’ve never faced when performing in Korea or at a music festival?
: In Korea everything is familiar – what I eat, what the weather is like, the overall atmosphere. Things are already familiar to me because I live there, so it’s hard to pinpoint things that feel “unique” about performing in Korea. But for this North American tour, it’s been four years since the release of “Way Back Home,” so I feel like I am in a completely new and unfamiliar environment, performing for a totally different audience. And to see this audience sing along to my songs and enjoy my music – it all just felt exciting and unique to me. Every second that I spent on stage brought me happiness. It made me want to come back and perform my music here again, soon.

KPC: That sounds great, fans would love for you to return! So, you recently worked together with Crash Adams on a remix of “Give Me a Kiss.” How did this collaboration come about? Was it a spontaneous idea when you landed in L.A., or did you pre-plan this?
: When I first got the offer for this remix, I already saw Crash Adams’ content on YouTube and other social media, and I knew that these guys were very fun, active, and creative. When I got the offer – even though I was so busy – I wanted to work on this remix, and I was very happy coming up with the ideas. Crash Adams attended my Los Angeles show and I had such a great time while they were filming their content near the stage. Moreover, it was really fun spending time with them and I received a lot of their amazing energy. I think we ended up with a great final product, so I hope that many people enjoy it.

KPC: Yeah, the video of you trolling everyone with the new remix at the show was hilarious! Crash Adams also posted a fun video of you on their social media. What were the fans’ reactions when you were filming the “Singing For Random People In Public” clip on the sidewalk? Did you record it all in one take?

SHAUN: These guys were very efficient, and we did it in one take. It was recorded so quickly, but while we were filming, the crowd slowly realized it was me and started screaming – the energy on the street was great. I don’t think any of the fans waiting in line even realized that I was SHAUN when I was walking by. There are a lot of people who listen to my music but don’t actually know what I look like, which is honestly one of the reasons why I wanted to do a tour. When we initially started recording, people were probably looking over in curiosity because they just noticed people filming. Once the crowd began to realize that it was me, they started to cheer and it turned into a really fun situation.

KPC: It was certainly fun to see the fans’ reactions in the video once they recognized you! Speaking of collaborations… as both a producer and DJ you’ve had the opportunity to work with a variety of artists – for example, Malaysian singer Yuna, and recently Thai actor-musician Jeff Satur. How do you approach people with your song ideas, and what challenges have you faced when collaborating from different locations?
: The most important thing that I consider when looking to collaborate with an artist is whether I feel that we will have good synergy when working together. We need to be able to use that synergy to create something that is not boring and predictable. Though, there are times when something predictable can actually feel special. I think it’s very important for us to make quick and smart decisions during our collaboration. Since a collaboration is not just my own song, all involved parties need to be happy with the results. I try my best to make sure we are working towards an end result that reflects all of our input and allows each of our identities to shine.

When it comes to my collaboration with Yuna, we had already been collaborating on the music from start to finish in the studio, so it wasn’t a hard decision for me. We had so much fun working together and spent a lot of time dancing in the studio as we worked. For the collaboration with Jeff Satur, I had already written the song and was looking for an artist that it would be best suited for when I found him. His image and his voice were a perfect match for the song, so I did not hesitate to collaborate with him. The process is different for each artist that I collaborate with, so I can’t say that I have one single way of approaching a collaboration. The most important thing is putting in the effort to create a final product that can be appreciated by all of the involved artists.

KPC: Earlier this year you released a collaboration single called “Steal The Show” with Jeff Satur. The music video contains stunning imagery that conveys the internal struggle between passion and reason, and it complements the lyrics very well! What did the creative process look like for the both of you? Were you involved in the vision and creation of this video? 

SHAUN: In the beginning, we only shared a very basic outline of our ideas with the music video production company – the general direction that we wanted to go in, the keywords that we wanted to include, and the overall vision that we were going for. The music video director then took all of that into consideration and came up with the general formation of the music video, using the keywords “passion” and “rationalism.” When I received the director’s plan for the music video, I was very happy with it. I tend to be a very rational person, so when I saw that I would be representing “rationalism”, I felt that I just needed to do a good job portraying my actual self – I really liked that concept. I didn’t find this out until later, but I learned that Jeff is actually a very passionate person. I think we ended up being assigned characters that suited each of us well, so filming the music video together was very fun.

KPC: The contrast of reds and blues throughout the video certainly emphasized the tension between the opposing characters. It was intense! So, now that you have completed your tour, what are some personal goals that you would like to focus on this year? Do you have any plans for bringing this tour to other countries?

SHAUN: I would like to get to a point where I can book a large solo event in Korea by next year, as well as release a full-length studio album. My goal for this year is to continue to work hard in order to make both of these things happen. So, this year, I am going on tour to show people my performances and my music, as well as familiarize everyone with my face, so that I can achieve even greater things in the coming year. I’ll also be going to various countries, starting in July, to perform at events like the Waterbomb Festival. I am planning an Asia tour, so I’m hoping to present my music and performance to even more people. (In English) A solo concert next year will be the final round of the world tour, I think!

KPC: Those are very exciting goals, and I’m sure fans are looking forward to the rest of your world tour! Thank you again for your time today. Would you like to share a final message with fans and Kpopconcerts.com readers?

SHAUN: I am so thankful for the love and support that you guys are always sending my way. Throughout this North American tour, I received so much passion and energy from you all, and I’m going back home with a very full heart! I would be so thankful if you guys could continue to support me, and I will repay you by creating more good music. Thank you – I’ll return soon!

This interview has been edited for clarity.

Thank you to SHAUN for his time, Samantha and Gramophone Media for the interview opportunity, and Ethan and Nahri for the translations.

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