dubai-based, irish-born shaun warner is a (relatively) new and exciting face on the music scene.

Frequently making it onto the Billboard charts over the past few years and, luckily for us, we got to interview him.

In 2007, Warner left his Irish birthplace to explore Australia, eventually settling down in Dubai where he began to make a name for himself as a pop/electronic/dance music producer.

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how are you finding life
in the middle east?

[It’s] a bit different to Ireland, but my philosophy doesn’t change regardless of the country I’m living in; I try to squeeze every bit of life out of each day. Better today than yesterday.

Warner said in another interview that if there’s one thing he’d change about the music industry in Dubai, it's the licensing structure - to which a lot of local musicians shared the same sentiment.

how is it nowadays?

Dubai can be an odd place sometimes. While the licensing system works for the authorities, I think it takes opportunities away from artists. It’s hard for a venue to justify paying a licensing fee for someone who is still perfecting their stage show and might still have a limited crowd. On the plus side, the gigs here pay more than they might elsewhere. I guess nowhere is perfect!

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i guess you’re probably asked this a lot, but what and who inspires you?

The majority of my first album is about my wife. Our relationship, in general, provides a lot of inspiration; the good and the bad. If I take something small and then mentally bring it to the extreme it helps me find lyrical inspiration. I think inspiration can come from anywhere though.

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what part of music production do you enjoy the most? mixing, mastering, composing?

I produce everything I put out, but I don’t mix or master my records. I find it hard to approach my music as an engineer.

It’s also a skill that I’m years away from perfecting.

My favourite part of the process is getting that first chord progression down. I’m limited when it comes to musical ability so it can take me a while to find music to match what I’m trying to write.

Once I have that down, the rest can happen quite quickly.

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what's your typical day like?

My youngest [child] just turned one and he’s not a great sleeper- my wife does the 2 am feed and, while she sleeps in, I do the early mornings. I wake up at 6 am (depending on his Lordship’s schedule) and get my two boys ready for school, and me ready for work.

Breakfast is usually Clonakilty sausages and eggs; it’s a luxury item over here but it’s the piece of home I can’t do without- that and Barry’s tea, and Ballymaloe relish.

Once my eldest boy (aged 4) leaves for school, I head to the gym. I’m not setting any records there but I do enough to feel like I earned my morning Red Bull or coffee.

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I still have a day job, so I’m there for the day, but I’m lucky in that it heavily involves music.

I’m home each day at 6:30 pm and from the minute I’m home, the phone goes away and it's family time until the boys go to bed at 8 pm. Once my wife goes to bed around 9 pm, I lock myself in the studio and work on music. I try to do between 4-5 sessions per week. This could be songwriting, vocal or production session.

For 2019, I gave myself the challenge of releasing a new song every 6 weeks.

It’s tough, but in today’s music landscape, as soon as you go quiet, you’re forgotten, so I have to make sure I’m always pushing myself.

It’s tough, but in today’s music landscape, as soon as you go quiet, you’re forgotten, so I have to make sure I’m always pushing myself.

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favourite song
that you’ve written?

Dig Deep. I wrote it for a friend who was going through some struggles in his life, and I know that the song helped him to get through those times.

favourite song
by someone else?

Wish you were here by Pink Floyd.

favourite line
from that song?

Did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts, hot ashes for trees, hot air for a cool breeze, cold comfort for change? Did you exchange a walk-on part in the war, for a lead role in a cage?

what do you do when you get a creative brain freeze?

If the creative juices aren’t flowing, I do one of two things: work on a mix, or manipulate a sample and try to make something new from it.

what drives you to make your performances special every time?

Ego. It's a powerful thing. I want to put the best of me out there always.

what would you say to your future you?

Keep grinding. Everyday you work for something you get better at it so just keep working.

dream performance?

Glastonbury, main stage!

if your life will be summarized in one line from a song, what would it be?

Work, work, work, work, work!

Shaun is a living testament on living life with a pinch of ease but with a ton of professionalism, hard work and blissful ego. Set to conquer the airwaves, he'll carry on playing his groove with a dose of chill pills.

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