How Franky Wah's Grandfather Inspired His Label SHÈN
Mar 28, 2023
Ana Monroy Yglesias
3 min read
Euphoric house and techno producer Franky Wah may be riding high as he ascends in the dance music scene, but he almost lived the simple life. He was born Luke Storrs to a farming family in Doncaster, a small town in Yorkshire, England. He came from a long line of farmers, and assumed he'd continue the tradition. Yet even as he's stepped away from the family business, he's kept his family close as he travels the globe to get dancefloors heated. (He also still lives in Doncaster, just five minutes away from his parents.)
For Wah's latest successful endeavor, his SHÈN label and events brand, his family provided inspiration.
“Shen is actually a Chinese word that stands for ascending into a higher consciousness, which is sort of what I’d like to say happens at our events," Wah recently told Gray Area. “My [DJ] name Franky Wah, actually comes from my granddad, who’s Chinese, Harry Wah.”
In indigenous Chinese religion, shen means spirit or divinity and is "associated with the yang (bright, active) aspect of the cosmos and with the higher, spiritual component of the human soul." It is believed that when a person dies, their soul either becomes a shen spirit, which ascends to the spirit world, or a dark guei yin spirit, which remains in the human world to seek revenge.
Wah added the accent over the E in SHÈN—stylized as a feather in the logo—as an additional nod to transcendence. He brings attention and care to all aspects of it, from its expansive, euphoric music catalog, immersive events in stellar venues, and his acute attention to detail.
2023 is set to be the year of SHÈN. Wah held his debut label showcase at Mia Beach Club in Tulum on New Year's Eve, and will make his U.S. SHÈN debut on April 28 at New York's iconic Knockdown Center. He'll then serve up the label's first Ibiza showcase with an epic 16-week residency at Club Chinois, beginning on June 18.
Wah also told Gray Area that even his upcoming residency at Club Chinois embodies the spirit of SHÈN and his family. His grandfather Harry owned a pottery shop, and the sinks in the club's bathrooms happen to match pottery sets Harry gave Wah's mom and sisters as wedding presents! Additionally, there are three large pillars in the club covered in gold feathers—the space is ready for ascension.