Young Franco: ‘Don’t take yourself too seriously, it’s never that deep’

Young Franco chats about turning Instagram friendships into chart-topping hits, surviving the touring grind, and why The Blues Brothers still holds a place in his heart. Spoiler: It's not for the car chases.

Young Franco Spotify lead credit Casey Garnsey

Young Franco, the audacious young Aussie producer, is confident yet restless, his star rising at a speed that’s hard to ignore. After last year’s global exploits, notably electrifying performances at Lollapalooza and Splendour in the Grass, Franco has once again struck gold with new single ‘Wake Up!’, featuring the UK’s indie dynamo Master Peace. As he gears up for an extensive British Isles tour, I had the pleasure of chatting with the Brisbane native about his creative process, eclectic influences, and what lies ahead for this musical trailblazer.

READ MORE: Master Peace: ‘There’s more to this than ‘Black guy making indie music”

A musician’s journey is rarely sparked by a film, but Young Franco’s began with The Blues Brothers, the 1980 John Landis-directed comedy starring Dan Ackroyd and John Belushi. “It was a huge intro into a pretty eclectic mix of music,” Franco recalls. “The movie covers a lot of ground—jazz, soul, funk, gospel, blues, and a bit of rock and country. So I got to experience some amazing building blocks for different genres from some of the best.” This broad foundation has undoubtedly shaped his sound, which brilliantly marries hints of dance, disco, and hip-hop.

Franco’s latest single, ‘Wake Up!’, emerged from collaborating with Croydon’s Master Peace. It’s a partnership that underscores Franco’s knack for fusing disparate genres into a cohesive and energetic whole. The collaboration was lucky, sparked by a connection on Instagram. “I’ve been a mega fan of Master Peace since I heard his track ‘Veronica’,” Franco tells me. “We linked up over Instagram and planned to get in the studio the next time I was in London. Luckily, our schedules aligned, and we banged this out in a day!” Their creative synergy is palpable in the track’s tight production and infectious energy:

Reflecting on the track’s origins, Franco explains, “I had a rough demo I wrote with Elliot from Delta Riggs. When we got in together, I had a rough idea of what I wanted. It was pretty smooth sailing from there.” This spontaneity and fluidity are hallmarks of Franco’s work. 2024 has already been a bustling year, with notable link-ups like ‘HITA’ with UK rapper S1mba. When asked what fans can expect next, Franco teases, “We are gonna announce the biggest project of my career so far soon! It seems funny to say that, and I know those words are thrown around often, but I swear it’s true.”

Performing at major festivals has significantly influenced Franco’s creative process. “My biggest influence on what I make in the studio is based on my time playing in clubs in Brisbane when I first started,” he explains. “I come from a bit of a hip hop background, so it was my first official intro to dance music in the space meant to be heard. My first solo trip to London was also a huge turning point for me in understanding how important dance music is too.”

Franco’s sound has evolved remarkably over the years, wrestling with hip-hop, electronic, funk, and nu-disco to harmonise them into one core. And he might just have done it. Surely time to rest on his laurels now? Apparently not. Recently, he’s been exploring even farther musical frontiers. “I’m enjoying exploring sounds and tempos that I haven’t worked in before. There’s so much dance music coming out of Europe at the moment, and I like hearing people take genres into new spaces. I’m writing a bit of jungle and garage at the moment, which I haven’t explored before besides being a listener. It’s very exciting because you don’t get bogged down in technical aspects when you are exploring a new style.”

Young Franco Horiztonal Lead- credit Casey Garnsey copy
Credit: Casey Garnsey

Digital platforms and commercial partnerships with global brands like Apple have played a crucial role in shaping Franco’s career. “Getting your music out to a wider audience is always helpful,” he notes. “Plus, it’s fun to see your music in different contexts, like in commercials or on playlists.” It’s still not all plain sailing though – balancing touring and writing music is a challenge for artists that’s here to stay. “I honestly struggle with creative energy on the road! Touring can be all-encompassing. It definitely feels like you have to fill up your cup again with a whole bunch of new tunes in between tours. I’m okay with that, and if I can work on one or two songs while touring, I think that’s enough.”

Despite these pressures, hobnobbing with fans whilst on the road remains a highlight for Franco. “I got a couple of gifts when I went to Seoul a while back! That was super lovely,” he says, clearly proud of the warmth and enthusiasm of his international fanbase.

Looking ahead, Franco has his sights set on some ambitious goals. “I would love to do a couple of the UK festivals. Those have been on my bucket list for years. I’d also like to meet Q-Tip,” he reveals, hinting at a bright and promising future. For emerging artists, he offers this advice: “I think it’s important to not take yourself too seriously, it’s never that deep and don’t get bogged down in details. Most of my success has just been continually putting out songs. Also, YouTube tutorials are very helpful.”

Young Franco UK tour

12th September – Manchester – Yes – The Pink Room

13th September – Bristol – Rough Trade

14th September – London – Village Underground

Keep up to date with the best in UK music by following us on Instagram: @whynowworld and on Twitter/X: @whynowworld

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