From a love of The Blues Brothers as a kid to sold-out shows around the world, Young Franco is truly making his mark on the electronic music scene.
When he was young, the Australian producer’s dad would put on the adored 1980 comedy film – he recalls being mesmerised by the complex jazz and funk melodies, with the intricate sounds of each instrument charming his mind in a way that made him want to be make music like that on his own.
As Young Franco tells Rolling Stone AU/NZ one day over Zoom, that formative experience was the beginning of it all.
“That’s how I started being interested in playing trumpet,” he recalls. “From then, when I was a teenager, I started getting into hip hop and rap, and sampling old records.”
Today, those early impressions on the Brisbane-based musician – real name Joseph Da Rin – remain apparent in the tracks he puts out under his DJ moniker.
There’s “Get Down”, an electric collaboration with US rapper Pell and multi-instrumentalist MXXWLL that was released last week. The track intertwines Young Franco’s early appreciation of hip hop, electronic, funk and nu-disco to create a smooth and lively cut that encourages listeners to hit the dancefloor immediately.
While his many collaborations have a “special spot” in his heart, Young Franco says working with artists like Pell creates a whole other feeling of gratitude, with the pair releasing five tracks together already.
“These people who are now friends are all really important,” he says.
When looking to collaborate with other artists, Young Franco says he is drawn to those who create music he loves as a listener.
“I really like working with people who have a strong idea of who they are and what they like and what music they want to make,” he explains. “It comes really easy when the other person is really into a certain thing and they’re obsessed with it and I can come in and meet in the middle.”
While he credits platforms like SoundCloud, Spotify and iTunes as well as radio for getting his music out there, it’s his syncs which he acknowledges as being super impactful.
Global brands like Apple and Starbucks have picked up his music for ad campaigns, while “Fallin’ Apart” featured on the official FIFA 23 soundtrack.
“It’s a very nice blessing to have that,” he says modestly. “It’s really good to be in those conversations and realise people are watching and liking the songs and thinking they work well for those platforms.”
Now he’s focusing on finishing off new music, and after completing a Europe and US Spring tour where he played multiple sold-out shows, continuing his shows around the world – which includes a trip to Aotearoa.
“I love going to new places. I think meeting new people has always been great and writing music with new people. Sometimes it’s a challenge finding the balance between touring and writing music.
“It’s really important because I find it hard to do both or consciously do both when plates are spinning at the same time. I’s a very competitive industry so it’s always making sure you’re doing the best you can.”
The 29-year-old will head to New Zealand to play Fort Lane Live in Auckland this weekend, which also includes appearances from Marlin’s Dreaming, Muroki, Church & AP, Soaked Oats and many more.
“Every time I have been before (to New Zealand), I’ve had a really good time,” Young Franco adds.
Fort Lane Live takes place in Auckland across Fort Lane, Roxy, Everybody’s, Inwards Goods and Snickel Lane on Saturday, July 22nd. Tickets are available here.