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Young Franco chats his A-League anthem Real Nice (H.C.T.F), collaborating with Tkay Maidza and Nerve and finally being able to travel again

2 December 2021 | 1:08 pm | Parry Tritsiniotis

Young Franco spills the tea on working with the incredible Tkay Maidza and Nerve on their A League anthem for this season.

Producer mastermind Young Franco is on one of the hottest collaborative runs in Australia. From tapping everyone from Miami rap mogul Denzel Curry, to up and coming wordsmith Pell, to local favourite Golden Vessel, Young Franco has developed a knack for bringing influential artists into his upbeat sphere of dance and hip-hop music. Hence, it is no surprise that he was tapped to create the anthem for the start of the A-League season this year alongside the great Tkay Maidza and guest contributions from Brisbane based Nerve.

Dubbed ‘Real Nice (H.C.T.F.)’, the track brings to passion each respective passion for football and music, creating a tune that is uplifting, inspiring and all in all a total vibe. They channel the tone of the sport, tackling a generation defined by creativity, determination and individual brilliance.

“Football and music are two of the biggest passions in my life”, said Young Franco; “I have always wanted to create something that celebrates football culture and find the right artists to join me around a shared passion. Teaming up on this track alongside Tkay & Nerve, artists I have been a fan of for such a long time has been a bit of a dream project for me. I can’t wait to hear how the fans make it theirs.”

To get to know the track better, we sat down with Young Franco and chat about the creative process of the track, what inspired the songs euphoric energy, travelling post COVID and his golden run of collaboration.

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Parry: You’re back from the US, how did it feel breaking the bubble out of Australia. How badly did you feel like you needed to get out of your structure and get out of the country?

Young Franco: It was a combination of everything. It was fantastic and so great to see friends I haven't seen for two years. It was full on, I was there for 11 days. The one word would be overwhelming but so fantastic. 

Parry: Did you enjoy the structure that COVID gave your workflow? 

Young Franco: I found that I was really lucky that I had a bunch of music ready to go and work on as I was heading into the pandemic. Releasing that music over the past two years and then a heap of new music and collaborations. Obviously it was extremely intense, but there was a lot of things that came out of it in terms of structure, release schedules that I want to take forward. 

Parry: What is that feeling like, releasing the biggest songs of your career and not physically seeing people respond to them. It must have been a weird new experience right? And did that affect your motivation levels?

Young Franco: I’m so happy with how the songs did and a whole heap of wins that kept me going. I felt fulfilled in that way, it was an adjustment, but it felt like things were still moving and that kept me motivated. It was a total adjustment in my mindset, I’m just happy to add these songs to the bag. 

Parry: Your newest track celebrates the A-League of course. Where does an achievement like this rank in your overall career as an artist?

Young Franco: It doesn’t have a particular place in a list, but I’m so stoked. It’s one of those things that I combine everything I love. It was so great to be able to wake up and work on something that I’m really proud of and feels genuine to me. It ticks all the boxes for me, and I’m so happy with how it turned out. 

Parry: What sort of energy did you want to encapsulate when making a football inspired track? How do you think Real Nice reflects the nature of the sport?

Young Franco: I drew a lot of inspiration from other festive, football songs. I grew up watching a lot of football ads that were very inspiring, uplifting and pumped me up. I wanted to channel that and reflect how I felt when listening to those songs. I think back to when World Cups were on and take inspiration from them and make it my own. It wasn’t outside the sphere of things of what I listen to, I love making my kind of dancey music and hip-hop, and I’ve brought it all together. 

Parry: Talk through the creative process of this track. Was it always destined for you and TKAY and then you trapped Nerve? Did TKAY tap you? Did you tap TKAY? How'd it work?

Young Franco: I’m writing music most days. I got wind of this through my team and I had a picture in my head of what it would sound like. I had a few ideas and put a few pieces together. Then Tkay Maidza was going to be a part of it, and we’ve known each other for ages. It was so easy from there, we FaceTimed a few times between LA and Sydney, we’d send each other ideas back and forth and pieced it together over Zoom. 

I’m so stoked she’s on it. She’s a top tier artist. She has a very clear vision of what she wants and an identity. It’s exciting how strong her vision is, seeing artists go for it, it made it come out really genuine. 

Then Nerve came on it, he is one of the best rappers in Australia too. He has a really strong trajectory, he will be one of our premiere exports. 

Parry: You’ve been on a really hot collaborating run, your whole career really. This track with two of Australia’s favs at the moment, the stuff with Pell, Denzel Curry, Golden Vessel you name it. When do collaborators typically enter the creative process for you, do the features inspire your production, or do you find it's easier to produce in isolation then have the feature come on?

Young Franco: It’s all over the shop. The Golden Vessel track came out of thin air. The Pell ones I had old instrumentals and then when we were in the room together we wrote ‘Juice’ together. There’s no real hard and fast way which is good, the formula often can work against you, because you’d end up with the same song over and over again. Part of the excitement is knowing that you don’t know when the next song is going to come or spark will come. It’s different every time. 

Parry: Final question. You’re currently on one of the best singles runs in Australia. The music industry is changing so much in terms of how consumers engage with music. Releasing singles never used to be a big artist strategy but it's really working for some artists over releasing full projects for the sake of it.

Talk through the creative freedom/decision that being on a singles run does for you? 

Young Franco: For me, it's all about consistency. I don’t want to wait on a song, that personally bogs me down. Consistency is more important over everything. Music is constantly changing and the goalposts are constantly changing and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Historically music has always changed. I like releasing music consistently because it gives me more creative freedom to build the narrative through that. It’s definitely changed over the last two years and you have to roll with the punches and just do what’s best for your project. 

Image via Daphne Nguyen