Coke Studio launches in Aus with Tones and I, Young Franco & CHAII leading the charge

We caught up with Tones and I, Young Franco and CHAII to get into collabs, new genres, and the journey towards Woodstock

Happy Mag dropped by the Roundhouse to catch the launch of the new collaboration courtesy of Coke Studio Australia and New Zealand.

This innovative platform, renowned for bringing together talented artists from across the globe, has set its sights on three of our local powerhouses: Tones and I, Young Franco, and CHAII.

coke studio

For those unfamiliar with Coke Studio, it’s a breeding ground for unique musical experiences. Artists with distinct styles are paired up, and magic happens.

This time, the spotlight shines on our very own Aussie and Kiwi talents. We’ve all been following Tones and I‘s meteoric rise since her unreleased track ‘Johnny Run Away’ landed in Happy Mag’s Needle In The Hay comp back in 2018. Young Franco and CHAII are no slouches either, each with their own impressive sound and burgeoning careers.

So, what can we expect from this dream team? Stay tuned because its set to be genre-bending and unforgettable. We caught up with the trio to chat about the project, their creative process, and what inspires them musically.

Get ready for a sneak peek into the world of Coke Studio’s first-ever Australian and New Zealand collaboration, where these talented artists are about to create something truly special.

tones and i coke studio 2024


Happy: How does it feel to be chosen for this? The first one ever?

Joey: We’re super excited to be up on this. There’s been a pretty long line of amazing artists that we follow, like Sam Smith, Youngblood’s been on this, Jessie Rey. Super cool artists that have done this before. It’s nice to be a part of it.

CHAII: It’s amazing. It’s such an honour to get picked by Toni to be part of this huge project. So yeah, just very grateful and looking forward to it.

Happy: Can I ask a little bit about the collab? Where does it happen?

Tones and I: So it’s going to hopefully happen over time. It’s going to be quite a long process. Me personally, whatever the song turns into, I definitely like to add in.

I use choirs and I use quartets and live trumpets. So whatever we create together, I’m hoping there’ll be an element of a live phase and we get through that and we really build it out.

I think there’s nothing like live, but I also mix with production and samples, too. I think it will start at Woodstock in Melbourne.

I think obviously there’ll be a point where we will have to move to a live room. I don’t know where that will be because I’ve always used Woodstock or my my own house, which definitely doesn’t have the space for a live room.

But I don’t know how these guys feel. But I’m also happy to do some sessions up here, come to you guys, or bring snacks. I don’t mind. I can come to see.

Joey: I love the studio stuff. Yeah.

Happy: Any producers on this project?

Joey: We all produce. We all are wearing the producers hat. Tone’s obviously an amazing multi-instrumentalist, and CHAI is the most amazing engineer background and obviously a vocalist. I’m in between all those things. I think we all complement each other.

CHAII: We understand each other. We’re talking telepathically. 

tones and i coke studio

Happy: Original, remix, mashup or something new?

Joey: It’ll be something new.

Tones and I: Yeah, I have to agree. And I think what’s exciting is we all are drawing from different areas. And I was just talking to the others before, what they’re excited about just musically and what they’re listening to.

And hopefully, I guess it’s a big collaboration of all of us, I guess, coming together to make something fun, which is what most music is, I think. Fun is number one. 

Happy: Are there any artists that you’ve all been listening to lately that you’re going, fuck, me too. I love that.

Tones and I: Yeah, it’s cliché I know, but I don’t care about that. I’m just loving everything Jungle are doing. I think it’s unique, it’s different, it feels good. I think that what I find so great about it is everything on their album feels very necessary.

It feels like they just know how to put their style of music together. Everything has a purpose. It’s not just like, Let’s just layer the track up to make it feel fuller.

I really listen for those tiny little adlibs or those tiny little moments that end up getting stuck in your head. Or if we can’t stop thinking about a moment in the song, hopefully that’s the goal for us.

There’s something we just love. We lead, we sing it on our way home. I think I’m loving what they’re doing. I think they’re super new and I love their sound.

They’ve also They’ve been around for so long that they know what they’re doing and you can hear that they’ve been around forever. I feel like that’s the same with us. We, at this point, know what we’re doing and can come in and see what happens.

Happy: With that, can you agree on a genre?

Tones and I: No. We’ll create a new genre.

Happy: Where you are on your journey professionally, at this point in time, what are you drawing inspiration from? Because it wouldn’t be what it was five years ago, two years ago. 

CHAII: I’m a very in the moment person. So when it comes to that question, it’s definitely just purely based off like, vibes of things I’ve unconsciously picked up.

And I just feel like I’ve become much more good at just letting those things come out into the music instead of like, I don’t really have to think about anything.

And it’s just if I’ve had a more It’s been an exciting time in the past little while, then there’ll be, I guess, more inspo from just general life. And then just purely a lot of things within the session of just feelings and what the music makes you feel, the beats make you feel, and where that goes.

So that’s, inspirational-wise, that’s a little bit like- That’s very present, very beautiful. Present. That’s the one I could have just- The essential ingredient.

Happy: We have got some rapid fire questions from our crew. Converse or Vans? 

Tones and I: Converse.

Joey:  Vambers.

CHAII: Yeah, exactly. Perfect. I love that. Converse.

Happy: Pineapple on pizza?

Tones and I: Yeah. I’ve been served on.

Joey: Controversial, I don’t know.

Happy: Work hard or fake it till you make it. 

Tones and I: Work hard.

CHAII: Work hard.

Joey: Somewhere in the middle.

Happy: Coke or Pepsi?

ALL: Coke. Of course. Coca-cola.

If you want to follow the journey of the new track being created follow the artists on socials, use the #CokeStudioAU or visit the Coke Studio hub