Following the release of his latest banger Don’t You Want Me, Young Franco aka Joey Da Rin chilled out at City Amusements to chat Dance Dance Revolution, Tekken, and finding his way as a musician.
Photos by Liam Cameron
HAPPY: Hey man, thanks for coming to hang out! Do you ever come to these kinds of places often?
JOEY: Ah man, I haven’t come to one these things in ages!
HAPPY: Okay, are you ready for some Dance Dance Revolution?
JOEY: Oh yes, let’s do it. It’s in Japanese too! Wait how does this work?
HAPPY: What is your experience with Dance Dance?
JOEY: So I’ve probably only played Dance Dance once. Maybe when I was eight. I don’t really remember it. But I do remember I wasn’t very good (laughs).
HAPPY: Were you inspired then to make dance music?
JOEY: Yes! One day I walked past an arcade like this, saw Dance Dance and thought “One day, I’m gonna be a producer. A K-Pop producer no less.” (laughs).
HAPPY: K-Pop is pretty insane. People are recruited and then trained in how to be a pop star for a few years.
JOEY: That sounds about right. It makes sense a country like that would go crazy.
We continue to fail at DDR
JOEY: Man, this is the worst first date ever (laughs).
HAPPY: Dude, I was once interrupted by a homeless gentleman during the all-important first kiss on a date. He was asking for change.
JOEY: Did you give him change? You better have given him change!
HAPPY: Yeah I did*. But that was pretty bad. What about yourself, any cringe-worthy date moments?
JOEY: I can’t think of anything where I’d think “That was awful“. I have had some where you expect something else. Where you’re hanging out with the intention that something might happen and it doesn’t. You’re left standing there going “What?“, that kind of thing. But I haven’t encountered anything too awkward!
HAPPY: You’re lucky man. Okay, we’ve finally got this thing working. What level should we do, light?
JOEY: We can do better than that, let’s do standard.
HAPPY: Okay let’s do this.
JOEY: I love how the music is the cheap version of the real thing! Oh fuck this is fast! Fuck! This is not doable! Ahhh shit!
DANCE DANCE REVOLUTION: Miss. Miss. Incorrect. Miss.
HAPPY: Oh shit, this is bad.
DANCE DANCE REVOLUTION: You have failed.
HAPPY: And now we’ve failed.
JOEY: Ah man, that was just embarrassing (laughs). Let’s try this driving game next.
HAPPY: I think our character’s girlfriend is in the passenger seat.
GIRLFRIEND: What are you doing? You’re not doing this right at all!
JOEY: I’m trying! I’m trying the best I can! When was the last time you came to one of these?
HAPPY: About ten years ago probably, so we’re both at the same horrible standard which is pretty fair.
GIRLFRIEND: No! No!
JOEY: She keeps saying that! I’m trying to drive here and she’s so distracting! She’s so naggy (laughs).“What are you doing? Why are you driving like that!“, babe, I’m just doing my best for you!
HAPPY: All that nagging is clearly a motivator, you just kicked my ass. Let’s try basketball next. Have you played much before?
JOEY: Nah. I was a runner, and a footballer. Like soccer football. I think the trick for me here is that I’m not gonna get many in, so I’ll just keep throwing as many as I can, and hope I can get something in! A basketball friend of mine will see these pictures and say “You’re so shit“.
HAPPY: Did you play much music in school?
JOEY: I played trumpet till I was 15. I played piano as a kid till I was 10, and then I was like “Meh“. At the time your attention gets drawn to different things. Like girls. So I left it to the side and only got back into it when I was 16. Hey, let’s play Tekken!
HAPPY: So were you into games much when you were a kid?
JOEY: I had a Gameboy. I had a PS2, I played Medal of Honour which was cool. Crash Bandicoot! Oh man, look at all these Tekken players, they’re all so intense. I don’t think they like us being here.
HAPPY: Hey, kinda like your track Don’t U Want Me! It sounds pretty good man. You wrote on your feed about how the best feeling of sharing a new track was being able to connect with a stranger which sounds pretty cool.
JOEY: Yeah I do it for myself because it’s rewarding for me. But it’s really cool to see people get into it and really respond to it. When you’re at a show and you see people sing along, it’s really cool. it makes it all a bit more tangible. When you’re in your room for hours and hours the song doesn’t really mean anything. So it’s cool once it’s out. It’s been doing okay, people are getting into it. The UK has been getting into it, Annie Mac’s played it which is crazy.
HAPPY: Will you head over there soon?
JOEY: I did do a tour in May / June and it was six or seven shows. It was unreal, it was so good! They’re so much more responsive in the UK. They’ve had house music for 30 years you know!
HAPPY: Of course! When I listen to that song the initial reaction is “Fuck yeah, another banger from Franco“, but listening a bit closer there is a element of sadness to it.
JOEY: Really? I wrote that with Blair (De Milo), he wrote the verse and we wrote the chorus together. There’s no underlying meaning. I’m not a writer originally, I’m a producer. I’m trying to learn how to write more. When something comes to my head it will just naturally go from there. Blair is a really good vocalist.
HAPPY: How’d you guys meet?
JOEY: We did a track with UV Boi, and he was so good. So I hit him up and asked if he wanted to do a song together. We smashed it and it went really well. We got in the studio and worked it out over a couple of days. We fine tuned it, mixed it, mastered it, and that’s it I guess. He’s really good, he’s gonna do some really cool stuff soon. And it’s good he was in Brisbane, we could actually sit down and work it out together.
HAPPY: You mentioned trying to make the transition to a writer, how do you approach that?
JOEY: You just practice. It’s a 10 000 hour thing, you just have to keep going till you get better. The lyrics will get better. You write bad songs, you never stop writing bad songs. But you start writing less bad ones and more good ones (laughs). You just get better and progress. That’s what I think at least.
HAPPY: Do you have anyone that inspires you when it comes to writing good songs?
JOEY: A lot of people man. Disclosure’s new album is unreal! They’re songwriters, but they’re also amazing producers. That’s the difference between making beats and doing more, you know?
HAPPY: When it comes to the production side of things is it just you or do you have someone helping out?
JOEY: Well I’ll send it to friends and they’ll give their opinions. Apart from that it’s myself.
HAPPY: I’ve been told by a few people that EDM killed rock, and that it will go the same way one day.
JOEY: What? Shut up! I think electronic music will always be consistent in some form or another, at least for the next 50 years or so. Not everything has longevity, but it’s always evolving. It’s a tough thing to say. Some things have a due date.
HAPPY: So how would you evolve dance music Joey?
JOEY: Oh no! You can’t evolve dance music! It just does it itself! People will be sick of deep house, so they’ll try tech house. It’s a matter of taking different influences and it’s natural. It’s nothing forced. Everything is a evolution, not a revolution.
HAPPY: Like Dance Dance Revolution!
JOEY: Like Dance Dance Revolution! That’s how we tie it all in!
HAPPY: Well in that case man I’ll ask you our last question, we always like to do stuff that makes us happy, so what makes you happy man?
JOEY: Writing music. Writing music makes me happy. Travelling, good friends, writing bangers, jazz music, disco. I think that sums it up. Jazz and disco!
JOEY: Hmmm, maybe not (laughs). Only when we’re desperate for a new thing (laughs).
*Ed: Hmm. Shayen worked here when that happened and I don’t believe he gave the dude change or ended up landing that first kiss. Open to discussion on that one.