Louis Futon Announces Headlining Tour Dates, Shares 'Zoned Out' Mixtape: Exclusive
Philadelphia producer talks working with ROZES and keeping it simple in the studio.
Louis Futon’s “Wasted On You” begins with a light and fluttery vocal from ROZES, but this is a feint: the gentle opening soon gives way to a beat with jaw-busting power. Slow tempos are fashionable in electronic music at the moment -- see the rise of tropical house and The Chainsmokers’ ROZES collaboration, “Roses” -- and “Wasted On You” has the unhurried roll of a tank, confident in its own impregnability. The track came out February 12; it’s been streamed more than five million times in less than two months.
Futon’s initial entry into music was through drumming. He describes the impetus for his move into programming in simple terms: “when I saw cats like araabMuzik and 8th Wundah play on a sampling pad for the first time, I was like, ‘hey, I can do that too,’” he tells Billboard. “So I started to dabble with a machine sampling pad.”
A similar curiosity defines his catholic musical tastes. “The only genre of music I refuse to listen to is country,” Futon notes. “Other than that, my tastes have ranged from Chinese folk music to death metal and everything in between. I get tired of listening to just one genre all the time, which is why I’m always adding new stuff to my library.”
The producer is premiering a new mixtape today exclusively through Billboard Dance that displays the variety of his work: a remix of the Australian dance group Rüfüs Du Sol, a track built around a hedonistic snippet from the Toronto rapper P Reign’s “DnF,” and even a Mos Def rework for the hip-hop heads. Presented by Colo. lifestyle brand Jiberish, Futon's Zoned Out Mixtape Volume 1 is available for free download here.
These remixes helped build Futon’s fan base; they also connected him with potential collaborators. When the producer put his own spin on Just A Gent’s “Limelight,” which features a vocal from ROZES, he “fell in love with her voice.” “I reached out to her to work on an original,” he remembers. “It turns out that we both grew up around the same area and also lived in Philadelphia.” “[She] is one of the most talented and goofiest [people] I know,” he adds.
Though much of his work is manipulating vocals in remixes, Futon has a foolproof rule when in the studio with a singer: “I try to keep it simple. Simple beats are the hardest to make, but they can also be the most impactful.” The success of his latest single suggests that he’s on to something.
“Wasted On You” came out on ODESZA’s Foreign Family Collective label. Futon’s touring led him to a fateful run-in with ODESZA at the Sets On The Beach festival in Perth, Australia. “We were both big fans of each other’s music,” the producer recalls. “[We] kept in touch well after our Australian adventures.” Futon later accompanied the group on tour, and he gleaned as much as he could from the experience, explaining, “they just did everything right. From their production crew to their live set up, everything about the tour was incredibly inspiring.”
ODESZA are famous for mixing live instrumentation into their sets, and Futon has a similar approach to performance. “I use a Livid Ohm RGB launchpad for triggering clips and stems from my own songs and a Roland SPD-SX drum pad,” he tells Billboard Dance. “As I expand, I want to bring in a keyboard, electronic drum kit and some other unique element… I think the crowd is more involved when they have something to watch.”
Futon will showcase his live setup at a series of headlining dates this month (see below), including stops in Brooklyn and San Francisco on a tour he dubbed “Futon Takes America.” According to the producer, people already know the words to “Wasted On You.” “It’s very fulfilling seeing people sing along to those tracks,” he says. “That’s the kind of stuff you dream about as a kid.”
Futon Takes America Tour:
April 7 - The Fillmore - Charlotte, N w/ Big Gigantic
April 9 - Republic - New Orleans, LA
April 12 - Morgantown - Mainstage - Morgantown, WV w/ Big Gigantic
April 13 - Charlottesville - Jefferson Theater - Charlottesville, VA w/ Big Gigantic
April 14 - Richmond - The National - Richmond, VA w/ Big Gigantic
April 16 - University of New Mexico - Johnson Field - Albuquerque, NM
April 21 - Larimer Lounge - Denver, CO
April 30 - Rough Trade - Brooklyn NY
May 7 - EyeHeartSF Block Party - San Francisco
May 12 - Crocodile - Seattle, WA
May 13 - WOW Hall - Eugene, OR