Slidin’ Thru: Louis Futon

March 28, 2019

Read the full interview on YoungCalifornia.com!

Louis Futon might be your new favorite producer. The name is a pun on Louis Vuitton, which hardly justifies the quality in his beats and musical talents. Describing himself as a man who “just loves to make music, the Philly native is inspired by everything that surrounds him. Read more…

Having been in and out of bands for most of his upbringing, it’s shocking to think he never actually learned music theory, but rather simply gifted with this ear to pick things up easily. With an unwavering love and passion for the music, he continues to grind and flip some of our favorite hit records and turn them into something greater.

From his standout unofficial flips of Frank Ocean’s “Solo” and Kendrick’s “Pride” to now unleashing his debut album Way Back When, it’s only a matter of time before real name Tyler Minford becomes a household name.

How would you describe your sound?
It’s a combination of everything I listen to. I love jazz, hip-hop, funk, R&B, gospel, electronic music. It’s just a fusion of all of those in one place.

You’re from Philly, how does that play into your life and career?
I’ll always be attached to the East Coast. It’s a lot different because there’s not this community like out in LA where everyone is. You have to dream big or go home, like what are you here for? It’s a bunch of creatives all in one space. Back home, we developed a niche music taste. Our circle of friends listened to things other people weren’t listening to at the time. That made me think outside the box, listen to new music, and be exposed to different things.

How important is it to come to LA as an up and coming artist?
It’s very important to surround yourself with people who are passionate about creating and strive for the same thing. Whether it’s film, music, anything, the energy out here is just different. You don’t have to live here but if you are a young creative, you should come out here and see what it’s all about. It’s a different world.

Talk about being in Van Nuys.
Van Nuys is nice, I live in a block in the neighborhood. It’s kind of secluded, but I have a home studio set up where people come write and record. It’s a nice little sanctuary out of the craziness.

You’ve been in LA for 2 years. Favorite part of West Coast?
The sun, the weather obviously, and the ocean.

Congrats on the debut album! Talk about the creative process. Why’d it take 2 years?
Finding my sound was very difficult. I’m still continuing to find where I want to go, what makes me feel good, how I can express myself. I got out of this really dark hole in my personal life due to a horrible relationship. I was in a bad place and musically, that showed. I fell out of love with music ‘cause I thought of it like a job. My ex at the time made me feel bad for not wanting to spend time with her and making music, just all these factors. I got out of the relationship and said “fuck it, I’ma move out to LA.” From there, I’ve had this rebirth of myself in my music and started to have fun with it again. Fell back in love with music, that’s what this album’s all about.

The first song “The Beginning” has so much instrumentation. Talk about all that you play.
I play guitar, piano, bass, and drums are my main instrument. My trumpet player now, Ariel Shrumpet, we started to work more. I started to work with more horns players. JP Floyd from The Social Experiment, Chance the Rapper’s band, he plays trombone. With this project, I wanted to incorporate a lot of live elements into it so it kind of blurs the line of “is this live or is this electronic? Is this R&B, hip-hop, pop?” I don’t really know, just wanted to make a melting pot of everything.

The features all seem to all fit in this pocket that’s underground, but so talented. Talk about the process in picking them.
There’s this pocket of underground indie vocalists and rappers, like you said, that I believe are going to be huge very soon. Duckwrth, Armani White, they crush it. I love all of their songwriting, their voices. That’s what I look for. They have to have this all-around package of what I want. I didn’t want any pop-y top lines on this project. I wanted to package it all in the form of easily accessible, almost pop songs that grab your attention and keep it for 3 minutes. But in that 3 minutes, just pack in these vocals, this writing you never heard before combined with these instrumentals that bang.

What is it you want fans to get from your story?
What I’m doing, anyone can do with whatever they want, not just music. A lot of my fans also make music and produce, but they also have other jobs. They have a passion but they also have the expectations of reality and the pressure of their family. As cliché as it sounds, anyone can make their dreams happen. It was that moment I decided to put my head to the grindstone and said “I’ma go after it, see if I can really do it.” I’ve grown my sound so much now and looking back, I only started producing when I was 21. If my 21-year-old self listened to some of my creations now, I’d be blown away. You just don’t know.

I love that you let the fans pick which song you should flip. Talk about flipping James Blake’s “Retrograde.”
We wanted to do something special for the album coming out, so a lot of people wanted me to flip something by James Blake. I was going through a bunch of suggestions and listened to “Retrograde.” It had that perfect mixture of a stripped-down song, but has elements in there with potential for being flipped. I was playing it and playing it, pitched it up a little bit, then I was like “it’d be dope if a flute doubled that melody.”

I was about to ask who’s on the flute!
I called up this girl Hailey Niswanger, who also plays saxophone and is coming on tour with me. She came over and killed it. It was really special.

Has James Blake heard it?
I don’t know, that’s a good question. Maybe I should send it to him. I mean, I don’t know how. The problem is even if he heard it, I’m not sure he would promote it because that’s his biggest song, even until this day. I’m sure he’s trying to escape that song and move onto other things.

What are some goals yourself as an artist at this point of your career?
I want to dive more into the production world and work on other people’s projects. I want to grow and develop other artists. I want to get into movie and video game scoring. I wanna see how far I can take my own creativity because Louis Futon is and will always be a passion of mine, but for Tyler Minford, I want to see what I can do and how far I can take my sound. For Louis Futon, I have a new video content series coming out, I’m going to keep up with the beat challenges, I’m going to release more music than I ever have before. I feel really good where I’m going.

How important is social media for your career?
Its huge. I don’t think I’d be able to do what I do without social media. It converts people into die-hard fans, people who are going to buy a ticket to come see me play. It allows me to build a community around my music and people who all share the same mindedness.

What’s a normal day in the life? Walk us through.
I wake up, order Uber Eats, and write music for 12 hours a day. Either in session work or writing beats, whatever it is, just make music in general. Every Monday night, I try to get out and go to this neo/soul/funk/R&B jam night in Hollywood. It’s called The Juice Joint at The Study, it’s awesome. I try to see improv comedy any time I can, because my girlfriend does improv comedy and I recently fell in love with that.

3 things you need in the studio?
Coffee, weed, and plants.

You’ve performed at Coachella MIA, Odesza, LTC. What goes into your live shows?
I try to visualize if I was in the crowd, what would I want to see? What would I want to feel? What kind of journey would I want to be taken on with my music? For these live shows coming up, I’ve finally gotten to a point financially where I can expand my vision for what I want my show to be. I’m bringing on a drummer, sax player, and trumpet player, kind of forming a live band.

Favorite song to perform in a set?
I have this old song called “Tree” that I like to put the most recent rap banger acapella over it. I have to update it but I used to drop it with “Bad and Boujee” acapella over it. The crowd always went crazy when they heard that shit.

Who’s the most played artist on your phone?
Anderson .Paak or Childish Gambino.

Dream collab?
I mean, Anderson .Paak or Childish Gambino. Or his producer Ludwig Göransson, he’s amazing. He just won a Grammy for “This is America” and the Black Panther soundtrack.

Is there anything else you want to let us know?
This live show is debuting April 26th, 27th, 28th in LA and San Francisco. I want to try and give people an experience they’ve never seen or heard before. Plenty of music videos, music, remixes, other people’s projects and works that I’ve been a part of too.

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