Touring with the independent artist

by Jaden Constant

November 29, 2017

Electronic artist Louis the Child’s touring team discussed tour production when they visited campus on Nov. 9 as guests of the Bandier Program.

The touring team behind Electronic artist Louis the Child—a duo consisting of Robby Hauldren and Freddy Kennett—discussed the difficulties associated with tour production, and said communication and teamwork are significant to logistical efforts, when they visited campus earlier this month.

Members of the team include Michael Trueblood (tour manager), Kendall Clark (production manager), Jessica Guerra (merchandise) and Colin Miller (videographer). They participated in a panel discussion moderated by artist manager Joey Papoutsis ’13, giving insight into the inner workings of tour management.

“I don’t say yes to a show without checking in with these guys,” said Papoutsis.

Louis the Child have performed at Coachella and Lollapallooza, among many other locations. They are known for their Electronic Dance Music (EDM) style, which is music with a repetitive beat, using a synthesized backing track. Frequently heard in nightclubs and at raves, EDM has multiple sub-genres, including house, techno and future bass, which is Louis the Child’s primary style.

When budgeting for a tour, Papoutsis said it is important not to “skimp on production.” This can lead to insufficient staff or substandard equipment, which would undermine the tour. He said that communicating with other music groups who have performed at similar venues can serve as a financial gauge, thus supplying him with a general idea of budget and profit margin.

Trueblood said touring can be hectic, sometimes to the point of absurdity.

“We took a red-eye out Thursday night to Montreal,” said Trueblood. “Then the next day we flew out at 5:30 a.m. to Baltimore. We played a 3 p.m. festival. [After that festival] we flew to Minneapolis… We played a set from 12:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. [We then] drove an hour and a half back to the airport, slept for two hours, got in the plane and went and played in San Francisco in front of 30,000 people.”

For Trueblood, scheduling can be a challenging task, but done right it can be the difference between the success and failure of the tour.

Clark said that good teamwork is essential to a successful tour. He spoke about a time when he and a few other technicians had to position a lighting rig for a performance.

“This was a pretty complex rig; it was ambitious,” said Clark. “Not one of us could do it successfully on our own. All three of us mentally and physically checked on each other to make sure [everything was going] smoothly.”

During a Q&A that followed the discussion, a student asked about the role of tour marketing.

“The best way to sell tickets is through targeted Facebook advertising,” Papoutsis said, stating that Facebook’s platform for video content is an effective way to attract ticket buyers.

“Video content seems to be the only thing that travels and makes an impact on Facebook,” said Papoutsis.

Miller noted that the band usually releases a video a week.

Bandier Program director Bill Werde asked how the music group maintains their momentum. Papoutsis said brand consistency is vital.   

“It’s a big challenge,” said Papoutsis. “It’s a lot of work. But we all contribute it.”

Jaden Constant is a first-year television, radio and film major at the Newhouse School.