Q: What do Quincy Jones, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Flying Lotus and a bunch of movie theatre janitors have in common?
A: They’re all fans of Louis Cole.
Confused? Don’t be. The Los Angeles based singer songwriter, producer and multi instrumentalist co-founded the alt pop/electro funk band Knower in 2009 and the band bagged a spot at a special “Quincy Jones presents” series of gigs for up and coming bands in LA. “I guess he thought our music was cool so he had us come over and we played some arrangements of ‘PYT’ and ‘Bad’ in his living room,” recalls Louis. “I guess it was kinda like an audition. I was there with my midi keyboard and he was eating guacamole and rocking out… there were literally three people in the room, it was totally surreal.”
The Chili Peppers expressed their admiration on their recent world tour where Louis found himself playing support slots in Mexico City and across Europe. “I had no idea why I’d been asked to do a Red Hot Chili Peppers tour and I was backstage in Rome at the gig still none the wiser as to why I was there,” laughs Louis. “And then Anthony Kiedis comes up to me, looks right at me and says ‘Yeh I love that ‘Bank Account’ song. It’s super funky.’”
He is right of course – ’Bank Account’ is super funky and it was a game changer for Louis. He uploaded a split screen video of him performing the song (sporting a customised McDonalds uniform shirt no less) to his YouTube channel in April 2017 and, propelled by the candid and relatable lyrics – “I don’t want to check my bank account. I’m too scared to check my bank account” – it went viral. So far it’s amassed 2 million + views, the vast majority of those by folks equally fearful of viewing their account balance.
“I honestly thought nobody was going to care about that song. I just put it up because I wanted to show people that I had been practicing keyboard,” he laughs. “I came up with that four chord progression and all I wanted to do in that moment was be good at that four chord progression… I didn’t care about anything else. Then I was driving to a gig and I just came up with those lyrics because they were absolutely true at that time.”
The runaway success of ‘Bank Account’ was in part, accidental, but Louis has a history of DIY film-making and uploading humorous performance videos to YouTube – it’s integral to his creative being – so it was really only a matter of time before he hit the jackpot. He says he was inspired by his friend Jack Conte (Pomplamoose) a singer-songwriter and entrepreneur who released the majority of his music as home studio split-screen performance videos (or as Jack refers to them – “Videosongs”) posted to YouTube. “Jack gave me this big pep talk in about 2009, basically saying: ‘You HAVE to pursue your music as a career!’ So I owe him a lot,” smiles Louis.
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