In January 2024, Louis Tomlinson will start the Australian leg of his Faith In The Future world tour. So far, Louis has toured Asia, USA, Europe, and will start on the UK leg in Dublin on the 8th of November 2023, playing to packed venues of ecstatic fans. Now that the Australian leg is nearing, it only makes sense for Louis to do some promotional interviews. Therefore, when Smallzy tweeted that Louis would be appearing on his show on Nova Radio to do just that, fans were excited to tune in.
Louis had appeared on Smallzy’s show back in September 2022 when he was discussing his experience with lockdown and writing Bigger Than Me, the first single released from his Faith In The Future album. Although the segment was only about 10 minutes long, the questions were insightful, covering Louis’ experience with lockdown, his process in writing Bigger Than Me, and delving into the meaning behind the song itself. With this in mind, fans were eager to tune in this time, especially since the advertising tweet explicitly stated that Louis would be ‘taking over the show’. Smallzy even retweeted his own post with the alert that Louis was ‘taking over the show NOW! Tune in,’ basically ensuring that droves of Louis’ fans would immediately head to the link in the description to listen to what was sure to be an amazing show.
However, it would seem that the statement ‘taking over the show’ was a bit of a push, as many disgruntled fans quickly found out.
Louis didn’t make an appearance on the show until 7.47pm – 47 minutes after fans were told to tune in. Not once during that time, were listeners told that Louis wouldn’t be on for a while, but instead Smallzy kept them waiting with phrases such as ‘soon’ and ‘next on the show’. Finally, when Louis’ segment arrived, it wasn’t live as was advertised. Instead, fans listened to a pre-recorded show split into three sections, each a couple of minutes long, and the whole interview lasting approximately 10 minutes. As fans listened, they took to different platforms of social media to share how they felt they had been misled. @Johaishome stated:
‘It was definitely false advertising for the Smallzy interview…they kept saying he was taking over and co-hosting which implied he’d be choosing songs and talking about songs when really he was talking in small clips and had no choice over the songs, and they kept saying to listen live, when it was pre-recorded.’
After a brief introduction and chit-chat, Smallzy played Just Hold On, which was a collaboration with Steve Aoki in December 2016, which would make the song 7 years old this December. This seemed to surprise and even infuriate fans, as @caffeinette, a fan who tuned in for the interview, tweeted once the segment had ended:
‘Just Hold On tells new listeners literally nothing about the artist Louis is now. He’s there to promote FITF and his Australian tour. Why are you playing his first song from 2017 that isn’t even on the setlist?’
This frustration was echoed across X (formally known as Twitter), as this song was from so long ago, had nothing to do with the tour that was being promoted, and clearly not indicative of his current sound and era of musical creativity.
There was some brief chit-chat about Louis touring as a solo artist as opposed to the band, as well as a mention of Louis’ documentary All Of Those Voices. Here, Louis was asked how it felt to be filmed in his personal life for the film content and if there were things which had to be cut from the final edit, all of which Louis answered with his usual candour and humour. These sections were very brief and left fans feeling robbed of the opportunity to find out more from Louis on these subjects if propper questions and attention had been spent.
One good thing to come from the ‘takeover’ was when Smallzy asked Louis about his experience of the barricade part of his shows. First, Smallzy asked Louis if he planned on doing the barricade moment at the Australian shows and also if he was aware that a fan had framed the shirt that was ripped off him (the first time it happened.) Louis responded in fond amusement, stating:
‘It’s by far my favourite part of the show. I mean you feel, as I said to you before from that many walk-out to stage, you feel that adrenaline. But literally the closer you get to the crowd, the more of that adrenaline you feel and by the end of the show, yeah I get down in the pit and just kind of immerse myself. That feeling is absolutely amazing so yeah, I’m really looking forward to these moments in the Aussie shows, for sure.’
Next, Smallzy asked, ‘ever thought you were gonna die,’ drawing attention to how ‘passionate’ fans can sometimes be in the moment. Louis responded:
‘It’s a funny one cause – there’s a line, right, I kind of like it in there and it feeling a little bit rough, I like it. That’s part of it. But when they start ripping my clothes off, mate, it gets a little bit on top, you know? But yeah. It is what it is.’
This was thought of by many fans who tuned in as the best thing to come from the interview, as Louis finally got to directly address the behaviour of some fans at the barricade. He clearly stated that he loves that part of the show and doesn’t mind things getting a little rough, but that there’s a line between being a little rough and being aggressive. He even went on to elaborate, stating he had bruising from where a fan had grabbed him at a recent show.
Finally, Smallzy ended the segment and later posted on X (formally known as Twitter) that the full interview video could be found on his Youtube channel. (The link for the video can be found at the end of this article.)
The segment seemed short and the abrupt ending seemed to confuse fans, with many taking to social media to discuss the content or lack of. @Ivy_loves_Louis, another fan who tuned in specifically for the segment, said ‘I was expecting Louis to introduce his favourite songs and maybe a few of his own – giving some commentary on each. I could have done without the hosts singing and doing a whole skit audition as his warm up act.’
In between ‘takeover’ sections, fans expected to hear songs from the Faith In The Future album or even from the tour set list. However, Smallzy played songs from other artists, one being As It Was by what Smallzy called ‘your good mate, Harry,’ (which understandably caused some mild clowning all over social media), and then song by other artists who had nothing to do with Louis or even the general sound of his album. There was one advertising mash-up made of three of Louis’ songs – Two Of Us, Bigger Than Me, and Miss You – which was played once at the start of the segment, but this only lasted approximately 10 seconds and that was all. This decision by Smallzy and Nova was interesting to say the least and caused fans to feel upset and speculate as to why this might be the case.
One such theory was that Louis could be blacklisted from mainstream radio. This theory could have some potential to its validity, as other artists who have been involved in this type of segment on Smallzy’s show have had their recent songs played. However, as stated above, only one of Louis’ songs was played in full and it had nothing to do with his recent music. @28satellitelou, a fan since 2012, commented on this:
‘The thing that frustrates me is that you can’t deny that if Lewis Capaldi released Chicago or Holding On To Heartache as singles instead of our Louis, then they would have been played over and over and over and be on the top 20 list. Genuinely frustrating and makes me feel powerless against the industry.’
Louis has spoken about the politics of radio play before in his interview with Zach Sang in September 2022, stating:
‘There’s so much, I don’t want to call it bullshit, but there’s so much mystery in my life. Let’s say a radio station will say ‘if you come in and do this interview for us, we might play your record.’ And then they don’t.’
Here, he talked about radio stations not upholding their promises of promoting a single or an album in exchange for an interview, which the station is aware would get them a boost in listeners. Louis’ fans in particular are incredibly passionate and supportive of him and if he does a radio show, they make a huge effort to tune in.
However, whether Louis is blacklisted or not, there did seem to be a level of false advertisement for the segment and fans were quick to point this out. As @Johaishome stated previously, the fans were misled, being promised one thing and being given another. This sentiment was echoed by @MoreThan_AHAbit, who commented:
‘So many of us getting up hours early to plan to listen to have it be 47 minutes late when it wasn’t even live to begin with was just disrespectful of listeners’ time. I was up for almost 20 hours yesterday, getting up to listen and then doing a 12 hour shift. Nothing from FITF played yet they were promoting the tour there was ridiculous.”
At the end of the day, the interview certainly got people talking about Louis and the upcoming tour leg in Australia. However, it’s unfortunate that most of that talk was centred on how Louis’ team and the radio station failed Louis and let fans down. This was a perfect opportunity for listeners to learn more about the type of artist Louis is and to discover his current sound, an opportunity that many feel the radio wasted.