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Louis The Child has arrived: The Chicago duo are now one of electronic music’s biggest rising stars

When Robby Hauldren and Freddy Kennett of Louis The Child performed at Eugene’s WOW Hall in December 2016, they were just another promising electronic music duo. That night, the duo filled the cramped, sweaty concert hall with a variety of trap remixes and house beats through their two-hour performance. But the show was marred by a lack of energy as the Chicago musicians were forced to perform without their pyrotechnics because their equipment truck was stranded in a snowstorm. Even without a full stage show, the young duo’s natural talent showed they had the potential for stardom.

On Dec. 6, almost a year after their first Eugene visit, Louis The Child performed in front of a nearly-sold-out McDonald Theatre with a host of rotating lights, ceiling to floor LED screens and heavy-duty CO2 cannons. Hauldren and Kennett had experienced a year of exponential growth, both in popularity and as musicians. The hopeful up-and-comers had transformed themselves into bonafide stars.

“Stuff is changin’,” Hauldren told the Emerald. “The whole tour in general has been a huge step up in every way for us. Our production is a lot bigger, we have a bigger team and I personally think the whole music part of the show is a lot better than the past sets.”

Indeed, stuff changed for Louis The Child in 2017.

The duo released two singles and a handful of remixes in 2016 after touring for the majority of the year, but 2017 was their biggest year yet. In February, Hauldren and Kennett opened the third leg of Madeon and Porter Robinson’s “Shelter” European tour —  a significant personal achievement for the duo as they first met at a Madeon concert in Chicago.

In late March, Louis The Child released the “Love Is Alive” EP. The six-song EP features three new tracks and three previously issued singles. The release showcases their knack for blending musical genres. Some songs mix hip-hop with light synths, grooving bass and soft drum pads while others follow more traditional electronic-pop verse-build-drop arrangements.

Kennett sings on “Go,” marking the first time the duo featured their own leading vocals on a song. The duo quickly recorded the track in a Los Angeles studio last year. Just as they were about to finish their first session and break for dinner, Kennett started playing the song’s riff on a synthesizer. And by the time the next artist who had booked the studio showed up, Hauldren and Kennett had finished writing the song.

“It was just cool ’cause we just sat there and wrote it, both of us together,” Hauldren said. “Nobody else was involved really, which is a good feeling — when no one else is there to chime in.”

Hauldren and Kennett are almost always on the same page, though it might be difficult to see just by looking at them. Tall and lean, Hauldren stands above Kennett like a skinny giant. Hauldren has short, curly hair that is usually hidden under a Louis The Child dad hat; Kennett’s hair is long and unkempt. While Kennett’s stage attire often includes a jersey from one of Chicago’s professional sports teams, Hauldren prefers overalls and a t-shirt.

Though they might appear vastly different, the similarities are there. Kennett and Hauldren are constantly predicting the other’s next move while on stage. And in the studio, an idea by one often sparks ten more from the other. They build and benefit from each other, and their music thrives from this symbiosis. Their songs are cohesive and coherent, a crucial aspect to their recent rise in popularity as that ability has separated them from the field of electronic musicians.

And with popularity comes demand. The duo hit the road following the release of their EP and haven’t looked back. Their 2017 “Last to Leave” tour spanned across North America, a brief European tour and stops at some of the nation’s most popular summertime music festivals such as Electric Daisy Carnival and Bumbershoot. As the venues grew in size, so did the support from fans.

“It’s been fun to go into bigger rooms and still have the same kind of energy that people have always had and see that people are connecting with the music in the way we’ve always wanted them to,” Hauldren said. “That’s that shit you dream of — hearing people sing all the words. It’s like, finally, it’s happening!”

While festivals offer the duo an opportunity to win over new fans, Hauldren says that smaller venues, such as the McDonald Theatre, often lead to a more authentic Louis The Child experience.

“These people are here for us, so we can take our time and build it the way that we really want to build it and give people certain songs at certain times — give them these moments and take them on more of a ride,” Hauldren said. “I’d like to think [people] care more at our shows than maybe at a festival where some of the crowd may have never heard of us.”

Now that the year is over the duo’s touring schedule is more relaxed, allowing them to focus more on recording and releasing an album. Hauldren said Louis The Child will drop its debut album in 2018, hoping for a summertime release. They currently have a private playlist of about 30 songs they are considering for the album, but they are still writing more.

Fans will have to wait on the album, but Hauldren promised that Louis The Child will release more new music before it drops. They released their most recent single, “Last To Leave,” the Friday following their show in Eugene. “The plan is to come out swinging in 2018 and just drop a bunch of music; we’ve been sitting on a lot of stuff for a while,” Hauldren said.

At only 21 and 20 years old, Hauldren and Kennett have many years ahead of them in which they can continue to learn and develop as musicians. Hauldren admits that it’s hard to know exactly where their musical careers will take them, but he and Kennett still have aspirations for Louis The Child to make it to the top.

“It’s definitely a goal for us to be playing arenas, have songs on the radio, have number one songs, win Grammys — the whole thing. ’Cause why not?” Hauldren said. “Dream big and aim for it. We feel we’re up to the challenge and if we fall short, at least we fuckin’ tried.”

Follow Zach Price on Twitter: @zach_price24

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Zach Price

Zach Price

Zach Price is the Editor in Chief of the Emerald. He likes to write about music and watch Trail Blazer games.

Reach Zach at [email protected]