Chicago-bred DJ duo Louis the Child—Robby Hauldren and Freddy Kennett—has become one of the hottest acts around in recent years, thanks to a diverse discography of dance music as lush as it is experimental. The Weekly caught up with both artists to discuss new release Euphoria and more.
You performed an explosive set here in October at EDC. What was it like being back after such a long time? Kennett: It was so cool. We love Las Vegas EDC. It’s so special with the race track and everything, and we were so happy to be back and to see everyone’s faces again. Both EDCs we played, Las Vegas and Orlando, were both really fun. EDC is such a special event, and we’re super happy to be a part of it. And yeah, super weird to be back after a year and a half in COVID. It’s still a readjustment, and it still feels like we’re not fully back yet. I feel like we have yet to achieve that feeling of 110% but it was amazing to be back regardless.
You guys definitely looked like you were giving a 110% onstage. It was nice to see you dancing and raving as much as your fans.Hauldren: We’ll always perform at 110%. We gotta be having the most fun. Every great performer knows they’ve gotta be [there]. There can’t be someone in the crowd who’s loving it more than you. If that’s happening, there’s something wrong. I hate seeing DJs who look like they’re not having fun onstage.
At EDC, you performed your October EP, Euphoria, which was inspired by 2009-2012 dance music. What was it about that time that made you want to bring it back? Kennett: We were in the COVID break, and also, after a few years of electronic music evolving, we felt like the years that inspired our whole career started to be so far in the past that we wanted to make it a little bit more modern, to keep it relevant. We also were just sitting at home, thinking about how cool were these days of going to Lollapalooza and Spring Awakening, and this new completely different style of music was being played and kids were dancing and having a good time. All those memories came back to us when we were just sitting on the couch, alone, because [at the time, our situation] was so opposite. We wanted to bring that energy back once things did open again, and we felt like there would be this euphoric feeling of, here we are, we’re back, we made it through.
This EP sounds a bit more mature, like a deeper house and bass record. It’s that style of 2009-2012 but grown up. Kennett: And we have full songs where it’s verse, chorus and has the extra writing parts that make it a full song, whereas, back in the day, the songs that we were referencing would just have maybe a verse, and then the buildup is just the looped part of the end of the verse, or just the chorus. It changes the vibe of the original inspiration.
Did you play a part in writing for this EP? Kennett: We wrote “Waiting to Feel Like This.” “Keep on Moving” too.
Hauldren: “Hate You Cause I Don’t.”
Kennett: But then there were also ones where in the pandemic, we were having artists send us a song here and there. “So What” was one where A R I Z O N A sent it to us, and we [felt] this song is so beautiful, we’ve just got to produce around it. It ended up really fitting the Euphoria project. So it’s kind of here and there, whatever works, and then whatever fits into the project well. We always like to play a heavy hand in writing or constructing.
Euphoria definitely evokes a sense of elation. How did you get into a mental state to consistently produce that feeling? Hauldren: We wrote “Waiting to Feel Like This,” with Alexander 23, and we literally were like, let’s imagine we’re at Lollapalooza in a couple months when the world is back open again. What’s that feeling going to be? What are you going to want to hear when you’re back in a crowd with all your friends? Alexander’s from Chicago, so we all united around this idea of putting ourselves back at the music festival we all had been going to for years.
Kennett: I’ll also just say a lot of it comes from going through all of the emotions you feel and making a song that fits for when you feel a little bit more funky, and a song that fits for when you’re a little more sad. When you do feel that strike of excitement and grit, and you have the tools, just letting your emotions come through. Then you make that one that feels big and grand and perfect. You put it out, and you feel like, this is the one that represents what I want to feel all the time.
Your 2018 track “Better Not” has been streamed more than 200 million times. Why do you think it still resonates? Kennett: It has a great drop, [and] it has a really meaningful and powerful chorus. Wafia’s voice is great. It’s sometimes difficult to make a song that’s super meaningful strike through in [this] day and age. A lot of watered-down things get blown up to No. 1. To me, that song’s about loving more than just one thing. It’s about the love you have for what you do every day and the love you have for the people around you, whether it’s a relationship or something that’s not a person. It’s great to have something that’s so meaningful be so successful.
How is the Zouk residency going so far? Hauldren: We’ve played in Vegas a couple of times, but this is the first time it feels like the crowd really is there to see us. Other times, it felt like we’re just the DJ for the night and the crowd isn’t totally there to hear our stuff. This is the first time where people are flashing little signs on their phone, asking for certain songs. We’ve pushed ourselves a lot more trying to find new music and put on the best, most fun, on-the-fly show we can. We basically freestyle almost the entire show every time, but it’s fun to … try out a bunch of new stuff, and have these things we’re excited to play.
It’s nice that you switch it up since we have so many visitors coming through town. Hauldren: Yeah, and I feel like if we’re going to be playing there once a month next year, that’s the best way to keep it fun for ourselves. To have this thing we can look forward to. If we were just playing the same exact thing every time we’d get bored.
Kennett: Like you said, there’s so many different types of people that come through. And we’re just the type of people that don’t just solely listen to one genre. We’re searching through everything, so it’s nice to have situations as a DJ, or as an artist, where you can just play.
When you’re not producing your own stuff, what are you guys normally listening to? Hauldren: Oh man, everything. Been listening to a lot of Baby Keem lately. The new Keys N Krates album is really good.
Kennett: Earl Sweatshirt’s great. There’s a new one called 2010 that’s awesome. Just a lot of different stuff. This song “Ozu” by Gotts Street Park is really pretty. Ross from Friends is great, the song “The Daisy.” Just everything we can find but also playlists of like “December Jazz,” that’s what I like to call it, where it’s just the chillest, most calming jazz. Just piano and a brush drum kit and stuff. But then also trying to find modern electronic music and re-listening to favorites, always circulating what we’re listening to [and] stay inspired in different ways. Cashmere Cat’s always an inspiration, too.
Now that Euphoria’s out, are you hopping back into more production or taking a little break? Hauldren: We’ve got a couple more singles and we’re working on a new beat tape to hopefully drop next year. We’re always working on stuff. I feel like we don’t ever pause really. We’re always trying to do new stuff, create new stuff and then figure out when the right time is to release it.
LOUIS THE CHILD December 11, 10 p.m., $30-50. Zouk Nightclub, zoukgrouplv.com
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