They Grow Up So Fast: Louis The Child Graduates To The Big Time
Louis The Child’s journey from high school students simply making music they love to a full-fledged international touring act has been relatively short, but now with years of touring experience and a debut album on the way, the duo is quickly advancing to the head of its class of contemporary electronic artists.
After meeting at a Madeon concert in 2013, Robby Hauldren, now 23, and Frederic Kennet, now 22, formed Louis The Child, taking the name from a random article search on Wikipedia. While studying at New Trier High School in Winnetka, Ill., they lit up the local live scene.
In those early years the two figured out how to blend their approaches to music as Hauldren learned from YouTube and family jam sessions while Kennet had more classroom exposure to production software.
Louis The Child began uploading remixes to its SoundCloud and released the single “It’s Strange” in 2015 as Hauldren was starting his first year at the University of Southern California. That single was featured on the FIFA 16 soundtrack in September of that year and got a shoutout from Taylor Swift via a playlist in October.
Momentum kept building and LTC was soon offered opening slots for some of their biggest musical heroes, including Porter Robinson, Flume, and Madeon himself. Kennet finished high school, Hauldren suspended his studies, the two took their first headline tour in 2016 and haven’t looked back since.
“When I heard ‘It’s Strange,’ I knew it was a hit, but I didn’t think they had found their own sound yet,” the band’s agent, Paradigm’s Jay Moss, told Pollstar. “I could tell within that there was more to it. I just had this gut instinct that there was something more in them than that.”
Moss, who also represents Odesza, heard enough potential in Louis The Child to fly out to Chicago and take a several-hour breakfast meeting with the duo’s families, who grilled him about his intentions and approach.
Moss started working on a long-term strategy for Louis, making sure they moved through each size of venue in the major North American markets and got on festivals and smaller stages in Europe – where the duo is booked by Michael Harvey Bray and Nick Matthews at CODA – Asia, Australia and South America.
“I try to get my artists [overseas] as early as possible. … The bigger you get, the more money you need. The earlier you can get out there and expand to other territories – to Asia in particular, which is just such a massive, emerging market for dance music in particular – the better off you are in the long term,” Moss said.
“Once you start getting really big fees in one territory, it’s sometimes hard to get artists to wrap their heads around a fee [or venue size] that’s 10 percent of that elsewhere. … It takes trips over there to build a fan base. You can’t be doing arenas here and just expect to go over to Japan and be able to do an arena there.”
Louis The Child certainly has been busy, domestically and abroad. Just in terms of festivals, since 2016 the pair has played at Lollapaloozas in the U.S., Chile and Argentina; Electric Daisy Carnivals in Las Vegas and Japan; two Coachellas, multiple editions of Holy Ship!, and single appearances at dozens of festivals, including Okeechobee, Pukkelpop, HARD Summer, Austin City Limits, Outside Lands, and Bonnaroo. And that’s not to mention their international headline runs.
The duo’s biggest reports last year were co-headline dates in North America with Big Wild, which included a $376,398 gross Dec. 6 at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco and a $359,474 gross Dec. 1 at WaMu Theater in Seattle.
In terms of solo shows, LTC grossed $68,000 over two nights at Roseland Theater in Portland, Ore., Nov. 29-30 and earned $86,400 over two nights at 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C., Nov. 14-15.
As for what those LTC shows feel like, Kennet told Pollstar: “We have a great idea of the type of emotional impact we want to make on the crowd and that really matters more than the size of the room,” Kennet said. “We want to create a feeling of connection between everyone around you and a lack of anxiety. And we want to make it as beautiful, big and extravagant as we can.”
Musically, Moss said he already started seeing the potential realized when LTC put out “Better Not” in 2018, a song “that was really authentic and just screamed Louis The Child. [That song] was their coming out party. This song that is a massive hit, is about to go gold.”
The audience has certainly grown: the duo now boasts more than 4 million monthly listeners on Spotify.
Louis is currently working on giving that listener base its first full-length album. Despite widespread proclamations that EDM is dead, Kennet said he is excited about creating a full artistic statement as an electronic artist.
“What excites me about electronic music now is that unique artists that are trying to do something different and push the envelope are really getting the shine they deserve,” Hauldren added. “When the boom of electronic music happened, there was plenty of music that all sounded the same. It’s really awesome to see Odesza, Porter Robinson, Flume – these album artists that are putting together interesting bodies of work and forward thinking shows – are what’s rising to the top.”
LTC hopes to contribute to the growth of electronic music in 2019 and 2020 with the album and a global touring schedule that already includes a sold out engagement at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colo., July 11 and a large-print headline slot at Ultra in Miami