Sound Off: Louis the Child
Jul 13, 2020
Rising kings of EDM, Louis the Child are known for dominating music charts since 2015 with the dreamy, hit singles we all know and love, such as ‘It’s Strange,’ ‘Better Not’ and ‘Slow Down Love.’ The Chicago-native duo has been present in the electronic-dance scene for what seems like forever, which is why dedicated fans, new and old, have longly anticipated the unveiling of their debut album. Released on June 26th, Here For Now is an intentional 14 track record, proving all good things come to those who wait.
Opening with a 33-second radio host style introduction ‘Scooter’s Debut,’ listeners are welcomed into a world of tranquility and beauty — a happy place where “the birds are chirping” and “kids are smiling.” The chilling transition from the intro to the first lyrical track ‘Big Love (with EARTHGANG)’ doesn’t skip a beat, presenting the carpe diem theme Here For Now loudly manifests.
Members Robby Hauldren and Freddy Kennett place a heavy emphasis on the lyrics throughout the record, urging fans to “listen all the way through, and listen to the words.” Alongside thoughtful lyrics, every beat-drop, synth-wave, chord, and harmony is intended with the purpose of instilling the album’s message far beyond the audience’s ephemeral experience – to treasure the gift of simply being alive.
Here For Now comes at a time where togetherness is needed most. It serves as a mindset reminder to continually build on love with each passing day, because after all we’re only here, on Earth, for now.
Popular caught up with the two in this special Sound Off interview to discuss the production magic that occurs within the studio booth, Freddy and Robby’s friendship meet-cute, and a detailed glimpse into their premiere dance-pop masterpiece.
1. You just released your first-ever debut album. In three words, describe how you feel right now.
Feeling. Pretty. Great!
2. Tell us about the core message behind Here For Now.
It’s about realizing and appreciating the experience of being alive on Earth, and the beauty of being alive on Earth. Recognizing our impermanence and the realities all humans face that can bring us together. The fact that we’re all here (together!) for this short amount of time, and we all have the power to make this experience beautiful for ourselves and the people around us.
3. You instructed fans to listen to the album all the way through and to listen to the words. What lyrics, and from what song, come to mind that convey the message you want Here For Now to illustrate?
Each song takes the listener through our different takeaways from the fact that we’re all “here for now,” but the songs “Big Love” and “We All Have Dreams” are two that tap into the key idea(s) of Here For Now. In the song “Big Love” the chorus says “Here and now, I’mma say it real loud, it’s a new day, another spin gone round. Here for now, we alive right now. Stacking up big love till it’s over.” This felt like the perfect words for the beginning of the album. It nutshells the album’s ideas and turns them into a lifestyle mindset: Living in the moment, appreciating and finding joy in each new breath, each new day. Focusing on building love.
For the creation of “We All Have Dreams” we were mentally placing ourselves into a live show setting, and thinking, “what would I want all of these people to sing together? What words could bring out all of our similarities, make us feel vulnerable, and connected to each other?” The verses take us through a familiar human feeling of anxiety with uncertainty. Or at least a feeling of being unsettled in your life. “Do I have enough friends? Am I enough?” Definitely a lonely place. But by the chorus, we start turning those ideas around, being thankful for the friends we love, and feeling connected to humanity through the tough feelings each of us goes through in parallel.
4. Can you explain how a song usually comes together in the studio? Do you have a general idea for a sound or does it flow together organically?
Usually, we start out with chords and drums. Picking the right groove, drum samples, chords, synth sounds to get some inspiration flowing. We keep flowing and making new ideas until everyone seems pretty sold on the vibe, or until someone starts writing words to a section. Sometimes the production and the song get written together, and it all flows like magic, but sometimes we go back in and spend time reproducing, making new production sections, and re-flipping. We might rewrite words, or decide to write a new vocal to the production altogether. The best short way we could describe how a song gets created is by one cool idea inspiring the next complimentary idea. The best ideas happen in the moment almost magically where talent and luck meet.
5. You two initially met at a Madeon concert – and the rest is history! Can you each recall the first concert that was pivotal in your decision to pursue a career in electronic pop?
Robby: I saw Justice in 2012 at the Congress Theater in Chicago, and that was one of the most mind-blowing shows I’d ever seen. It completely changed how I viewed electronic music performance, and it’s potential. Their shows are still the best in electronic music, in my opinion.
Freddy: Lollapalooza, as a recurring event, gave me the love for music and the dream to make music at a high level. Modest Mouse, Kanye West, Rusko, Justice, Passion Pit, Skrillex, The Black Keys, Foster The People, Madeon, and a lot of the artists coming through Lolla.
6. I’m sure you’re eager to play these new songs live once it’s safe to do so. What do you love most about performing?
Just seeing how happy people are and feeling that connection with them through the music. We love going down to the barricade after shows and talking with people. Those are some of the most special moments of tour.
7. What can fans expect from the new stage production?
We did a tour this past fall where we completely changed our stage setup. We replaced our dueling DJ setup with drums, keyboards, and sample pads. We’re also singing live now. The energy is still high and fun like our DJ sets, but we’re playing the parts now and improvising more than we were able to before. Our next tour got postponed to late summer of 2021, so we have a lot of time to make tweaks, fit in the new album songs, and maybe change the setup a little to be even more exciting for us and everyone in the crowd.
8. LTC has undoubtedly accumulated a dedicated fan-following over the years. Do you have a memorable fan story you’d like to share?
We take a lot of 3D photos using these old 3D film cameras, and after our Coachella set in 2018, we met someone in the front row who had one and took a selfie with him. We never saw the photos or heard from him, but two years later, we ran into him at a Brownies & Lemonade show in LA and finally saw them. We’ve run into him at more shows since, shoutout David!
9. Last year you performed for your biggest crowd to date at Lollapalooza. Being from the Chicago area, how special was that hometown experience?
It was the coolest show ever! We were blown away by all the people, it was a beautiful day, and we went all out for it. We made a special Chicago intro to show our love for Chicago, and how much it’s inspired us, we brought out a choir, the Chicago Luvabulls, and we had a plane do skywriting above us during the show. Chicago as a city and Lollapalooza means a lot to the whole LTC team. It was an honor to play, and we couldn’t have been happier with the turnout. It made us tear up hearing so many people singing “Better Not” and seeing so many smiles.
10. You’ve crossed off performing at other music festival giants such as Bonnaroo, Coachella, and Austin City Limits. What other venues or festivals do you hope to check-off?
We’ve heard great things about Shambala and would love to play there someday. It’d be awesome to play some legendary spots in the US, like the Hollywood Bowl or Madison Square Garden. We’ve never played in Australia, so we’re really itching to get out there someday. We had some shows planned there, but COVID got in the way before it was all announced. One place we can’t wait to go back to is South America. We played the Lollapalooza festivals in Brazil, Argentina, and Chile a few years ago, and the crowds were so much fun. We don’t know when we’ll be back, but hopefully, it’s soon.
11. What song from the new record are you excited to perform live for the first time?
Gotta go with 3 songs: Big Love, We All Have Dreams, and Every Color. We’ve never played those ones live, and we have a feeling they’ll be big moments.
12. We love seeing K.Flay’s name return on yet another Louis the Child hit track. What is your relationship like with her and how did it begin?
We all grew up in the same area and went to the same high school but at different times. We first heard her through HypeMachine in 2013 or 2014 and were pretty obsessed with her album Life as a Dog. We started talking on Twitter and sent a bunch of ideas for her to write to. One of them turned into “It’s Strange!” We’ve since become great friends and big supporters of each other. She’s an incredible person and so down to earth. We’re so happy to have another song with her out in the world, and we couldn’t be happier with this song’s message.
13. Other collaborations on this record feature amazing artists such as Foster the People, Quinn XCII, Chelsea Cutler, and EARTHGANG – and that’s only to name a few! Who else do you hope to join musical forces with on future records?
Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West, Bon Iver, Remi Wolf, Jungle, Maggie Rogers, SZA, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Swae Lee. The list could really go on forever.
14. And lastly, what is something fans don’t know about Louis the Child?
We’re interdimensional travelers from a utopian planet made of dairy free banana based milkshakes, and back massages.
We’ll be counting down the days until we can sing, rejoice and dance together again at Louis the Child’s Here For Now 2021 Tour. Until then, stream the debut album, Here For Now, available everywhere.