Louis the Child returns to headline Belly Up Aspen | AspenTimes.com

Louis the Child returns to headline Belly Up Aspen

Louis the Child performing at X Games Aspen on Saturday.
Louis the Child performing at X Games Aspen on Saturday.


What: Louis the Child

Where: Belly Up Aspen

When: Friday, July 12, 10 p.m.

How much: $95-$195

Tickets: Belly Up box office; bellyupaspen.com

When Louis the Child played the opening notes of “Better Not” in January at the X Games music festival, the sell-out crowd of some 5,000 fans let out a collective roar. What seemed like 5,000 cellphone cameras went up in the air, and hundreds of fans hopped on one another’s shoulders. All the way up the hillside at the temporary Buttermilk music venue, small squadrons of revelers broke out into dance circles.

With that kind of fevered response to Louis the Child’s runaway 2018 hit, the Chicago-based DJ duo could have made the performance a lazy build-up to one explosive moment with their massive hit. They could have, but they didn’t.

Louis the Child’s Robby Hauldren and Freddy Kennett aren’t those kinds of artists. They’re aiming to do something more with their genre-hopping, feel-good spin on EDM and the uniquely personal relationship they’re building with fans and the community that’s growing around their music.

In an interview before that show, Kennett described the Louis the Child mission as “trying to connect people, create happy moments, make it not about me and Robby but about what kinds of connections we can make with other people and how we can help them realize what is making them happy and what is making them sad.”

See them live and you see what he means. With that kind of connection to fans, it’s no wonder they were the first band ever to sell out an afternoon show at X Games. The duo will return to Aspen to headline Belly Up — where they also played a late, intimate show over X Games weekend — tonight, the day after headlining Red Rocks Amphitheatre.

Hauldren and Kennett began making music together when they were barely teenagers. They posted remixes and original EDM tracks on Soundcloud, and built some underground buzz around the city. Their 2015 breakout hit as Louis the Child, “It’s Strange,” came out when Hauldren was a freshman at the University of Southern California and Kennett was still in high school.

A few years later, they’re one of the hottest acts in pop music, riding on the success of last year’s EP “Kids at Play.” The duo’s sunny, uplifting sound was born out of teenage angst. But rather than wallow in the darkness, Hauldren and Kennett sought to find light and hope in their genre-hopping style.

“A lot of the music I was making then was stress relief and healing for myself,” Kennett explained of those early days in a recent phone interview. “And then that helped to reach people, because they felt that healing.”

Their melodic signature is a bright, distorted synthesizer sound that they harness to uplifting effect, making feel-good music that rejects the aggressive strand of EDM that was dominating the genre until the relatively recent emergence of tropical house and more cheerful Generation Z producers like Hauldren and Kennett.

Louis the Child is coming off an explosive 2018 that included the release of the nine-song “Kids at Play” and saw their “Better Not” collaboration with the vocalist Wafia become one of the biggest hits of the year. The track has racked up more than 110 million streams on Spotify.

“It feels wild,” Hauldren said of their stratospheric ascent in pop music. “We’ve accomplished a lot of things we’ve dreamt of accomplishing. At the same time, we understand that this is another building block to getting where we want to be. … It’s really awesome, but we’re everyday grinding to make better music and keep delivering on that level.”