You can’t really hear it in their music, but Robby Hauldren and Freddy Kennett grew up in the Chicago area skateboarding and watching extreme sports on TV. If you think about the type of music associated with the X Games, sounds of aggressive rock or pop-punk guitar riffs might zip into your head. But today, it’s the sunny, almost video-gamey sounds of Louis the Child that soundtrack those events.
Hauldren and Kennett met at a Madeon concert and started DJing together at small venues in 2013. Their breakthrough single was the 2017 K. Flay collaboration “It’s Strange,” which has become ubiquitous in the last year thanks to a flashy Nissan commercial. It turns out LTC’s uplifting and catchy style is just as natural a fit for the X Games; the duo headlined the Aspen games in January with Kygo, The Chainsmokers and Lil Wayne and then released “Big Time,” a bouncy track with samples from past competitions that served as the official X Games anthem heading into last week’s Minneapolis games.
Louis the Child has quickly become one of the next generation of acts that has helped shift the EDM landscape from darker, industrial-influenced sounds to twinkly bliss-pop sonics, trailing Zedd, The Chainsmokers and Marshmello. Last year’s EP Kids at Play yielded their biggest hit yet, “Better Not,” featuring Wafia, which peaked at No. 12 on the Billboard Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart last summer. Eight of the nine songs from Kids at Play have streamed in the tens of millions.
Their fast-rising ways earned them a spot on the residency roster at KAOS at the Palms this year, where they’ll return to the booth on Friday night after last weekend’s hometown spin at Lollapalooza. They’ll be back in Las Vegas in September for Life Is Beautiful, playing on the first of three nights with hot-right-now headliners Billie Eilish and Chance the Rapper.
“We’ve accomplished a lot of things we’ve dreamt of accomplishing,” Hauldren told the Aspen Times early this year. “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 grinding to make better music and keep delivering on that level.”
LOUIS THE CHILD August 9, 10:30 p.m., $20-$30. KAOS, 702-953-7665.