Interview by Paul Salfen
When it comes to success stories with newer artists, Louis the Child has a great one. Robby Hauldren, 23, and Frederic Kennett, 22, were just music-loving and leaning kids that met at a concert in Chicago and before Kennett was out of high school and Robby had barely graduated, they had a number one hit on the charts. They made collaborations with exciting artists like K. Flay, got noticed and mentioned by the likes of Taylor Swift and got to travel the world together and create as they had always dreamed while most of their peers were still trying to figure out which party to go to.
Now the duo is about to release their first full length album after a string of successful EPs and singles – right in the middle of a pandemic and unrest. But in hard times, positive music is embraced and it seems that the singles released so far show that they turned out to have great timing after all. Here For Now features a slew of guest spots from the likes of Foster the People, EARTHGANG, Quinn XCII, Chelsea Cutler, K. Flay, Duckwrth, Bob Moses, Drew Love, and an exciting new singer named Vera Blue. The positive, upbeat music should provide a great soundtrack for an otherwise odd summer.
But since the duo can’t play shows or festivals as planned, they are honing their craft and happy to talk about what’s sure to be one of the best releases of the summer.
AMFM Magazine: We’re excited to have you here to talk about the album today because it’s a crazy time in the world but music is sometimes what brings us together or keeps us together, right?
Robby Hauldren: Definitely.
Frederic Kennett: I hope so. In a lot of tough times in history, music has been a way to stay happy and I’m sure it’s going to continue to be that way again.
AMFM: Well, thank you for putting some good stuff out there. WHat has the feedback been like from the fans since they’re getting a good portion of it before the actual release?
FK: They seem to be really liking each song that we put out and they got excited about the album cover which got us extra excited about the album to see everyone else getting amped up about it. I’m excited because we have a lot of great songs on that album that I think that people are fans and some that haven’t been fans yet are going to like some of them. It seems that people are really digging it.
AMFM: You have some great collaborations on here. How did you work all of those out and narrow down what was probably a lot more of them?
RH: It usually comes down to timing. We have artists that we’re really excited about but it comes down to if they’re in LA, if they’re working on new music, if they’re on tour. Right now no one’s on tour so that’s not in the way but I feel like everyone is working on projects. Usually it just comes down to timing, who we can get in the studio with and then what our favorite songs are and whichever ones – it’s the song first. We’re open to working with anyone that we’re like, “They’re making good stuff, let’s make some stuff.” We’re always excited to make new things with new people.
AMFM: And you’ve given us some new artists to be excited about.
FK: Yeah, EARTHGANG, Duckwrth, Vera Blue…we worked with Jon Bellion on the album and that’s a new collaboration. When I was in high school he put out The Definition, which was his second album or first official album. I’ve been following him a long time so it’s really cool to get to work with him and get in the room with him. Such a cool guy. And the Duckwrth and EARTHGANG collaborations were so much fun. Me and Rob both love EARTHGANG and their music so much. I found them years ago with their song “Meditate.” Love them. Then we got to work with some of our friends we got to work with before: Quinn XCII, Chelsea Cutler and always love to hang with them. Sometimes when you’re a musician, you’re busy and you only get to see them when you’re recording
RH: And K. Flay! Working with her is always such a cool thing. Loved making “It’s Strange” with her and to have another new song is really cool.
AMFM: What has your quarantine been like? Have you been able to do anything interesting or create something even newer?
FK: Lots of making new stuff and lots of practicing piano and voice and practicing drums.
Practicing the scales, reading a lot of poetry, working on a lot of poetry, and working on production so it’s nice to work on a few new skills to add to the list. And I’ve always read but I got myself a whole collection of poetry books to dive into. I’m practicing long tones and really getting my pitch in tune and getting my fingers faster on piano. It’s muscle training whether it’s your vocal cords, fingers, or arms for your drums. It’s so nice to have so much more time that’s just going to benefit how we sound in the future and the music we make and the quality. So now we get time to create but also do the stuff that I thought was too boring when I was younger that now I love.
AMFM: Do you have any insight on to when we might be getting more shows or will see more festivals? I’m assuming you would hear first given the offers that would come to you.
RH: We were supposed to be just now finishing up our tour but we had to move that to end of summer 2021 and that’s the next time we have shows for sure to do. That’s all we know at this point.
FK: Yeah, it doesn’t really seem like there’s going to be too many big gatherings for some time now.
AMFM: You have the coolest job in the world and a lot of people want to do what you do. What do you say to the kids that are looking up to you?
FK: For any skill, let’s say you look up to me and Rob and you want to be a music producer and a DJ – but it really goes for any skill: you have to really put in the time and learn as much as you can and understand the whole process of making a song and whatever your interest is. And like I’m talking about with these scales, putting in five hours a day practicing and then putting two or more hours into something that if you can’t practice, reading or picking up knowledge and learning what you’re going to do and then use what you’ve learned. Just constantly applying yourself every day and not losing sight of that dream and wanting to do whatever it is that you want to be good at. My other piece of advice would be to not look at what the image that some of the artists are and look into what went into making that happen for them because for no artist is it a walk in the park and then you just become the biggest thing ever. The higher you get, the more people are putting work in so you try not to get stressed about it as work and see it as fun but you do have to apply yourself in what you’re doing and try to be the best not by taking any shortcuts but taking the long way and really becoming the best.
RH: I’d add on that if you want to chase after the dream, I’d encourage you to surround yourself with like-minded people and get themselves ingrained in a culture that reinforces what they’re doing and helps them grow. I feel like a huge part of any artist’s success is the community that they build around them and the other artists they interact with – with them you’ll grow a lot faster.
FK: The internet is great: there are lots of people you can look up to on YouTube that are giving speeches and constantly putting up videos and putting up good knowledge and advice. There’s always a good place to learn.
AMFM: On Drew Pearson Live, we always ask people their Hail Mary Moment, the moment in their life or career where they just had to go for it and it worked out for them. I think you both would probably have a good one.
FK: For me, it was two years into high school and I had been focusing on making music only and after two years, I was like, “OK, am I going to go to college or try and make this work by the end of high school?” I’m sure that Hail Mary Moment was going into that third year and going, “OK, let’s just put in all the time into music. After I get home, I’m just gonna make and make and make and by the time I’m a senior, we’ll be doing something.” And, you know, it’s amazing: I worked on “Closer,” which ended up being a #1 for 12 weeks and I was a senior in high school when that came out so it worked out. The dream came true. I remember going to Lollapalooza when I was younger and being like, “I wanna play here so bad” and now…that’s the Hail Mary Moment. I guess just being halfway through school and not giving all the effort and maybe I should make this work.
RH: I’m a year older than Freddy so when he was a senior in high school, I was a freshman in college and definitely going into college, I had it in the back of my mind that, “Yo, let’s grow this thing into something where Freddy doesn’t have to go to college. Let’s really build this year to where this is our profession no questions asked hopefully we can support ourselves.” So we were like, let’s make sure our music is doing well enough to where we can live off of it at the end of this year.
AMFM: Thank you so much for your time today. Given the crazy times we’re in, would you like to leave us with a few good words since you seem to offer a lot of positivity?
RH: It’s so hard to touch on what’s going on in the world right now because it’s so heavy but I have a good feeling that the right type of change is coming and this is all in the name of good change.
FK: I would encourage our fans to be a part of the change. That’s what I would say. Stand up for what’s right.
Here For Now is available everywhere today. Tickets for the Austin performance at Stubbs Outdoor Amphitheater HERE
For more info on Louis the Child, visit LouisTheChild.com.