Earlier this month, I was checking Twitter (as I often do every minute of my waking life), and I saw The Knocks tweet that Apple was featuring them in the New Artist Spotlight on iTunes. I found this pretty funny, and I’m sure B-Roc (Ben Ruttner) and JPatt (James Patterson) had a little chuckle as well. For guys that have been putting out music and touring for over five years it must seem a little silly to be called a “new artist.” But even in a world where labels are turning out new 20 year old “DJs” every week, there are artists in the grind working on a unique sound. So far 2015 is looking like it might be huge for The Knocks.
The duo creates electronic music infused with disco licks, funky beats and deep house kicks. Like fashion styles, music is often cyclical, the 80s are back and funk is on the rise. If you distilled the past four decades of dance music into the best elements, what you would be left with is The Knocks. They call it retro-futurism and I guess I can get behind that term. It’s a style they have been perfecting for the past five-plus years and, while the music hasn’t changed drastically from “Dancing With The DJ” in 2010 to “Collect My Love” in 2015, the world is more hungry for the sound.
Their first full album is expected this summer, but they already have several successful EP’s under their belt. The most recent EP is So Classic, featuring several new tracks and last year’s late summer jam with POWERS, “Classic.” Good things are starting to happen for The Knocks around this EP. Part of me knows it’s because they just signed with the Atlantic Records family, but it’s also due to the work they have put in. For example, “Classic” just became the song for a new Victoria’s Secret ad campaign (I watch the ads for the music).
It’s hard not to root for The Knocks. The more you learn about them the more you see how much they work day in and day out. Whether hitting the studio to collaborate with half of NYC, playing NYC clubs till 4am or touring colleges, they put in the long hours. It’s not just about showing up and pressing play, they sing and play instruments at live shows, and always get the fans involved. They will get half the crowd up on stage with them to dance or find some fans house to DJ the after party. These guys don’t forget who the music is really for. Beyond their original tracks they put out some great remixes and hours worth of mixes you can find on their Soundcloud.
For those lucky enough to have picked up tickets before it sold out last month, The Knocks return to San Francisco next Thursday at The Independent with new tracks and a new light show. They are also doing a late night DJ Set at Audio which should be fun as well. If you can get ahold of a ticket they put on a show you won’t forget. Check out our pictures and review of their show at the Independent last July here.