Song of the Day: The Knocks Bring the HEAT with Help from Sam Nelson Harris of X Ambassadors


If you are at all familiar with NYC-based act The Knocks, then you know that all summer they had a new single that has been lighting up live shows, but its release has been delayed due to industry roadblocks. Today the wait is over as Ben Ruttner (Ben Roc or BRoc) and James Patterson (JPatt) finally unveiled “HEAT (feat. Sam Nelson Harris).”

2016 has been a big year for The Knocks as over a half-decade of work has started to show real dividends for the guys. When I first interviewed them in 2014 they talked about how the electronic industry spends too much time chasing musical fads instead of just making good music. The Knocks focus on creating high energy music that takes cues from everything from deep house to disco to funk. What seems to give their music an edge is the hundreds of hours they have racked up DJing in clubs all over NYC, and their early investment in their own Heavy Roc Studios nestled in New York’s Chinatown. If real people don’t want to get down to a track whats the point of recording it?

With dedication to the craft has come increasing success. Just this year in SF they sold out three weeknights at The Independent and played for a monster crowd at Outside Land’s Twin Peak Stage. Currently they are playing sold out stadiums in Europe as openers for Justin Bieber.

“HEAT” is a testament to another one of The Knocks’ strong suits, the ability to find and elevate amazing collaborators. They are one of the great connectors of the NYC music scene, and chances are if you like an indie or upcoming act from New York they have spent some time with The Knocks. For example The Knocks actually signed St. Lucia to their first record deal and helped propel them to a headlining act and have recently been working with Wyclef. With “HEAT”, they team up with Sam Nelson Harris, who is best known as the lead singer of X Ambassadors and has one of the best voices going in the pop world. Fans might  also remember Sam from earlier single “Comfortable.”

With “HEAT,” we hear the honey of Sam’s voice which has made X Ambassadors a mainstream hit paired with the unmistakable production quirks and dance floor energy that make The Knocks one of the best live electronic experiences going. If you want to see “HEAT” live they will be at SNOWGLOBE in Tahoe for New Years, and will probably have a few SF dates announced around early 2017.

Photo: Bob Patterson