Before they were a super-successful DJ duo signed to Atlantic Records, producing beats for artists such as Britney Spears, Katy Perry, Ellie Goulding, Marina & The Diamonds, among others, Ben “B-Roc” Ruttner and James “JPatt” Patterson were just two teenagers with some really great AIM screen names.
“Mine was MJPattWasLike,” James told us when we met with both him and Ben two weeks ago at the Atlantic Records offices. “It would actually probably still be there if I signed on now.”
“Mine was like the default they just gave you,” Ben admitted.
It’s okay Ben, your creative genius just needed more time to blossom is all.
20something sat down with the duo before they played Thursday evening’s Big Beat Summer Series BBQ at Big Beat Records headquarters. Ben and James came into the room with swag on par with what you would expect from world-traveling musicians, but were also chill AF to talk to.
20something: I saw, while stalking your Instagram, that you recently went to the Taylor Swift concert. How was that?”
BR: It was incredible. I’ve never been to a show like that…just so many tears. There was also no beer line because everyone was under 21…we got a lot of beer.
Aside from attending stadium shows for leading pop stars, the boys have been up to quite a lot, including the wrap up of their debut album, set to release the first week of October.
The Knocks are very careful not to pigeonhole themselves into any genre, something they do very well by collaborating with a wide spectrum of artists. They did inform us that the new album veers on the side of pop, is more vocal leaning, and that the next single to be released will go on Top 40 radio.
But, of course, there’s also some gospel in there.
BR: We brought in a gospel choir for this one track, and were in the studio with them and they were like, ‘So how do you want the genre?’ and I was like, ‘Ya know, make it mad churchy.’ “
Speaking of collabs, they recently worked with Fetty Wap, who lent his rapping skills to their single “Classic.” The track will be coming out as a remix soon, and we got to hear the track later that night at the BBQ, and you guys, it’s really good.
Hopefully soon the boys will land their dream collaboration, even at the expense of many future internet memes.
BR: I want to work with Kanye.
JP: I want to work with Kanye like four years ago. New Kanye is too Kardashian for me.
BR: I want to work with the new Kanye and tell him to bring back the old Kanye.
P R E A C H.
Most notably, however, when we asked them to describe their sound by using a adjective they would use to describe food, the duo landed on ‘chocolatey,’ and we have to say, we kind of agree.
When they’re not making insanely amazing tracks, The Knocks can be found DJing many a late night party, which is something they do as Ben stated, “Because we like to party.”
However, after they completely killed our first ever #20somethingchallenge, we’re a bit convinced they might also spend some time jamming out to 90s tunes on the reg.
20something: Alright guys, so you are our first ever interviewees being given a #20somethingchallenge, and in honor of it being Thursday it’s going to be a #tbt. I’m going to give you a 90s lyric, and you’re going to give me both the song title and artist. And FYI, these are really hard unless you’re me.
BR: Oh this is bad.
20something: (Talking) ‘I can smell them tranquil breezes from a mile away, graduated from from booze, up to allazay.’
BR: Can you sing it or something?
20something: (Rapping) ‘Right about now it’s about that time for me to holler, girl I wanna waller, in the back of my Impala.’
BR: Oh that train song! ‘The Train.‘ DJ something…..
20something: Quad City DJs. Close enough. Okay next up is, ‘Pissing the night away.’
BR: Chumbawamba…umm ‘Tumbthumping.’
20something: Two for two! Next up, this is not actually in the song..it’s like the intro to the song…I just saw them in concert last week but you don’t care about that. ‘Prejudice, wrote a song about it. Like to hear it? Here it go.’
JP: What was it… City High?
20something: No. Girl group.
BR: Salt and Pepper
20something: Getting warmer.
BR: En Vogue! No idea what the song is though.
BR: Oasis, ‘Champagne Supernova.’
20something: Bingo. And lastly, ‘Baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me, no more.’
JP: Haddaway, ‘What Is Love.‘
20something: Well done you guys.
A few days following our chat, The Knocks were off to Japan, which a quick scroll through their Insta tells us they were killing it. We have to say, however, that we are a bit disappointed they didn’t heed our request to find the Japanese punk band with the same name as theirs and chill with them.
BR: There is another group called The Knocks. A Japanese punk band. They’re very underground though…I think they’ve been underground their whole career.