Don’t Ask The Knocks Why They’re Called The Knocks

We met with the electronic music duo in LA hours before they played their power set at The Fonda theatre. Together, Ben “B-Roc” Ruttner and James “JPatt” Patterson are The Knocks. Just don’t go asking how they came up with their name. It’s as simple as a quick wiki search.

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Interview & photography by Angelo Kritikos

How annoyed do you guys get when people ask how you came up with the name ‘The Knocks’?
B-Roc: Oh my God, thank you for asking that question. It’s literally the first thing on our Wikipedia page, and the first thing that we get asked on every interview. When I read an interview of an artist, as a fan, I know most of the basics. I like to hear something new and interesting. For us, the name thing is always the headline of the interview.

I’m sure this has been written about, but I’d like to know some of your musical influences growing up.
JPatt: I was into mostly funk. I liked a lot of stuff. It changed a lot and it was pretty eclectic. My dad was into lots of funk and gospel and stuff.
B-Roc: I kind of grew up on classic rock stuff. My parents listened to Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young and that type of shit. When I got a little older, I listened to 90’s trip hop stuff like DJ Shadow and Fat Boy Slim. And then hip hop. That’s how we got connected, we both got into hip hop and we both started making hip hop together. But then we kind of lost a little bit of interest in it.

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I saw somewhere that one of you is starting a little photo diary. Do either of you have an art background other than music?
B-Roc: Yeah that’s me, but not really. I’ve always liked photography. I’ve always been the guy taking all the photos on my phone and I’ve done video stuff before. Yeah I kind of just like everything. I recently directed a music video for a homie of ours, which is a first for me.
JPatt: I went to a creative, liberal, artsy sort of high school. I took a bunch of art classes. I was generally creative growing up coming up with lyrics, drawings and different ideas.

Your custom jackets are so insane. I need to know more about it.
B-Roc: The original inspiration was just the idea of old rock bands and motorcycle gangs that have their name on the back of their jacket. I’ve always loved the bomber style. We’d always wear black black black and we needed something special that fit our whole vibe. It’s a style we both liked and every patch has it’s own meaning. This means 55 in Chinese, which is the address of our studio in Chinatown. This is our label that we run. This is the title of our album that’s coming out.

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And you can keep adding and adding to it.
B-Roc: Yeah. It’s something we’ll have forever. It never gets old.

Besides the green, what are three tour must-haves on the road with you?
B-Roc: New edition is a 3DS which is Nintendo. It’s been awesome cause we all play each other and it passes the time. Definitely a video game system of some sort. Oh and good bags. Travel bags. After years of touring you learn that having your shit in compartments is crucial. It makes a huge difference.
JPatt: Besides weed, shades. Couple pairs of good shades. My phone and all charging accessories. I lose a charger every week. And vitamins. Vitamins and healthy shit because it’s easy to get sick on the road.

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The album is getting pushed a bit. What can we expect on your debut LP?
B-Roc: We’re just finishing our album after this tour. Finishing the album in the next two months and it should be out for summer next year. Our single ‘Classic’ is getting pushed to radio in the New Year so hopefully that will be a good jumping point. It’s exciting but the main focus now is finishing it. There’s not much we can say yet. We have some great collabs. Some new artists, some old borderline legends we’ve been working with. I think our single ‘Classic’ is a good example of where our album is going.
JPatt: Yeah. That’s pretty much it.

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