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Exclusive: The Knocks On 'New York Narcotic,' Collaboration, Positivity & More

The Knocks

Photo: Rachel Couch

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Exclusive: The Knocks On 'New York Narcotic,' Collaboration, Positivity & More

The electronic music duo talk about their brand-new album and share their core belief "that music is a collaborative process"

GRAMMYs/Sep 29, 2018 - 01:32 am

The Knocks, comprised of Ben "Broc" Ruttner and James "JPatt" Patterson, serve up an upbeat brand of indie electro-pop infused with a bit of hip-hop. Over the years they have produced for, remixed songs by, and collaborated with a wide range of artists across genres, spreading their infectiously catchy beats far and wide. Today, on Sept. 28, the duo released their sophomore studio album, New York Narcotic, which, as they share with us, is their "most personal" work yet.

While the album stays true to their danceable, lively sound, and features some pretty amazing collaborations, including Method Man, Big Boi, Foster the People, Sofi Tukker, and more, the LP also gives us a full dose of the Knocks, with JPatt's vocals featured on many of the tracks, and the duos vibrancy shining throughout. Read on for the Recording Academy's exclusive interview with Broc and JPatt to learn more about what the new album means to them, the role New York City plays in their music and their lives, how they see music as a "collaborative process," who they'd love to work with in the future, and more.

Your sophomore album, New York Narcotic, drops today. What are you most excited about with this album? How do you feel that your sound and style has developed since your debut LP, 55?

This new album is the most personal of our career. JPatt is front and center, singing and rapping on almost every song, and the lyrics, melodies, and production are true to us, inspired by the city and the musicians and friends that have shaped our lives. Our debut LP was great, but it definitely felt more like a producer album than an artist project. We learned a lot from that album campaign and couldn’t be more excited for New York Narcotic.

How much of the album is a tribute to New York City? What role does the city play as a creative influence and/or outlet for you?

New York Narcotic is NYC. It’s about our experiences and our relationship to the city we love. We have been doing this artist project, The Knocks, for over 10 years and this is the culmination of those years of grinding. Every neighborhood has a different sound and culture. You’ll hear a lot of these genres on the album.

One of the first singles from the new album, "Ride or Die" featuring Foster the People, has already done well on the charts and has a pretty rad music video to go with it. Can you talk a little bit more about the video and why the Pulp Fiction nod?

When we wrote "Ride or Die," the goal was to create this warm, nostalgic sound that captured the feeling of relationships and loyalty. During the music video brainstorm process, the conversation with Kenny [Laubbacher] (the director) and Mark [Foster of Foster the People] soon turned to classic movie duos for our generation growing up. We thought it would be fun and silly to parody some of them. Kenny really crushed it.

Both of your albums feature some pretty amazing artists. How do you feel that collaboration enhances your sound as a group? For New York Narcotic, did you know who you wanted to work with going into it? 

We have always believed that music is a collaborative process. Everyone has unique experiences that bring new ideas, new sounds and new perspectives. We love that. It’s also what makes New York so great. Everyone from different walks of life living and being together in a crazy amazing way. We love working with our core NYC homies, but we also wanted to reach out to new artists in different genres – artists and writers we have looked up to that we felt have shaped music's landscape for the better.

Speaking of collaboration, you are on Sofi Tukker's "Best Friend," which was pretty huge last year, and now they are featured on a track on your new album, "Brazilian Soul." Was the creative process different on these two tracks, and when working on other artist's tracks in general?

Sophie and Tukker are our good friends and have worked in our studio from the beginning of their careers. This one was really organic. Sophie had popped by to hang, we played her an idea we were working on, and within an hour, the core song was done. It was really natural and felt good from the start. Other times, especially now with internet, we will go back and forth over email to collaborate. Call us old school, but we prefer the in-studio experience.

Your sound is infectiously upbeat – is it important to you to keep your music fun and positive?

Absolutely, that’s our mission – to make people feel good and escape from the world. We want people to come to our shows and be themselves and let loose!

Who are your biggest inspirations musically? Who would you love to work with in the future who you haven't yet?

Daft PunkCalvin Harris, Soulwax, The Strokes, Kanye WestOutkastThe KillersBruce Springsteen, NasBeastie Boys

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Allen Hughes' "The Defiant Ones" Wins Best Music Film | 2018 GRAMMY

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Allen Hughes' "The Defiant Ones" Wins Best Music Film | 2018 GRAMMY

Director Allen Hughes' four-part documentary takes home Best Music Film honors for its portrayal of the unlikely partnership that changed the music business

GRAMMYs/Jan 29, 2018 - 02:09 am

The team behind The Defiant Ones celebrated a big win for Best Music Film at the 60th GRAMMY Awards. The crew awarded include director Allen Hughes and producers Sarah Anthony, Fritzi Horstman, Broderick Johnson, Gene Kirkwood, Andrew Kosove, Laura Lancaster, Michael Lombardo, Jerry Longarzo, Doug Pray & Steven Williams.

In a year rife with quality music documentaries and series, the bar has been set high for this dynamic category. The Defiant Ones is a four-part HBO documentary telling the story of an unlikely duo taking the music business by storm seems better suited for fantastical pages of a comic book, but for engineer-turned-mogul Jimmy Iovine and super-producer Dr. Dre, it's all truth.The Defiant Ones recounts their histories, their tribulations and their wild success. These include first-hand accounts from those who were there in Iovine's early days, such as Bruce Springsteen and U2's Bono, as well as those on board when Dre and Iovine joined forces, such as Snoop Dogg and Eminem.

The competition was stiff as the category was filled with compelling films such as One More Time With Feeling, Two Trains Runnin', Soundbreaking, and Long Strange Trip. 

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Pearl Jam Named Record Store Day 2019 Ambassadors

Pearl Jam

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Pearl Jam Named Record Store Day 2019 Ambassadors

Pearl Jam's Mike McCready says "if you love music," record stores are the place to find it

GRAMMYs/Feb 13, 2019 - 04:05 am

Record Store Day 2019 will arrive on April 13 and this year's RSD Ambassadors are Pearl Jam. Past ambassadors include Dave Grohl, Metallica, Run The Jewels (Killer Mike and El-P), and 61st GRAMMY Awards winner for Best Rock Song St. Vincent.

McCready was also the 2018 recipient of MusiCares' Stevie Ray Vaughan Award

The band was formed in 1990 by McCready, Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, and Eddie Vedder, and they have played with drummer Matt Cameron since 2002. They have had five albums reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and four albums reach No. 2.

"Pearl Jam is honored to be Record Store Day's Ambassador for 2019. Independent record stores are hugely important to me," Pearl Jam's Mike McCready said in a statement publicizing the peak-vinyl event. "Support every independent record store that you can. They're really a good part of society. Know if you love music, this is the place to find it."

With a dozen GRAMMY nominations to date, Pearl Jam's sole win so far was at the 38th GRAMMY Awards for "Spin The Black Circle" for Best Hard Rock Performance.

Pearl Jam will be performing on March 3 in Tempe, Ariz. at the Innings festival, on June 15 in Florence, Italy at the Firenze Rocks Festival and at another festival in Barolo, Italy on June 17. On July 6 Pearl Jam will headline London's Wembley Stadium.

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Portugal. The Man To Aida Cuevas: Backstage At The 2018 GRAMMYs

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Portugal. The Man To Aida Cuevas: Backstage At The 2018 GRAMMYs

Also see James Fauntleroy, Reba McIntire, Latroit, and more after they stepped off the GRAMMY stage

GRAMMYs/Jan 29, 2018 - 05:39 am

What do artists do the moment they walk off the GRAMMY stage from presenting, accepting an award or performing? Now, you can find out.

Take a peak at Album Of The Year GRAMMY winner Bruno Mars, 60th GRAMMY Awards Host James Cordon, Cardi B minutes before her electrifying performance of "Finesse," and more!

Also see Best Pop Duo/Group Performance GRAMMY winners Portugal. The Man posing with their first career GRAMMY Award, Best Roots Gospel Album GRAMMY winner Reba McIntire right after she walked offstage, Best R&B Song GRAMMY winner James Fauntleroy, Best Remixed Recording GRAMMY winner Latroit, and many more, with these photos from backstage during the 60th GRAMMY Awards.

Getting The Latest Music News Just Got Easier. Introducing: GRAMMY Bot. Find it On KIK and Facebook Messenger 

Original Misfits Unleash One Night Only L.A. Reunion Show

Glenn Danzig

Photo: Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images

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Original Misfits Unleash One Night Only L.A. Reunion Show

Dark punk legends to play first show with Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only since last year's Riot Fest reunion

GRAMMYs/Aug 22, 2017 - 05:28 am

There's big news today for punk-rock fans aware that the Misfits made much more than just T-shirts.

The massively influential punk band announced a special show touted as the "only 2017 performance in this world… or any world" and billed as "The Original Misfits" in Los Angeles at the Forum on Dec. 30.

This will be the first Misfits show featuring original singer Glenn Danzig and original bassist Jerry Only with long-time guitarist Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein since the band reunited for a pair of Riot Fest appearances in Chicago and Denver in 2016. Last year's Riot Fest gigs, which featured drummer Dave Lombardo, marked the first time in 33 years the original Misfits members played together.

"OK Los Angeles, you've waited almost 35 years for this, here's your chance to see the "Original Misfits" in this Exclusive L.A. only performance." said Glenn Danzig. "No Tour, No BS, just one night of dark metal-punk hardcore brutality that will go down in the history books. See you there."

Tickets for this "one night only" show go on sale Friday, August 25.

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