The Knocks’ Ben “B-Roc” Ruttner wouldn’t advise most people to go into business with their roommate, but it’s worked out pretty great for him. "James and I are really lucky," he says. "I always thought since our relationship was so easy that all other music groups were like that. But after being on the road with some other bands, I found out that is definitely not the case."
New York transplants Ruttner and his buddy James “JPatt” Patterson formed the electronic music duo back in 2010 while living in their East Village apartment there they survived on "dollar slices of pizza and had people living on our couch to pay the rent."
In 2010, they made it big with their single, "Make It Better," which was featured on a Corona commercial. They have since worked with heavy weights including X Ambassadors, Fetty Wap, Walk the Moon and Cam'ron. The duo are currently executive producing Wyclef Jean’s upcoming album and their own, long awaited debut will be released March 4. We caught up with Ruttner to get the full scoop.
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Ruttner and Patterson's easy-going friendship spills into the way they collaborate with other artists. They really do seem like the type of dudes who avoid drama and are friends with everyone. Not only do they have a track with Carly Rae Jepsen (“All That”) they remained friends with her while working on a song with her ex-boyfriend Matthew Koma. “We actually worked with two of Matt Koma’s exes,” Rutter laughs. “His other ex-girlfriend is Crista [Ru] from POWERS.”
Ruttner says that particular song, “Classic” was actually the song that set the tone for their entire upcoming album. “We had a whole album ready and done, but then ‘Classic’ set a new bar for us. Everything just clicked.” The song has a throwback, disco-pop sound that juxtaposed the beat-heavy club trend that was happening in the EDM space and the risk worked out in their favor.
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Beyond the beat
Most electronic dance music sounds like happiness on steroids, but The Knocks’ songs have a bit of melancholy and nostalgia to them. “With dance music, for a while it was about who could have the craziest sounds or the wildest drop, but Disclosure and other [artists] like that are letting the world know you can have a really good dance song that has really good lyrics and content,” Ruttner says. “We aren’t just making songs people can just jump up and down to. Actual good songwriting is important.”
If you go:
New York City
Jan. 14, 9 p.m.
Baby's All Right
146 Broadway, Brooklyn
Jan. 15, 11:59 p.m.
29 E. Allen St., 215-309-0150
Jan. 19, 7 p.m.
52 Church St.. Cambridge
Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmLaurence