With touring halted to a standstill during the global lockdown, NYC dance music luminaries The Knocks found themselves in the same boat as many other artists; stuck at home with nothing more to do than get to work on new music. The duo, comprised of Ben Ruttner and James Patterson, dedicated their time to their studio and began to release a string of new songs and mind-blowing collaborations with artists like MUNA, Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo, Royal & The Serpent and even a reunion with Foster The People for their new track, “All About You”.
The Knocks began teasing their yet to be titled new album late last year with “Walking On Water” featuring Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, and now, they are jumpstarting 2022 with their latest track, “Slow Song” featuring Dragonette. Never ones to hold back, the duo went all-out with “Slow Song”, which is complete with spectacular vocal work from Dragonette’s Martina Sorbara, live instruments and a sixteen-piece string section to top everything off. It’s a perfect authentic disco bop that will surely make fans excited for what’s to come from The Knocks.
With “Slow Song” taking things back to the duo’s disco roots, it serves as the perfect teaser for their upcoming album, which promises to be a little nostalgic, incredibly funky, and creative as hell. The track is out now, alongside a stunning music video featuring Drag Race’s Aquaria, which can be seen now below.
Prelude Press: You had an incredibly busy year in 2021 with a handful of single releases, collaborations and remixes, and you’re already starting this year off with a bang! What was the highlight of the last year for you and what are you looking forward to in 2022?
The Knocks: The highlight of this last year was finishing this album! It’s been almost 2 years. We worked with so many amazing collaborators; meeting new friends, pushing ourselves as producers and artists, and also rediscovering what we loved most about The Knocks project. We couldn’t be happier with the final tracklist and the original vision of the album is still the same as when we started.
This week, you’re releasing your new single, “Slow Song” with Dragonette. Can you tell us a little bit about the track?
We met Dragonette ages ago. It was one of the first tours we opened for. Martina has been a great friend to us over the years so it’s great that we finally did a song together. The track is a classic disco dancefloor jam. We had a great time tracking live drums, live Bass, live guitars and even a 16 piece string section from Sweden to give it the authentic disco feel.
How did you become connected with Dragonette for the track? What do you feel that they bring to the table?
We knew we wanted to go back to our disco roots on this record. A lot of our earliest stuff was inspired by the disco era. We started this track idea early on in the album process. We had an instrumental and sent the idea to our girl Blu Detiger who is an incredible bass player.. once she laid the backbone we sent it over to Martina (as we were all still in quarantine). She sent back these incredible vocal ideas and we worked on it remotely from there.
The video for “Slow Song” is absolutely stunning as well! What was the inspiration for it?
We shot the music video in Mexico City with our good friend and crazy successful director, Austin Peters. We worked with Austin in 2015 on a video we shot in NYC where the drag queen Aquaria made an appearance. We stayed in touch with her over the years and when the song was finished, we immediately knew she had to be in it. It’s a warm, upbeat disco song, but there’s also a bit of sadness and emotional depth to it. What’s a better way to express this than through dance?
“…the industry tends to follow trends and copycat each other until every song sounds stupidly similar. What’s the point? We are trying to make music that we and our fans will love and that we feel is a little bit different. If the algorithm doesn’t fuck with it, then that’s fine.”
“Slow Song” is taken from your upcoming album out this spring! Is there anything that you can share about the album yet? What are you excited for fans to hear on it?
The album is about going back to our roots. Over the years, we have experimented with a ton of different genres and sounds. Our fans have always allowed us to be ourselves and make music that inspired us. When we started talking about what the new album would look like, we got together and were reminiscing about our past and some of the early records we did that really made us excited about making music. We wanted to rediscover that feeling while also trying to make something that was new and exciting… the industry tends to follow trends and copycat each other until every song sounds stupidly similar. What’s the point? We are trying to make music that we and our fans will love and that we feel is a little bit different. If the algorithm doesn’t fuck with it, then that’s fine.
The album will mark your first full-length since 2018. How do you feel you’ve grown as artists in the time between New York Narcotic and now?
The last couple of years have allowed us to take the time to really sit with the music. We have been touring and promoting and doing the typical artist hamster wheel for over 10 yrs which is crazy to think about. We are so appreciative to our fans and our label for letting us put out albums like New York Narcotic, but we realized that with this extra time, we could be more precious about what made the final tracklist. We created some really dope songs that didn’t end up making it, but this final album is really cohesive and every song serves a purpose.
Did you have any major goals in mind when you started working on the new music? Anything you wanted to accomplish or try?
We always love collaborating, so very early on we wanted to not only work with our longtime friends but also connect with some of the young talent that we feel are pushing music forward. Acts like Mallrat out of Australia and the incredible Muna, who are absolutely killing it right now!
Did you come across any challenges when working on the new song or the album? Alternately, what was the most exciting or rewarding part of working on these new songs?
We always prefer working in the room with people. Having to produce songs remotely was pretty terrible and made the album process take much longer, but we got through it. It’s been rewarding to hear the fan feedback and playing some of these songs out when we are DJ’ing. Nothing quite like hearing 1000 people screaming the lyrics to “Bodies.”
Can fans expect to hear some more new music or see you live soon?
Yes! We have more singles coming before the album. We have some very exciting collaborations on the way, too. DJ and live shows!
Thank you for taking the time to chat! Is there anything else you’d like to add?