The Knocks Break Down 'New York Narcotic' Album, a Love Letter to the City: Exclusive

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Billboard Dance caught up with The Knocks to listen to the story behind every monitor on their sophomore album, New York Narcotic.

When they name New York "town that by no means sleeps," they're not joking. It's straightforward to search out your self wandering the streets all hopped up on power at three:00 a.m. proper up till dawn. Your telephone is likely to be dying, however you're dwelling life. Every day is an journey, each night time is wild. That's the form of vibe that retains The Knocks (Ben "B-Roc" Ruttner and James "JPatt" Patterson) so in love with the place.

The duo proclaims that love from audio system around the globe with New York Narcotic. It's a 14-track love letter learn loud and proud over funky beats impressed by the cross-genre sounds that soundtrack The Knocks' life. The album art work harks again to early aught hip-hop design, with plenty of gritty, low-res imagery of tall buildings, old-style web site GIFs, flame results and diamond-encrusted bubble letters, however the manufacturing is tremendous trendy. It's crisp and poppy with some seriously-big options from rock and hip-hop greats.

The Knocks will have a good time the discharge of New York Narcotic with a tour throughout North America. It kicks off Dec. 31 in San Francisco, with dates operating by means of the tip of February. Tickets are on sale now. Listen to New York Narcotic beneath, out now on Big Beat Records, and take a look at the duo's breakdown of the file after the soar.

"2008"
This began out as a brief intro snippet to ascertain the album's tone, however changed into a lot extra.  The album New York Narcotic is a narrative about our relationship to NYC. When we began writing the album, we wished to take parts of the entire greatest music that got here out of New York in the course of the early days of our careers as DJs and producers; hip-hop, indie, weblog Haus, electro, funk. We saved going again to this intro and shortly determined that it wanted to be extra than simply that. JPatt personifies NYC as a woman that everybody desires to fulfill, which is also taken as a reference to medicine, which is a theme all through the entire file.

"Goodbyes" Feat. Method-Man
We each love hip-hop. That was the widespread bond for us once we first met. In the early days, we began our careers making beats and writing raps in our East Village condominium. Our first mission as The Knocks was remixing Jay-Z's American Gangster album in its entirety -- in a single day. [We] have all the time integrated parts of hip-hop, particularly East Coast, New York hip-hop, in numerous the music we create. This is likely one of the first songs we wrote. B-Roc despatched JPatt the beat, and he got here up with the verses on the prepare whereas on the way in which to the studio. We knew from the beginning that Method Man could be the right match for this, and one way or the other it labored out precisely how we imagined. Wu-Tang eternally.

"New York Narcotic"
This is the title monitor and is likely to be our favourite on the album. We had an unique idea for the title monitor that was far more house-y and left area. Ironically, we have been on a writing journey in Los Angeles [when] we re-produced the track with the unbelievable Joe Janiak and fell in love with the brand new sound of it. This track actually embodies the idea of the file by explaining conditions the place life in NYC is likely to be arduous [or] shitty, however you simply maintain coming again as a result of New York is so addicting in several methods.

"Big Bills" Feat. Big Boi
This was the final track we completed on the album. Both of us are enormous Outkast followers and all the time their admired skill to put in writing funky hip-hop hits for many years; by no means following developments or taking part in it protected. The Knocks mission is about creating enjoyable, carefree music, and we knew this was a keeper as quickly we began it. We wrote the hook with JPatt singing it like a soul track, then pitched the vocals and sped it up. Big Boi was our number-one selection for the function, and we couldn't have been happier to have him on the album. An actual dream collaboration, and he completely crushed it.

"Shades"
We wrote this with our homies Jerm and Pilo in L.A. Our philosophy as a gaggle is to dwell no matter life you wish to dwell and never give a shit what anybody else thinks or says about you. JPatt owns about 1,000 pairs of low-cost sun shades, and has all the time declared them as his "hater blockers," so we determined to put in writing a track about it. Our boys Brasstracks added some dope horns to carry issues house. This track is basically enjoyable to carry out.

"Brazilian Soul" Feat. Sofi Tukker
This was one of many extra natural classes that got here collectively. Our mates Sophie and Tucker have been figuring out of our HeavyRoc studio since they began as artists. We have been engaged on the start of this monitor, when Sophie popped down to hold. We performed her the beginning, and he or she actually dug it. Within a few hours, we had laid down the core concept. It got here collectively actually shortly, and we couldn't be happier with the way it turned out. We had labored with S&T on "Best Friend" earlier within the yr, so it solely made sense that we continued the friendship on our album.

"Ride or Die" Feat. Foster the People
This track has been so good to us, and we've got been blown away by the reception and assist from followers. We wrote this unique concept with the intention of making a track that was nostalgic but in addition trendy. We despatched a tough sketch of it to Mark Foster, and he responded again nearly instantly about getting concerned. We then flew out to L.A. and put this collectively in two days. Since then, it's been a loopy expertise for us. Radio and Billboard charts, late night time TV, performing acoustically [for the first time]. Lots of firsts, and we're so appreciative to everybody that has been on board.

"Retrograded"
We have been producing nu-disco because the early days of The Knocks. It's one among our favourite genres, and a number of the greatest nu-disco to return out of the early 2000s was from Australia. We labored with our boy Styalz Fuego from Melbourne, Australia, on numerous this album, and knew we wanted to incorporate a enjoyable, throwback joint on it. The unique demo was a bit extra electronic-leaning, however we added some acoustic guitars (the one ones on the album) which actually made if really feel lighter, which we're very pleased with.

"Feeling Myself"
We wrote this track from the viewpoint of somebody who is likely to be "on one" late night time someplace and actually of their head. Imagine that man dancing within the nook together with his eyes closed and palms up making that "I'm the shit" face when actually, everybody round him is noticing how wasted he's. Our favourite line on this track is, "I bought me, myself and I/that’s good attendance/all people's feeling fly." It actually visualizes that every one you want is your self and your sturdy self-confidence to have a celebration...inside your head.

"Limo"
We wrote this with our longtime pal Jean [Philip Grobler] from St. Lucia. This track was an absolute blast to file. We took parts from these basic '80s dance tunes but in addition wished to seize that soiled analog really feel. We would suggest renting an old-school stretch limo, rolling down all of the home windows and taking part in this track on full quantity. JPatt performed all of the dwell drums on this track, which was actually enjoyable to file, too.

"Room For You"
Indie rock has had a giant affect on us, particularly in the course of the early weblog Haus and Hype Machine days. We wished to make an ethereal, heat, deeper sing-along that also had the signature The Knocks sound. With the manufacturing scaled again, we actually like how JPatt's vocals are featured right here. This track was written in regards to the time when your life appears actually busy, however there's that one individual that you just wish to make room for as a result of they make it much less crazy-feeling.

"Wizard of Bushwick" Feat. Sir Sly
B-Roc was out on a solo mission in L.A. and linked up with the Sir Sly guys at their studio exterior of [the city]. We had by no means met them earlier than, so we spent the early a part of the session attending to know one another. They wished to know extra about JPatt, so B-Roc confirmed them an image of him in full Burning Man wizardry apparel on his roof in Bushwick. This sparked the concept of writing the track about JPatt and his love for his hood. JPatt naturally was down with it and jumped on the refrain. Voila. This psychedelic jam was created.

"Don't Talk Love"
We wrote this early on within the journey with the legend Stuart Price. Stuart has written and produced for The Killers, Madonna, Coldplay and numerous others. He is somebody we had grown up admiring as musicians. Our relationship began once we requested him to remix our single "Trouble," so we naturally wished to do a correct track with him. His studio was unbelievable; stuffed with the best analog gear we had ever seen. We really look as much as him and his musical legacy, and it was an honor to have him be part of our album. This is likely one of the extra private songs on the album. It’s about somebody that doubts your skill to like, when in actuality, they may simply not be the individual you're keen on.

"Fung Wah Bus" Feat. Alexis Krauss
We had Alexis from Sleigh Bells over to the studio in Chinatown and initially began [with] a dancier concept. We have been large followers of Sleigh Bells and the influence the band had on NYC's digital rock scene of the early 2000s, so it was cool to brainstorm concepts in regards to the metropolis and the same locations and crews we rolled with in the course of the heyday. After taking part in round with the monitor for a couple of months, we realized how a lot we beloved the emotional connection of the lyrics and wished that to be extra of the center-focus of the track, quite than the manufacturing. We determined to flip the manufacturing fully right into a ballad and make it into one thing fully new. We suppose this track is the right solution to finish the album and can be a little bit little bit of a cliff hanger about what comes subsequent for us.