GEAR TALK: The Making of 'Trouble' with The Knocks
    • MONDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2017

    • Posted by: Kirsten Spruch


    Earlier this year, electronic hit-making duo The Knocks released their single "Trouble" in collaboration with singer Absofacto. It's a piano heavy, Daft Punk-flavored dance track that features high pitched, manipulated vocals and of course, a groovy beat. Since the duo, aka Ben "B-Roc" Ruttner and James "JPatt" Patterson, is based in New York City, we thought we'd stop by their studio to learn about the writing process behind the song, and the two were super excited to take us into their world of Ableton.



    After training up to Chinatown, we were greeted by the two who were ready to show us how to make a sample. "At first we just wanted to write a slow song, and then we resampled it and turned it into this dance thing," B-Roc shared on the beginning of the song. "When we went in with Abso, we didn't really know anything about him, I actually heard much of his production... And the second he started singing I heard that he had these really cool inflections in his voice where he has this cool vibrato and kind of delicate voice, which made me think we should do something slow to show off his voice," B-Roc began talking about working with Absofacto.

    After figuring out the vibe they wanted to aim for, they laid down some gospel-influenced piano chords. "It's kind of a sad dance song," B-Roc said, explaining why he liked it.

    Then they sped everything up, which resulted in a cool sound. They had no idea what was going to happen with the song but then an hour in, they realized they were on to something.

    On just producing in general, the duo had a lot to say. "A lot of people look at instructional videos... We never look at those things. We have our own formula of doing everything in our own way that we created, which is what gives us our own sound," they said, and then proceeded to show us how informal they are with making music, and that they don't even label their tracks in Ableton. "When you get to a point in your career where you trust your ear enough, the best stuff happens quickly and you're not sitting on it forever, which we used to do."

    B-Roc and JPatt had lots of good advice to give for aspiring producers, and you can listen to the full song "Trouble" featuring Absofacto now. The duo also just teamed up with Captain Cuts to release their excellent new single "House Party" last week, which features vocals from JPatt himself. You can listen - or dance - to it below:

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