The Knocks – Tickets – 9:30 Club – Washington, DC – January 11th, 2013

The Knocks

All Things Gold Presents: - Late Show

The Knocks

Blondfire, K. Flay

Fri 1/11/13

10:00 pm

The Knocks - (Set time: 12:00 AM)
The Knocks


When it comes to origin stories, The Knocks have a good one. After meeting at The New School in New York City, Ben “B-Roc” Ruttner and James “JPatt” Patterson both found themselves in need of a place to live. The two moved in together, and quickly set about making their neighbors hate them. “Our apartment was this small, shitty Avenue C apartment with paper thin walls. We both had studio set-ups in our rooms,” explains B-Roc. “It would be loud as hell, and the neighbors hated it. They’d knock on the walls and bang on the ceiling. We would go into each other’s rooms and say ‘I just got the knocks.’”

Declared by the NME as one of the “20 hottest producers in music” as “cred-pop’s answer to the Neptunes” by The Guardian - they are now one of the most buzzed-about duos on the electronic circuit. JPatt’s background in soul and funk and B-Roc’s years spent immersed in trip-hop and hip-hop beats has allowed them to quickly ascend the production ranks. Initially gaining recognition for their remixes for artists including Haim, Santigold, Foster the People, Two Door Cinema, Ellie Goulding, Chiddy Bang,Passion Pit and The 1975, they eventually found themselves experimenting with sounds of their own.

 B-Roc and JPatt didn’t think much would come of a nearly five-minute track they had been building, all tense beats and tingling synths. “It kind of started out as a joke,” says B-Roc. “But people were liking that more than the stuff we produced for other people,” says B-Roc. “It felt right.” The duo quickly discovered a newfound freedom in creating their own songs. “It's better because it's ours, and we can do whatever we want with it,” explains JPatt.  

When The Knocks realized the chord they’d struck, they opened their own custom-built studio Heavy Roc Music on the Lower East Side in New York City. Over the past three years, the duo has been jet-setting around the globe for DJ gigs, sharing stages with Grouplove, M.I.A., Two Door Cinema Club, Dragonette, Sleigh Bells, Chromeo and chrome… all while releasing infectious singles that have turned The Knocks into blog darlings. After releasing “Dancing with the DJ” in 2010 via Heavy Roc , the song shot to #1 on Hype Machine and hit #1 on Japan’s Electronic Songs Chart, with heavy rotation at JJJ. Their Magic EP showed a more mature side, continuing that progression on singles 'Modern Hearts' featuring St Lucia, and the new EP Comfortable - out on Neon Gold Feb 17th. Be prepared, because The Knocks will be knocking at your door and stereo very soon.
Blondfire - (Set time: 11:00 PM)
Blondfire
Young Heart

"We were driving around with friends and someone said 'I smell a bonfire,'" recalls Erica Driscoll, lead vocalist-keyboardist-guitarist of the brother-sister duo Blondfire. "We thought they said 'Blondfire,' and at first we kind of jokingly said it should be our name – but it stuck. We liked the fact that it was masculine and feminine at the same time. It represented who we are in a cool way."

That push-pull of elemental forces is fundamental to the siblings' sound. Winsome, melancholy vocals and '80s-influenced melodies float atop shards of guitar and propulsive beats, leavening Blondfire's infectious pop tunes with real punch. Alternately haunting and ebullient, their Warner Bros Records debut Young Heart represents the purest example yet of Blondfire's unique musical hybrid.

"We tend to write sweet, dreamy melodies," agrees guitarist-drummer-sequencer-backup singer Bruce Driscoll, "and having a rhythm section that's more aggressive – and not too straight – gives it that gutsier, edgier feel." Like Erica, Bruce grew up loving bands like The Smiths, The Cure and New Order. But when it came to drums, Led Zeppelin skinsman John Bonham always occupied a special place in his heart.

The formula has resonated strongly with listeners. Blondfire became the first unsigned act to hit the #1 spot on the iTunes Alternative chart and one of very few unsigned bands to be added to the Sirius Alt Nation playlist, on the strength of the evocative, bouncy "Where The Kids Are" and its arty video. "I submitted that song to a few blogs and it just took off online," Erica marvels. "According to Hype Machine, we became the #1 most talked-about band on the internet!"

"Where The Kids Are" is the lead single on the self-produced Young Heart, most of which they wrote and recorded, Bruce reports, in "about a week" at his home studio and Hollywood's historic Wax Studios (formerly TTG). The set was mixed by Wally Gagel (Muse, Folk Implosion, Gorillaz). "Wally mixed 'Kids,' and he has a great grasp of what we're about sonically," volunteers Bruce. "He has a real knack for pressing the 'sound big' button."

Young Heart is the duo's first full-length album since their 2008 indie release My Someday. In the interim, the band has developed a homegrown following in Los Angeles through live residencies and radio airplay from KROQ, KCSN, 98.7 and KCRW. Their music has also been heard in the films Besties and Get a Job; on TV via ESPN's Australian Open Tennis, The Client List, MTV's Awkward and The Collection and in an ad for Ecco shoes.

Bruce and Erica grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan; their U.S.-born dad plucked classic rock and pop on the guitar, while their Brazilian mom – a classically trained pianist – exposed them to bossa nova and music lessons. By her teens, Erica was mad for '80s pop and teaching herself guitar.

Bruce was initially obsessed with film soundtracks, which no doubt ultimately contributed to Blondfire's emotionally vivid musical textures. "My dream was to score a Batman movie someday," he remembers. Later he got into drums (partly as a rebellion against piano lessons); although he soon switched to guitar, he retained his preoccupation with beats.

"Once Bruce started playing guitar, that's all we wanted to do," Erica says. "In Michigan there isn't much to do, especially in winter. So we just holed up in the basement, writing songs and recording them on our 4-track machine." They began gigging soon after.

And that Brazilian thing? "You can hear it a little in the way we use melodies," Erica muses, "and in the way that Bruce likes to put all kinds of variations into his beats." Bruce adds that he leans toward certain chords that lend a melancholy feel one could trace back to Jobim and other Brazilian songwriters. "It's not obvious," he says. "But it's in there." And just part of the one-of-a-kind recipe that makes Blondfire sound like nothing else.
K. Flay - (Set time: 10:15 PM)
K. Flay
K.Flay’s new EP, Eyes Shut, is a response to apathy. Thematically, the disc’s five tracks offer a dialogue about what it means to care—and not care—in the twentysomething era. K.Flay, the moniker for San Francisco-based musician Kristine Flaherty, reacts to this generational indifference musically. Her spit-fire rhymes and distorted indie-electro production are infused with unabashed passion and thoughtful concern.

Flaherty, who grew up outside Chicago and launched her music career while enrolled at Stanford University, arrived at this subject matter after spending nearly a year touring the country solo. Although she was opening for artists like Passion Pit, 3OH!3 and Wallpaper, Flaherty took the stage alone each night, urging a deep sense of introspection that initially resulted in a mixtape called I Stopped Caring In ’96. The mixtape, which Flaherty self-released last spring, initiated the writing process for Eyes Shut.

“I spent my first few years making music just messing around, not really having a sense of what I was about,” she explains. “With the mixtape, I started to realize my vision for the project. I made it in isolation, which was liberating in a creative sense. The songs on this EP start where the mixtape left off and reflect where I’m at in my own life now. There are no love songs. It’s really about a mindset, a perspective. A lot of the people I know are pretty apathetic and disillusioned. They’d rather check out than engage in something. I’m drawn to that myself at times and at other times I’m repelled by it.”

Isolation is a theme in Flaherty’s creative process. She is a songwriter, musician and producer, who works alone on many of her tracks from conception to completion, sometimes in her mother’s basement.

The five tracks on the EP were written during the spring and summer of 2011, with most of the recording occurring in September. Influenced by a diverse array of artists including OutKast and Lykke Li, the EP is an innovative combination of hip-hop, electronica and indie rock aesthetics, all bolstered by Flaherty’s undeniable rapping ability.

The K.Flay live show shines through the recordings as well. “Until recently my recorded stuff hasn’t captured what I’m trying to do,” Flaherty says. “It’s only been in the last nine months that I’ve honed in on that. You hear ‘white girl rapping’ and you get wary. But the live show has really shown people what I’m about and the production aspect of what I do. So with the EP it was about how I can replicate that accurately in a live setting.”

The EP is a precursor to K.Flay’s debut full-length, which she hopes to release in the first half of 2012. Meanwhile, between writing, recording and touring, the musician, who recently performed at San Francisco’s Outside Lands Arts & Music Festival, has been sharpening her production skills by remixing other artists, including Beastie Boys, Young the Giant, Walk the Moon, and Oh Land. And she’s not touring quite so solo anymore—Flaherty recently added a drummer to the mix.

“I feel like I’m taking the next step,” she says. “I’m in the process of taking something that was just nascent and, with the help of a few people, starting to flesh it out a little more. It’s been a real year of growth.”

Flaherty may write about apathy, but she’s anything but apathetic.
Venue Information:
9:30 Club
815 V St. NW
Washington, DC, 20001
http://930.com