New York producers and DJ duo Ben Ruttner and James Patterson—aka The Knocks—have been bringing some delicious big-city vibes to the inaugural party season at JEMAA at the NoMad Pool this summer. They’re back for another round on August 17, armed with new single “Colors,” a sugary-sweet, body-warming house track perfect for the generally chill environment at the Strip’s newest pool party venue.
“Colors” is also a great comedown from The Knocks’ other summer release, the one-two punch of “New York Luau” and “No Requests,” both dance-ready gems. “Those two are really good for our summer DJ sets, even though we made them a while ago,” Ruttner says. “‘Luau’ we did last-minute, because it felt like such a good song for the summer. The stuff we have coming out now is all over the spectrum.”
Patterson endorses that idea of creating new sounds for the season and stresses that The Knocks are constantly making music and currently pointing back to their roots. “Our last record was a little more of a deviation from what we normally do. We started out more as straight dance-music producers, and we wanted to get back to that.”
Before focusing on their own music, Ruttner and Patterson were known for producing and remixing Katy Perry, Flo Rida, Britney Spears and M83. They’ve collaborated with Fetty Wap, Cam’ron, Carly Rae Jepsen, Walk the Moon and others, and toured with Justin Bieber and Ellie Goulding. Given that mix of experiences, it’s hard to categorize what The Knocks going back to their roots might sound like.
“Part of our MO has been being genre-less, and also collaboration is always at the heart of whatever we do,” Patterson says. “We love working with other people, and we’ve made some of our best stuff with other people. It’s just a different approach.”
The duo is also known for being prolific. “We like to put out a lot of stuff out, whether it’s collaborations or featuring with pop artists,” Ruttner says. “But when we’re making Knocks records, anything goes. It can get weird when you get to do your own thing, but I think a lot of people like us for that, that we’re taking chances.”
The versatility and spontaneity in their music and DJ sets have made for a unique party this summer at JEMAA, where Mark Ronson, Questlove, Matoma and local faves Mighty Mi and Crykit have all made an early impact. “We’ve played a couple times at Marquee Dayclub and a few other places, but this is a different kind of party and feels a lot less Vegas-y,” Ruttner says. “There’s less banger, big-room stuff ,and it feels a little more funky and disco. It’s a little tastier, I think, than the normal Vegas pool party.”
Ruttner compares the direction at JEMAA and Park MGM’s nightclub, On the Record, to a similar movement in New York City. “I’ve seen it change a lot [in New York] from the explosion of the bottle-service club world, and that vibe is dwindling a little bit. People want these sexy environments now, lounge-y things and rooftop places. I feel like New York has always been the center of nightlife, and people follow suit. JEMAA and NoMad are a bit ahead of the curve that way.”
THE KNOCKS August 17, 11 a.m., $20-$30. JEMAA the NoMad Pool Party, 702-730-6784.