What’s in your bag? is a recurring feature where we ask people to tell us a bit more about their everyday gadgets by opening their bags and hearts to us. This week, we’re featuring electronic music duo The Knocks.
The Verge is in The Knocks’ HeavyRoc Music Studio, based in Chinatown. The room is lined with synths, and two golden Maneki-Nekos (lucky cats) keep watch on high perches. It’s a cozy place that’s played host to the likes of Sofi Tukker, St. Lucia, and was the same space where The Beastie Boys rehearsed. Of course, it’s where The Knocks — made up of Ben “B-Roc” Ruttner and James “Jpatt” Patterson — craft their music as well. The New York producers have a knack for catchy, funk-infused feel-good jams, like “Kiss The Sky” featuring Wyclef Jean, “Classic,” and their new single about not wanting to grow up, “Ride Or Die” with Foster The People.
While The Knocks are normally on the go (they accompanied Justin Bieber on the Purpose tour), the two decided to stay put this year in order to work on a new album. They might be spending more time in New York, but their bags are still prepped for studio sessions and DJ gigs, and contain the telltale remnants of many a late night out (glitter!).
B-Roc: The leather notebook is a combo of a lot of things. It’s lyrics from songs, and it’s turned into a weird kind of diary for me, and I keep my to-do list in it. My sister gave it to me as a gift. She makes fun of me because I’m on my phone all the time. She said when I’m writing songs I should write them in a book, because when I’m older I won’t want to go back and look at my notes on the cloud, I’ll want a physical thing. That resonated with me. You’re not going to want to pass down your cloud to your kids. It’s just nice to have something physical to write in.
The book I’m reading is Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography. He’s a huge influence for me, and one of my favorite famous favorite musicians of all time.
Then there’s the robot charm. I was something I bought on a family vacation on Martha’s Vineyard a long time ago. I’m just a fan of knick knacks and it’s a cool little music man robot. The USB stick it’s attached to is my favorite one because it’s titanium. I could drop it from a plane or in water and it would be totally fine. That’s how they advertise it. Someone might get hurt, but my music will survive! And there’s rolling papers — never leave home without rolling papers!
There’s my Yashica T4 film camera in its own little pelican case. This is my baby. It’s my favorite camera. Film photography is kind of a hobby. I love taking photos on tour and on the road and we use some of them actually in our artwork, but mainly it’s just a hobby I have and this camera is amazing. It got famous because it was the Terry Richardson camera. It’s really good for point and shoot — you don’t have to know what you’re doing and everything looks really good. I get the film printed in Chinatown. There’s a place right down the street from here that’s a one hour photo. It’s about 10 bucks and he puts the photos on a USB stick.
Then I have my spare battery which I never leave home without. It’s a no-name brand off Amazon, but it’s the number one rated battery because you can get like, six charges and it’s around 20 bucks. I’ve been through four and I keep buying the same one. I always lose them.
My Nintendo Switch, the new handheld Nintendo video game console, is the best thing to have on tour. JPatt has one too so we can play against each other. My favorite game right now is Zelda, but I’m excited about Super Smash Brothers coming out.
The other thing I have is our DV camera, which is like a Handycam from the early 2000s. We just started using this a lot in the studio and on the road to shoot little things because then when we put together content or documentary selfies it looks really cool to cut to tape. I used to always make skate and snowboard videos with these as a kid so I know my way around and I love editing.
My mom got me this leather case for Christmas a couple years ago and it’s for computer stuff. I love leather things because they wear really well. It’s the same reason I like the leather book. I like when things get worn in. I take this with me everywhere. It has my hard drives, my cables… The sticker on the hard drive is from my friends at Deer Dana and Obesity & Speed — two local NYC designers. It’s a Henry Rollins tattoo actually…. I just use it so i don’t mistake my HD for someone else’s. Lots of times when I go to LA for sessions, I have to set up a portable little studio in other people’s studios.
My bag is Burton snowboarding bag that’s from the early 2000s, but it’s designed to look like one of their older bags they probably put out in the ‘90s. I grew up in Vermont snowboarding and one of my friends was a pro snowboarder on the Burton team and gave it to me as a gift. I really like it. It’s great for touring because it’s like a hiking backpack where there’s a million pockets and straps and stuff, which is really useful.
JPatt: I have headphones because Ben doesn’t have headphones right now. I’m kidding. One of us is always DJing so headphones are always in there. I have Sennheiser HD25s for DJing and Bose SoundLink on-ear wireless headphones I mostly use for traveling. I like the small ones (not the over-ear ones). Noise cancellation headphones weird me out. I like being aware of what’s around me.
I have a myCharge battery. It has the cables for both kinds of phones on it already, which I like because that means I don’t have to carry a cable… but I carry a cable just in case. It also charges itself in the wall. It’s honestly the best battery I’ve ever had. And there’s more charger apparatus because one of us is always looking for a brick or a cable in any given situation.
I have auxiliary shades and auxiliary auxiliary shades, and auxiliary auxiliary auxiliary shades, and then the ones on my face. You never know. Your situation can change and you might need nighttime shades or darker shades if it’s brighter outside. I like to carry shades around. I don’t know the brand of them — I don’t wear branded shades anymore because I kept losing them.
I like this doll. It’s real rabbit I’m sorry to say, but it feels really good. It’s a fashion statement, but also I sometimes get anxiety and it feels good to rub this thing. I’ll literally carry it around and be caressing it all day. It’s addicting.
Lots of condoms because condoms are good to have! There’s my house keys and some paraphernalia. As far as the shoes, they’re Jordan 1s. Sometimes we’ll carry around extra clothing items. I usually have a T-shirt and an extra pair of underwear, maybe some shoes. You never know if you’re gonna get spilled on or whatever. Usually I have my computer too, though I’ve not been carrying my computer around lately because it’s really heavy. But, normally we have computers. We’re producers.
I usually have a backpack, but I’m kind of getting into bags. My friend Noah has a very nice bag collection. I was hanging out with him yesterday and we were talking about how bags are the new thing for the summer, so we might go bag shopping. I use a lot of tote bags for records because I play vinyl a lot. But I think I’m going to start using them not just for vinyl. My boyfriend gave me this tote I got today from Verb products. It’s a hair and skin care company.
There’s glitter in my bag. I usually have glitter on or a vial of glitter to throw at people at events where glitter is the vibe. So, there’s normally glitter remnants on and around me.
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