Show Us Your Space: The Knocks' HeavyRoc Studios

Welcome to the latest installment of Show Us Your Space, a Reverb series that explores and celebrates the unique music-making environments of studio owners, independent builders, and musicians at all levels.

Today, we're looking at a space that is a hub of hip-hop, electronic, and pop music on New York City's Lower East Side—HeavyRoc Studios—where production duo The Knocks makes its own tunes, along with many other artists drawn to the relaxed, gear-filled room.

Keep reading to hear straight from B-Roc, one half of The Knocks and today's tour guide. Check out The Knocks' Facebook page here for more info on the group. Their latest single, "Awa Ni," was made with Kah-Lo and released earlier this summer via Big Beat Records. Be on the lookout for their new song "Colors" coming this Friday, August 9.

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All photos by Parker West.

Welcome to HeavyRoc Studios! HeavyRoc was founded in 2007 on the Lower East Side and was originally built in the basement of the Beastie Boys' old rehearsal space. The rooms were small, the floors would rattle when the subway cars went by, and we had the pleasure of recording with some iconic artists and musicians. Everyone from Lana Del Rey, Nicki Minaj, St. Lucia, Ellie Goulding, and our course, my act, The Knocks.

The space was about as New York as they come. It didn't matter what genre you were or what label you were signed to. If you brought good vibes and were pushing music forward, we would have you come in. And in a way, that's how we feel about the Lower East Side and NYC in general. Individuality is a good thing.

This year, we sadly had to say goodbye to the old building as the building owner decided to turn the space into something different, but that gave us the opportunity to relocate HR to a new neighborhood studio in SoHo. Each hood in NYC has its own flavor and style to it, and SoHo is no different. We are big fans of the outdoor artwork we pass by on our way into the studio—and it's already starting to feel like home.

This is the wall of keys. At a time when a lot of artists and producers are making music just on their computers, we are still big champions of analog. During studio sessions, we find that starting ideas and getting the creative juices flowing works best when there are a variety of different instruments at your disposal. The Polysix with the painted keys was purchased used from some dude in the Bronx that definitely liked his hallucinogens. Everyone always asks if we painted it... sometimes we lie and say, "Yes," sometimes we say, "What do you mean? I don't see any paint."

Creating the right environment in the studio is extremely important. This photo in particular is one of my favorites. I really love how the photograph creates the feeling of childlike wonder and limitlessness. We also purchased that super sexy Rhodes Mark I last year and since then we couldn't stop playing it and using it on records. A studio becomes official once you get the Rhodes."

We are slowly but surely adding to our collection. The good people over at Fender hooked us up with a Stratocaster and a Jazz Bass last year. I'm also a master at finding floor pillows on Etsy. Whenever The Knocks are not on tour, we pretty much take over the studio for weeks at a time and invite all of our musician friends that are in town to come hang and just create with us. There's a great crew of artists in the pop, hip-hop, and dance space that are still holding it down here and we couldn't be more inspired by the new scene that's coming up.

NYC rent has become fucking insane in recent years, so a lot of the industry moved west. We are NY lifers and take pride in what we have built so we feel like it's our duty to keep things going here. The out-of-towners will always have a place to create when they find themselves in the hood.

This is the wall of vinyl. As with the wall of keys, we still very much appreciate the history of music. Myself and the HR collective are big collectors of vinyl and much of the music that's created in here is inspired by the past. Most of these records traveled with me from my hometown in New Hampshire. It's a combination of my childhood, along with my parents' and grandparents' collections. We love to find obscure records to spin in DJ sets, sample on new songs, or just bring out to play and get inspired by during sessions.

Some of the best studio sessions can start by just vibing with the other people in the room. Taking out an old record and playing your favorite song can spark new ideas and bring the collaborators in the room closer together. We have a lot of '90s NYC hip-hop, soul, funk, Chicago house, classic rock, French touch. We have something for everyone. The boombox is something I've had since I was a kid and would bring to the skatepark with me.

A few years ago, we were invited to open for Justin Bieber on the European leg of his world tour. Being able to play in sold-out arenas every night was an incredible opportunity for us, and it was a great learning experience to watch the kid perform at such a high level, night after night. One of the best parts, though, were the fans. Both Justin's fans and our fans were so unbelievably supportive and positive and just really wanted to have a good time and dance.

During the tour, we released a song called "Heat" w/ Sam Harris from X Ambassadors and there's a lyric in the song that says, "I feel food, I feel great." The fans embraced this concept and began sending us drawings and videos inspired by the song and lyrics. We kept this one in particular because it looks a lot like us, but the drawing also makes us look kinda wonky and weird, which we are into.

That's me. Ben, aka B-Roc. One half of The Knocks. Founder of HeavyRoc Music and HeavyRoc Studios. The guy whose words you have been vaguely reading while you look at pictures of our studio. This has been fun, but we now have to go put out all the music we have been working on this year. Look out for new releases by The Knocks, Alex Winston, Blu DeTiger, and more.

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