Benjamin Ruttner; recording artist, songwriter, producer, label head, and one half of the NYC electronic duo The Knocks; announces his new solo project, Holiday87. With the announcement, he shares his debut single “Lost,” along with a self-directed music video. It’s the first single on his forthcoming debut self-titled LP due December 11th.
“Lost” gently propels through a house groove, evoking a sense of excited discovery, nostalgia, and familiarity all at once. The single is accompanied by a music video [shot by Ruttner] that features actress Emmy Wheeler in a lush sun-soaked northeastern beach town.
Speaking on “Lost,” Ruttner says, “Making this song was a turning point for me that helped me decide to do my own solo project. I was going through some relationship issues at the time and i felt like this song really hit a nerve for me when making it. The lyric is sampled from Los Yesterdays and says “I cant’ feel nothin’, since I lost you,” which is obviously a very relatable sentiment for anyone numb from heartbreak or loss. The feeling the song gives me is a sort of bliss from being lost or alone in your feelings. The lyric could be taken in a really sad way but with the music behind it, it makes it feel uplifting which kind of gives you a reassurance that it’s ok to be lost/alone sometimes and that it will always get better. I shot the video in Massachusetts at my parents house in the country. Most of it is filmed on a path that I walked daily and the clips are of my partner Emmy. It kinda feels like a glimpse into my head when I would take that walk by myself.”
The concept for Holiday87 came to Ruttner while he was spending time in upstate New York during quarantine. It was his return to the woods, a setting very familiar to him from growing up, that sparked a creative pull towards the return to his roots. As a teenager in rural New Hampshire, he would make sample-based/beat DJ music by himself on a 6 track cassette recorder, inspired by artists like DJ Shadow, The Avalanches, Moby, Gorillaz, Dan The Automator, and Fatboy Slim. He’d work on his music at his home [which was located down a dead-end dirt road] and then sell the cassette tapes to students at his high school and at the local record shop.
“My first job when I was 15 was working at an old record store. The owner couldn’t afford to pay me, so he would let me take records home to sample and bring back in exchange. This period of my life heavily influenced who am I as an artist, and when we were on tour this past year in places like Japan, Cuba, and Texas, I started crate digging once again; not knowing what for other than to just reconnect with my love for music.”
Holiday87 opens with a simple question, ‘does everybody dream?’ From there, it twists and turns through influences past and present, guided by a deep appreciation for rare soul and doo-wop samples from artists such as The Fairlines, Lady and The Foxettes, Herb Johnson, and Benny Soebardja. An undercurrent of nostalgia, warmth, and wistfulness ties it all together. Unique visualizers and music videos [shot, directed, and edited by Ruttner] accompany the songs to provide an even deeper look into Ruttner’s psyche. As a nod to his past, the album has also been printed onto a limited number of cassette tapes.
The release of “Lost” coincides with the launch of the record label imprint, Black Clay, a new venture partnering with ADA/Warner Music that focuses on developing projects in the electronic music space. The label is run by Ruttner, James Patterson [The Knocks], and long-time The Knocks manager, Steve Kopec].
Ruttner has proven to have a knack for spotting talent. Founding the NYC tastemaker indie label HeavyRoc Music, he has been known for being at the forefront in the discovery and promotion of some of New York’s most forward thinking acts [Sofi Tukker, Blu DeTiger, St. Lucia]. In addition, the label has been hosting the wildly popular “Knocks & Friends” party across the US and has featured performances by acts including Mat Zo, Walker & Royce, Purple Disco Machine, Blu DeTiger, Kah-Lo, and more.
Ruttner has been in the music business for over a decade. He got his start competing in DJ scratch competitions along the east coast and soon started producing for artists such as Mobb Deep, Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, and The Game. Soon after, he met James “JPatt” Patterson and founded the globally renowned electronic duo, The Knocks. The pair have since released 2 full length albums [55, New York Narcotic], several EP’s [Magic, Comfortable, TESTIFY, Summer Series: 2019], collaborated with some of music’s biggest names [Foster The People, Carly Rae Jepsen, X Ambassadors, Idris Elba]. and toured around the world with music heavyweights including Justin Bieber, Ellie Goulding, and The 1975. In addition, Ruttner has written for acts such as Chairlift, Liam Payne, Carly Rae Jepsen and more. His last side project, Amelia Airhorn, was a sample-based disco project with artist Skylar Spence and received critical praise from outlets like Pitchfork, LA Times, Billboard, and more.