A production and DJ duo who specialize in melodic, carefree dance music that draws from soul, funk, disco, rap, and pop, the Knocks were formed in 2008 by James "JPatt" Patterson and Ben "DJ B-Roc" Ruttner. Patterson and Ruttner met at New York City's New School and shared an apartment, where they set up small recording studios in their bedrooms. The loud noise coming from their apartment led to neighbors constantly knocking on their door in order to get them to pipe down, hence the duo's name. Early success as remixers, however, enabled them to build their own studio in Manhattan. During 2008 and 2009, Knocks remixes surfaced for Katy Perry ("I Kissed a Girl"), Britney Spears ("3"), Chris Brown ("Beautiful People"), and PRGz ("Soul Glo").
In 2010, the duo released their first singles, the sunny "Dancing with the DJ" (which later appeared on their 2011 EP Magic) and the whistling "Make It Better." Over the course of the next few years, the duo's profile was magnified by additional remixes for Tegan and Sara ("Closer"), the 1975 ("Girls"), and Dragonette ("Let It Go"), among others, in addition to tours with Ellie Goulding, Dragonette, and Sleigh Bells. They also collaborated with Fred Falke for the Kitsuné Music release "Geronimo" in 2012, as well as Treasure Fingers for "DYWT," released on Fool's Gold Clubhouse in 2014. Also in 2014, the group released an EP, titled Comfortable and released on the Neon Gold label, that included collaborations with X Ambassadors and Ra Ra Riot.