After their mother died from cancer, Los Angeles brothers John and Ralph LaGuerre wanted to honor her life in a meaningful way.
The south Florida natives described their mom as a beloved and kindhearted community figure, a pharmacy owner known to give free medication to those in financial need. She was a “very Christian woman” who loved to sing in church, said Ralph, 33.
John, 30, added that she always encouraged them to pursue their passion for music and give back to others — and that’s exactly what they did.
“It dawned on me,” the 30-year-old shared. “Her passing was very tough, but I feel like she gave us the direction, like, ‘You could make it in this world as long as you work together, have a plan and vision and execute it.’”
The siblings launched Knockhouse Studios in August 2020 as a tribute to their mother.
The DTLA-based music production company, located at 1811 S. Hope Street, serves as a one-stop shop “for all recording and production” needs, incorporating high-end recording technology and facilities with below-market and affordable prices, its website reads.
Knockhouse, which powers Downtown recording studios The Wynwood and The Cabana, has since served the likes of multiplatinum producers like Just Blaze and Nabeyin — and it doesn’t appear to be slowing down soon.
The LaGuerres are now gearing up to launch the company’s third flagship studio, The Palms.
While The Cabana and The Wynwood are primarily hip-hop based, the new 620-square-foot room “vows to make recording affordable and accessible to artists of all genres” through fairer pricing than ever before. It is slated to open in February.
“This one is the best one we’ve done. The first two are awesome, but that’s what we used to learn,” John shared. “Now, with The Palms, we know exactly how to run all three. It’s like a well-oiled machine. One day, we want to have four or five of these spread out across LA and maybe beyond.”
Pricing will cost around $35 per hour, which is considered an affordable rate for the market area, John shares. The Palms will also offer a residency package, featuring roughly 28 hours of studio time for about $450 per month.
“We want to know who you are as an artist, big or small,” said Ralph, who also works as a stand-up comedian. “If you’re a new artist, this is one of the perfect places to come. We are here to guide you along the way.”
The Palms is just another testament to their mother’s philanthropy and entrepreneurship, Ralph and John explained.
The pair created Knockhouse Studios in an effort to offer artists, ranging from independent to those on a major label, high-quality equipment, a creative environment and top-notch expertise at “below-market prices.”
“We grew up with her kind of leading us into the men we are today,” John recalled of their mother. “She was heavily involved in the community, making sure people were healthy, and the people loved her.”
“That’s kind of our job with music,” he continued. “We’re trying to be kind hearted with the artists as well, giving them hours and helping them with their career.”
All Knockhouse recording studios feature a 24-hour online booking system, “customer service that cares about the client experience, and knowledgeable staff (that) is committed to providing you with the best possible service,” according to its website.
Clients also have access to all studios, engineering facilities and recording gear, including mixing consoles, computers, microphones and more.
“A lot of what differentiates us is we get very involved in the artist’s life,” said John, who works in the asset management industry. “We talk to them constantly and try to make a deep-rooted connection — not so they can come back, but just so they can be aware that there is more to just making music, there is the business side of music.”
“Primarily, Ralph does the artist work in helping them, and then I would go in and say, ‘How do you plan to market, what do you think could be some good strategies or when do you think you can finish your EP?,’” he added. “It’s about where they see themselves in the music industry and to try to target where they think they could fit in.”
But that’s not all Knockhouse has to offer.
The production company also promotes custom backing tracks and beats for sale. All of its backing tracks and beats are available with an exclusive license.
“I think the most rewarding part is a) owning a business — it is rewarding and taxing,” said Ralph. “But being in a room with an artist when they have nothing and then leave with something that they’re proud of, it’s pretty amazing to see.”
Both Ralph and John expressed a shared hope of continuing to flourish as a company while endlessly honoring their late mother.
The pair, as well as their associates, have plans to open a fourth studio in Miami, called Knockhouse Plus, in the near future.
For more information about Knockhouse Studios and its locations, visit knockhousela.com.