- Wed, 2009-08-05 15:00
Playing both drums and piano from an early age, Alex Ridha aka Boys Noize, has gone on to become one of the most sought after German electro-tech producers of the 21st Century. With a collection of high profile remix work under his belt including Bloc Party, Depeche Mode, Marilyn Manson, Feist, Justice, Snoop Dog, A-Trak, Royksopp and most recently Black Eyed Peas, he released his debut album Oi Oi Oi in 2007 to much acclaim.
With second album Power now completed, his label Boys Noize Records heading up some storming new releases and a globe trotting tour schedule underway, I Like Music caught up with Alex to chat about his work as a DJ, remixes, playing sets and why he won't answer to anything apart from his own musical instinct.
"I Like Music because ... the music likes me." Boys Noize
ILM: You’re in Ibiza at the moment...how is it out there?
Alex: It’s lovely. The summer is definitely here! My housmates are next to me (loud whistling in the background) we have a Boys Noize Records evening tonight, it’s good, it’s going to be nice!
ILM: Your tour schedule is so hectic. How do you cope with all the travelling?
Alex: I have my medication when I travel. It’s not the most fun part of everything so you’ve got to find a way to not go crazy or get stressed. However, the good thing is that when you arrive you’re usually in a good city and you get to meet nice people.
ILM: What do you enjoy the most about playing sets?
Alex: It’s the best. I’ve been playing for ten years now. I love it as much as I did on the first day. You make people happy. The music is inspiring, I love playing new songs. It’s what I love. I’m very thankful I can make money out of what started off as a hobby.
ILM: What’s the Boys Noize process of making music? How does it all come together?
Alex: It’s always a little bit different. Sometimes I have an idea of a melody or something and I’ll start with that. Or I’ll just go to my drum machines for a play, or start with my synthesizer, or I might begin with a sample and then build around it. Most of the time I start with the beat. I’ve always been into the beat. I try to find as many different sounds as possible, I don’t want to repeat myself. I used to be a drummer. So for me, the beat is the most important thing.
ILM: What can we expect from your second album, Power?
Alex: It starts where the first album ended. It’s a club album. Well, my friends don’t say it’s totally club, but for me it is. For me it was important to be able to play any track off the album in a club. I didn’t want it to do what everyone else might expect of a second album. You know, ‘featuring so and so’ I wanted to keep it real. I could have made all these certain types of tunes just to please everybody, but I just do what I feel. That’s what music is about.
ILM: As well as your own tunes, you’ve done some incredible remix work. How do you approach a remix? Is it completely different to the way you approach your own music?
Alex: Oh yeah, it’s totally different. With a remix you already have material to work with, you know, the parts of the original song. For me that makes it very easy. You can fuck up those parts, totally change them. I always try to take a total different approach to the original idea of the song. To bring it back in my own way, to add a different colour to it.
ILM: Have you ever taken any massive risks musically? Particularly with remix work. Have you ever been worried about someone’s response?
Alex: Honestly, I make myself really free from all of that. At the start I told myself I would just do it the way I like it. I wouldn’t care about anyone’s opinion or anything. I think that’s also why my label and everything around it grew very naturally. I never had to promote my music in a crazy way, I never had a manager for a very long time. I just released 12 inch vinyl on a small label. I think people appreciated that. If you take that approach it is easier to get to the position where you’re able to do whatever you like. Everyone should approach their music like that, rather than trying to see what the new trend is and re-generate it. For me that just doesn’t work.
ILM: What are the future plans for Boys Noize records?
Alex: I want to keep it small. I want to keep the DJ culture there. In terms of releases, the next one is the first release of Erol Alkan. It’s going to be an Erol Alkan and Boys Noize 12 inch, produced by both of us. I’m going to be promoting my album through some more singles with remixes. There’s a lot coming up with Boys Noize records. Shadow Dancer, Housemeister, D.I.M, Strip Steve, Djedjotronic, they all have new music coming out...
ILM: What music are you listening to at the moment?
Alex: I’ve been listening to a lot of the stuff I’ve done with Gonzalez. I’m producing the new Gonzalez album. He’s the producer of Feist, a songwriter and a great piano player. I’m really into that right now.