photos / Michael Maier
interview / Black Dominoes
We have have been jamming to Berlin based DJ/producer Boys Noize (Alex Ridha) and owner of Boysnoize Records since his infectious debut on 2007’s Oi Oi Oi. Alex has come along way since then, playing at the biggest festivals and collaborating with some of the biggest names in music while becoming an icon himself. His latest album Out Of The Black includes cameos from Snoop Dogg, Chemical Brothers and Justice. We got a chance to catch up with Alex again and talk about his newest projects.
Boys Noize, Djedjotronic and Housemeister will be playing as part of the Boysnoize Records 10 year anniversary tour on June 5th at Vulkan Arena, Oslo and on June 6th at Slakthust, Stockholm.
Alex, you’re definitely someone who’s a DJ and club music ‘lifer,’ meaning you’ve been doing this since you were a young kid. Your first record Oi Oi Oi achieved a lot of success.
It was a very exciting time. we released‚ Oi Oi Oi basically out of our kitchen, never expecting it would blow up or so. at that time BNR only released a few Vinyls but in 2007 everything came together at once. I’ ve had just done a few big remixes for Depeche Mode, Feist or Bloc Party, and the sound just got a popular also thanks to the likes of Justice, 2many DJs and Erol Alkan.
We played all these crazy parties together where people stave dove and stuff and that was something I didn’t see before. the energy was really pure and raw and we all felt that something special is happening.
I was a DJ before that time for a few years but in 2006/2007 the way people went out and partied really changed into some crazy punk rock, freaky vibe haha.
This means you’ve been touring and doing this for a living for a while now. How do you stay sane on the road?
Good question. I don’t really know haha. I really love to DJ so I can’t really complain about all the stuff around that can make it really tiring.
one important thing is to get good sleep, which is the most rare when touring but if i get my 5-7 hour sleep I’m all good.
What stuff do you do to decompress and de-stress after gigs?
When I’ m home, i try to eat well, sleep well and go out with the dog. i try to do sports but it s really not easy to keep up with it
after you have 3 gigs in a row..
How do you stay focused in such a chaotic environment?
I always try to remind myself why i started making music, why I love DJing and where I’m coming from.
Describe that kind of feeling…performing like that…what is that kind of feeling like?
It’ s the happiest and most basic thing i do in my life. i think that playing out records that I enjoy, new records, testing out things live, going weird, going wild and crazy reflects to everyone who come and see me the nights where you can build this kind of relation and moments where everything is possible are the best.
Speaking of intense…how was 2008 for you? I was DJing in bars and clubs then, playing your tracks along with tunes by people like Justice, Mehdi and Busy P etc…most of your music has this big energy in it. I could never play those kinds of tracks until near the end of the night…they always caused people to just go crazy. Where does that energy come from?
i just love this stuff so much haha. my dj sets were always a bit more energetic. even in the early days in berlin or hamburg, around 2003/04 when i played with like Paul Kalgbrenner or DJ Hell everybody came at me and was like, WTF we ve never seen this club going so crazy“ ….now that has changed, crazy“ became kind of standard because a lot of producer make music that already have those moments programmed…it doesn’t feel as honest as creating those moments life or when you feel out these moments.
How was it being only like 25 or so and suddenly traveling the world etc? How are you still alive right now ?
i ve had my first real club gig when i was 16 years old, being a warm up dj, playing deep house, disco and stuff and a few years later i was playing inside/out germany. so when my first gigs outside of germany came i was so happy and thankful. i still enjoy playing like in the first days and today i even feel responsible to push the new/next sound for the next generation.
And now, I mean, you’ve probably been everywhere? I’m assuming you’ve got what, super ultra platinum stud frequent flyer status? what keeps you going? a lot of dudes kinda quit doing this after a year or two…what keeps you motivated etc?
it s the music. everyday i look out for new music and every time i dj i try to play out new music that excites me. but yeah traveling can be real tough sometimes, the older i get the more it get s difficult to deal with time-zones and stuff. that will probably be one reason to not play as many shows at some point.
what new producers and DJs are you feeling right now?
there is good stuff. i really feel that whole rough stuff that s been going for like 1-2 years now. lot’s of producers started to make house & techno & electro music that sounds like the 90’s stuff. i buy records every week to keep up with the vinyl underground scene. also, that s why i decided to release all my drum machine stuff i’ ve been making on this upcoming “Strictly Raw” album.
You grew up in Hamburg but you’re in Berlin now and have been here for a while…anywhere you like to go chill, or any bars or clubs you ever go to for inspiration? (maybe record stores?)
berlin has great records stores. OYE is my favorite one. i like to go out to Berghain on asunday afternoon and i still get inspirations from that too.
i love to go our for a hike to Teufelsberg and in the summer there are many nice places to go for a swim but to be honest i m not really up to date with the cool bars and clubs in berlin lol there is sooo much.
Nerd producer question: how do you get such great, beautiful compression in your tracks…your tunes just slam…in the best way…is it outboard gear or inside-the-box?
it s a mix of both worlds analog & digital i record lots of analog stuff, most sounds you hear in my music are from synths and machines actually but then i pump em up inside and then i go analog in the end again haha.
last question: pizza, burgers, or tacos?