There are few names within electronic music as widely known as that of Boys Noize. The producer and label boss often casts an array of debate as to the relevance of his sound amongst the underground. However, it is difficult to challenge his selection policy in the booth, his tastes more informed than most. This was perhaps most visible on his addition to the fabric mix series which featured music from the likes of I-F, DJ Deeon and more. However, it was still called into question by "heads" if you will.
Now he steps up to our mix series with a fresh selection of tracks designed to ignite, excite and no doubt challenge. What's the point if people aren't talking about you eh?
Listen and read the interview ahead of his Warehaus tour below.
Please introduce yourself…
My name is Alex Ridha aka Boys Noize aka Octave Minds aka Handbraekes aka a few more.
Who are you, where are you and what are you?
I´m just another lucky guy, making music and being able to live from it.
I’m at home in Berlin right now, that’s where I´ve been living for the past 14 years.
I am a DJ & producer born in Hamburg.
I started professional DJing in house & gay clubs when I was 15.
I produced my first tracks shortly after and started my own label BNR in 2005. Easy.
What does your music sound like? Can you draw what you think it sounds like for us (an image from the old internet is acceptable)?
Punching into a sunny side up egg. What is the old internet ??
How did you find yourself producing music?
I started out making bootlegs, like taking a Missy Elliot acapella and putting it over The Clash.
I used to play drums before I got addicted to buying House & Techno records in my early teenage hood.
The moment I came across an 808 drum machine I fell in love with electronic drums and became obsessed with drum machines.
What were your early influences?
I have a ten year older brother and he was listening to all these early House records in the late 80s. So, I kind of grew up with Farley Jackmaster Funk, Steve Silk Hurley, Marshall Jefferson, DJ Pierre etc - and I loved it. I totally dug his vinyl collection which is why I started to go to record stores.
Then I went to the Berlin Love Parade mid-end 90s. I was raving behind the trucks and Westbam & DJ Hell were my DJ gods lol.
The period 2001-2003 Electro Clash was big for me, too. I was a warm up DJ for Felix Da Housecat when I was 17 years old and he blew my mind. It was right before he dropped his „Kitten & The Glitz“ album so his DJ set was filled with that sound ++ I just loved the energy. The same year I saw Ritchie Hawtin playing this tribal techno EBM set and I saw 2many DJs mixing up The Stooges with Techno. All of this had big impact on what I like about a good party. Production wise there are too many to mention from the 80s until today.
What role did the electroclash scene play in helping you to establish yourself and a sound?
Ha! To me it was something fresh. I remember listening to the promo of The Rapture and I thought „Wow, this is kind a punk but I wanna play this out“ - and so I did. „House Of Jealous Lovers“ was a tough record, I didn´t know anyone who´d play this in the beginning.
I got so bored from House music, which was pretty shit after French Touch 1.0 and Techno was too fast - SCHRANZ at that time - so, Int.Gigolo records, B-Pitch, Bunker and all that stuff was exciting and when that sound became more rocking I felt pretty inspired.
I made my first Boys Noize tracks, and I played a gig with WESTBAM & DJ HELL - dream came true - in berlin. I handed them a cd with 15 tracks. Both called me back the week after :) And so my first 12“ came out on Gigolo in 2004.
How has your musical taste since evolved?
That’s hard to say. I still listen to everything from Disco to Industrial and weirdly I´m still drawn to the same raw productions than 15 years ago, I just don’t like clean House or Techno music. It’s the same with DJs and DJ-sets.
Sometimes I go to Berghain and I think, c´mon man, just let the crowd erupt once, but no, too cool for school haha….I also had good times at Berghain though lol.
You’ve often been associated with being a big room dj, was this always the intention? It seems that you have returned to a slightly more abstract style as of late?
I don’t know man, a big room DJ ? Big rooms like Manchester Warehouse project or Fabric Room 1 ?
When I started out I never thought about playing for large crowds or even touring on a bigger scale. I worked at a Techno & House record store (Underground Solution) for many years, I was throwing my own little parties in Berlin, putting up posters at night, playing for 150 people and my music definitely did not intend to please anyone, rather the opposite lol but when I dropped my first album 'Oi Oi Oi' everything became kind of crazy, totally unexpected. I received offers for festivals and shows all around the globe - and I was up for that ride. So yea, ever since I also play large crowds, mostly on festivals though, and it is fucking crazy and I love it, but musically I don´t consider myself a big room DJ. Of course, I play different when I play festivals than when I play a small filthy club, a good DJ knows what do to, but even in my festival sets I always drop tracks people don´t know, 'underground' records not a lot of DJs would play in front of thousands of people. I just told Truss that I was playing his Blacknecks 004 on all my festivals set last summer lol. I love the challenge of taking the culture I came from to an environment where it might not obviously belong to. After all, my heart lives in the club, that’s where I’m from and what I know best.
About being abstract, I think there was always a portion of "abstract style“ or playing weird records. In 2005 in Berlin when I first played Justice´s „Waters Of Nazareth“ promo it was pretty abstract considering the strictly minimal scene back then. Dropping Omar Souleyman in the middle of my set at a big festival and kids pogo to it is pretty abstract or playing „Mussolini“ by DAF at a USA rave in between a bunch of EDM DJs, could be considered abstract as well. And finally the fact that I never had a hit but got to play the places I play is pretty abstract, at least to me ;)
However, let’s just be real & honest and have some god damn fun(k) !
What are you looking for in the present day when signing a release to the label?
I really don’t care what style it is, it´s the production which has to excite me. That’s already half on the record.
If the guys are nice, too, that’s the other half.
Where was the mix recorded?
What would be the ideal setting to listen to the mix?
I have no clue. I am always surprised by what type of situation people listen to my music.
What should we be wearing?
What would be your dream setting to record a mix: Location, system, format?
Put me in anywhere with my friends and a proper soundsystem. Forest, basement, subway. I just don’t like Function One *.*
Which track in the mix is your current favourite?
I really love what Lux Rec are doing, so that Prosopo record (which I believe is June) is great. Sawf is making some gnarly stuff, he does electro clash but also tribal (which is coming back hard!!). My favorite one is probably The Blech record though. I’ve been playing that everywhere, I love it so much.
What’s your favourite recorded mix of all time?
Of my own mixes ? I don’t know, there are a couple OK ones in my DJ-Mixes playlist on my Soundcloud, I still enjoy most of them.
Looking back, there was only one weird time for me, between 2012-2013. I went through some crazy 'life things’ and musically I wasn’t sure what was going on.
If you could go back to back with any DJ from throughout history, who would it be and why?
Ron Hardy maybe ? His sets must have been bad ass !!
What was your first DJ set up at home and what is it now?
When I was 14 I've had two jobs to be able to buy these shit Reloop turntables and mixer. I remember you had to be so careful to adjust records while mixing. Now, I´ve got my 2 Technics, 2 Pioneer 2000 Nexus Double Eight 5.1 and the new new Pioneer 900 Nexus-2 DJ mixer which is amazing!!!
What’s more important, the track you start on or the track you end on?
The track I end on. It’s ok to fuck up the beginning of your set, you just play a good one after. By the end of the night no one really remembers anything but the last 20min anyway.
What were the first and last records you bought?
D-Mob „Put Your Hands together“ 12“ and a new Unknown Precept 12“
If this mix was an edible thing, what would it taste like?
Something you didnt like before.
If it was an animal what would it be?
One record in your collection that is impossible to mix into anything?
There are a few. First one that comes to my head are those old KMS records that go backwards. I remember that Laurent Garnier & DJ Ata both wrote me once ‚I love your records but they are impossible to mix' lol.
Upcoming in the world of…
Melania ? DJ Harvey ?
Anything else we need to discuss?
No, thanks, that’s enough. Have a nice day <3
The Boys Noize "Warehaus Tour" is starting in London on February 11th at the Laundry & will be followed by an appearance at Sub-Club in Glasgow on February 12th. Follow Boys Noize on Facebook HERE.