EXCLUSIVE: Boys Noize Interview
Before his show in Amsterdam, we had the exclusive opportunity to interview Alex Ridha a.k.a. Boys Noize. He told us information about his album, drugs, collaborations with Skrillex and Mr. Oizo, new remixes by The Chemical Brothers and much more!
You’re back in Amsterdam, Holland. When we did an interview 2 years ago you said that Holland was your favorite country. Is it still the same?
Yes! Of course man! I mean, where can you get stuff like this? I’ve had so many great events here all the time and a really good experience with clubs and a lot of people. It’s close to where I live, so I don’t have to travel that long. I have a really good connection with it.
3 days ago you were playing at I Love Techno. What’s the difference between playing in front of 30.000 people at ILT and in front of a smaller crowd at Paradiso, Amsterdam?
Normally, when you DJ you can be way more experimental, closer to the people, you can get more personal and you have more time to play. At a festival it’s a short set, but then it gets more intense and it’s a crazy feeling when so many people go crazy. Both are amazing but I sometimes say that I prefer the club, because it’s just more personal in a way. There are certain cities like Amsterdam, Tokyo or London where you can play more interesting stuff and where people know the underground culture and are more open to new things.
You recently played in Tokyo. The electro scene in Japan is really developing right?
I think Japan was pretty ahead of time as well. There are still a lot of record shops, so people really dig white labels and labels that are only on vinyl. I played my first gig in Tokyo in 2005/2006, so that was pretty early as well. They are always really into underground music. You can see that from the nights and clubs, which is cool I think.
Now you’re finally doing a live show. Are you satisfied?
I’m really happy, I have to say. To be honest, it’s way more fun to play live than to play just my own tracks on a CD. Of course it has little loops and I add some elements. But now I have the ability to have every element of my own music played around and that’s really fun. I’ve worked on it for the past last year. I had it in my mind and tried to work out how I can play it and how the set should be like. I only had it in my mind and had never the chance to test it somewhere. So I had to get 2 or 3 times to play until I got more comfortable with it, but now I really love it. It’s really cool.
“Obviously Justice have the cross on the stage, so I thought when I play live to have something too”
Why did you choose to play with the skull?
I stopped using my skull head for my second album, but then I started to use it again on the visuals. As soon as the skull head came on people were screaming. So I thought “Oh, people are still connecting that with my music so much”, so I was thinking together with my friend Siriusmo on how to get the skull back. He was drawing all the stuff and drew a few different ones. Then he modelled it. I came to his place where was working on it and I thought it would be cool to have something like this on the stage. Obviously Justice have the cross on the stage, so I thought when I play live to have something too. That’s what also rocks people.
You mentioned Siriusmo. What’s he doing right now, because he also collaborated on your album?
He’s working on his album right now! He’s deep into the production. It’s good stuff!
Let’s talk about the album. The first track “What you want”, does it refer to anything?
Not really, I’ve had the idea with the lyrics during the holidays when there was no music around and I just recorded the vocals with my laptop. The tempo of the vocals directed the tempo of the track, so it’s slower. But it’s also slower because if you say it faster people don’t understand it any more. With that track I wanted to get back the feeling of one of my earlier tracks like “& Down”, where it sounds a bit like a rock sound but it’s actually electronic. Then there’s “Rocky 2”. Before “Rocky 2” there was another song on the album which I didn’t put on now and I thought “it needs one more heavy song”, so I did the “Rocky 2” fast and I thought it was perfect.
“Before “Rocky 2” there was another song on the album which I didn’t put on now”
You have a track called “XTC”. Do you think it’s a bit controversial?
I always like to play with a little provocation. But let’s be honest, if you want to talk about drugs in club life I guess it’s one of the most common thing in music generally. I was playing a lot of US festivals for the first time and I saw of what I thought was a 90’s rave culture. Girls with these furry shoes and stuff like that. All on drugs. Maybe that inspired me to make this track for this kind of feeling. Again, those vocals came when I didn’t do anything. That was 2 years ago and I had those lyrics, so they were around for a long time. I didn’t make the right track with it, but I knew I wanted to use those lyrics. Then, it was a day before the big Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas. I thought to make something really “stupid” for the opening of my set, because I didn’t want to start again with “Kontact Me”. As a result I made this really quick. At first I didn’t like it, because I knew I just made it as a weapon, but then I sent it to Soulwax and Justice and they really loved it. They said “it’s actually so weird and it’s such a big hit” and then I started to like it more.
Let’s talk about the track “Reality”. It’s one of the most artistic tracks of the album. How long did it take for you to produce the track?
That was the second track I did. “XTC” and “Reality”, they kind of started at the same time around early 2011. I had the first idea of “Reality” around end of 2010. I played in Australia in 2011, and that’s where I played the very early jingle version of it. It only had the melody and I built a track around it, but it didn’t work. ThoughI still loved the sound. After the tour I got the other “Tron” dark-like sounds and thought it was so good. I think that track took the most time of all of them. It’s more complex with all the layers and it almost sounds like an epic rock song. Then it took a long time to mix it as well, because of all the elements. A lot of the other tracks like “XTC” or “Rocky 2” are just one big sound with the drums. Once the drums are right it can go so quick, but on “Reality” there was a moment when I gave up.
“On “Reality” there was a moment when I gave up”
You’re talking about the rock-aspect of the album, but you also have “Got it” with Snoop (Dogg red.). How did that start?
I’ve sent him (Snoop Dogg red.) some beats. This beat and a few more, a year before, because I wanted to do something with him together and I wanted to make something for him, for his new album. They loved the beat so much. The plan was to make one for him and one for me. So we recorded two songs. One was “Got it” and another house one. I had problems with the house one and at the same time he turned into a lion (Snoop Lion red.). “Got it” was supposed to be his next single, but then I was like “I have to get it now”. The album was basically finished without the track. That’s why I put it as the last track of the album. For me the album was finished, and I thought it was a cool bonus track.
When we interviewed you two years ago, you said PUZIQUe was not dead. What’s the current status?
Nothing really happened. I’ve sent Andy (D.I.M. red.) a couple of ideas actually, a long time ago. We never worked on these. I guess we have to go back into the studio together, because those are the best moments with him. I mean it’s not dead, but I guess we just have to find some time.
““Got it” was supposed to be Snoop Dogg’s next single”
Can we expect something from Handbraekes and Dog Blood?
Yes! I heard that Dog Blood are working on some new stuff right now. A couple of new tracks that come out I think and I think that there are going to be some remixes too of the two tracks that are out already. I don’t know when it’s going to be ready, but maybe until spring next year they should be released. And I definitely have to do something more with Mr. Oizo, because that was so much fun and so easy as well. We didn’t even have to meet in the studio. For me it’s such a big pleasure. He’s my hero to be honest. He’s the best producer in the world.
“Dog Blood are working on some new stuff right now”
Can we expect any new stuff from Boysnoize Records?
The next thing that’s coming out is an EP from Boody & Le1f. Boody is the guy who runs Palms Out Sounds, which is a really cool label. And Le1f is coming from a crazy new gay rap scene as well and he already made a big name. But it’s weird shit. It’s not really club friendly. You can play it, I play it too sometimes. Although it’s not like big time club, it’s really awesome. Also, I signed really young guys from Hamburg recently, they’re called “Trapmasters” and they’re really amazing. I don’t know if you know the scene from the “Golden Pudel Club” from Hamburg. It’s the smallest club. Every DJ I know wants to play there, but they’re really picky with who can play. It’s a really amazing underground scene and they’re residents there. One night I went to it and on a Wednesday morning at 4AM this kid “Jony” from a night called ILL started to play and I was just blown away. I haven’t heard anything like this before. I went up to him and asked “What are you playing?” and he said it was his new jam. It was very hiphop, but so bouncy. He sent me a lot of stuff and sent me more stuff he was doing with his friends. Now he started a group with a couple of friends and we’re going to put out 4 tracks. You’d probably say there are one, two tracks that are trap-style, but they’re so well produced and not cheesy. That’s coming soon as well. Then I have some remixes for my own music. The Chemical Brothers did a remix of “XTC”. Jacques Le Cont did a remix for “Ich R U”. Chromeo and Jimmy Edgar have done remixes for “What you want”. D.I.M. did a remix for “Ich R U” too actually! It’s more chilled. He doesn’t want to release it as D.I.M., but I’m trying to convince him. It’s not like the crazy sounds, but it’s really good.
“The Chemical Brothers did a remix of “XTC””
Final question. Because we’re called “The Kool Kids”; What’s so Kool about you?
Hmm… Maybe my Star Wars shoes.