Making music for over half his lifetime, Alex Ridha, well-known to the world of electronic music as Boys Noize, has graced some of the world’s biggest stages performing alongside huge industry names. An undying work ethic and motivation to take electronic music to the next level on a global scale, Boys Noize has remixed and produced the biggest names in the global music world such as Depeche Mode, Daft Punk, Feist, Santigold, Scissor Sisters, Snoop Dogg and Skrillex and is known for his innovative sound.

Promising an explosive and electrifying performance, Boys Noize is one of the internationals heading to SA for this year’s Vodacom In The City on October 4th in Jozi and Rocking the Daisies on October 5th in Darling.

one small seed was super hyped to get the chance to catch up with the guy who Rolling Stone voted in as one of 2012’s Top 10 ‘DJ’s Who Rule the Earth’. And although we’re pretty sure he’ll make 2013’s list, we’re more sure making ‘lists’ aren’t really his thing. Unless, of course, it has the prefix – ‘set’ – before it.

I was never a fan of DJs that play the hits, it’s too easy. Even back then when I was working in a record shop… I got lots of promos but I stopped playing them when everyone else got the same record. (Ridha)

Boys Noize, image: c/o one-eyed-jack


When in SA will you take time to engage in our country’s unique styles of dance music? For example township -tech, kwaito, shangaan electro?

Yes totally; I’m gonna’ spend almost two weeks around my shows. I am so excited to check out the culture and of course the diversity in electronic music. I’ve heard so many good things about some crazy styles.

What is the first memory of electronic music you have? Good or bad… ?

Very good! I was at home in the room of my brother (who’s eight years older) and he was doing the ‘Walkman’ X ‘pump’ dance to those early house records from Farley ‘Jackmaster’ Funk, Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley and Trax Records or Bomb The Bass. I was only six or seven years old so I didn’t know it was house music.

What are some of your fondest memories from when you worked at Underground Solution in Hamburg? Is the shop still around?

That was the BEST TIME, really… So many good memories. I remember I was there the first time when I was 14 years old. I bought a few disco-house records but I only had one shitty turntable from my parents at home. After some months I ended up going there every day to check out all those house records and dig deep into all the different labels and I bought myself a set of two shitty reloop turntables and a mixer. One day the chef asked me if I wanted to work there, ’cause I was spending all my free time there anyway.

I started to work there as well as keeping my other job as a cleaning boy (where I made way more money) in order to keep buying all those records I wanted. I got crazy addicted to vinyl and stuff but at one point I couldn’t stand the cleaning-boy job anymore so I decided to only work at the record store. A few months later, my chef offered me a warm up gig in a proper house club for about 600 people and I was playing right before Boris Dlugosch, who was the local hero, so the full scene was there and I kinda’ rocked it (laughs). I was only 16 years old and super slim, but yeah, after the gig everyone came to me to give me big-ups. That one night changed my life!

What was the last record you bought?

There were a few. There is so much good stuff on vinyl right now. I bought that Kyle Hall 2×12″ and some new L.I.E.S. records. I really like all these rough house and techno productions that are having a comeback.

The deep house scene in Hamburg was really notable in the ’90s – different to Berlin, which was much more techno… Growing up there, during that time, what were some of the labels, clubs and DJs that moulded the early sounds of Boys Noize?

I was always a fan of those homemade weird production records that don’t sound too clean. Lots of Theo Parrish, Moodymann/Sound Signature, Guidance Recordings, Glasgow Underground, Henry Street, Ian Pooley… but even some Ibadan and all Masters At Work of course.

When I started off in ’96/’97 it was also the time of the first French Touch, especially all those early Roulé/Trax On Da Rocks releases by Thomas Bangalter really shaped me as a producer. They had the vibe of Chicago’s Dance Mania Records but the production was more special.

And then I discovered Disko B and Gigolo Records a little bit later and I started to lean more towards electro and techno, and right after all those it was Berlin labels like Sender, BPitch or Shitkatapult. I think that is when I found my own sound.

In Mark Dery’s text titled Black to the Future, he states ‘Techno, whose name was purportedly inspired by a reference to ‘techno rebels’ in Alvin Toffler’s Third Wave, is a quintessential example of Afrofuturism’ – What are your thoughts on this?

I think techno is way more then just a music style. Techno for me is also almost a lifestyle; although I wouldn’t say my music is techno. We make the music we love and we don’t really care what other people say. In a way, techno started out like punk music, a movement against the so-called ‘commercial music’. Techno clubs were dark and banging and you could loose yourself for hours listening to the hard 4/4 rhythm. I don’t know what ‘Afrofuturism’ means but maybe it has something to do with this?


You’ve commented that Mr Oizo is ‘the best producer in the world’ — what, in your opinion, are some of the key factors that makes a great producer?

(laughs) Yes, he definitely is one of my favourites! First of all it’s the sound. It doesn’t happen much anymore when I get fascinated by a sound of a certain producer but still Mr. Oizo does that to me. His production is always on point, kind of minimal but always playful and lots of fun. For me, those factors are the most important. Don’t get me wrong, I like more serious production too but I prefer to hear something where you think ‘WTF he’s got balls. It’s the same with those Theo Parrish records – sometimes they are so rough you can’t even play them but that’s exactly the reason why I do play them (not at a festival haha!). But, yeah, I think producers shouldn’t take themselves too seriously; it’s no fine art, it’s about simple emotions. We do this for fun and basically as a hobby and electronic music has no rules. Every time I hear a producer that breaks out of their own style I’m happy.

And, then what make’s a great DJ set?

Well, there are some factors. First of all let’s take a small club (say 500 people), second would be great banging sound and third being not too much light. I think a good DJ has a good feeling for moments and the DJ does the right balance of playing new shit no one has heard of but also giving the people a little candy (no real candy) every now and then. Again, you are a DJ at a PARTY and I think it’s most important that everyone has fun and can go crazy. So, yeah that’s basically it (laughs).

I’d rather try and break a new record into a hit; trying something out is what a lot of DJs don’t do enough I think. If I would play hits only I’d be retired from DJing already.


In an interview with Gigwise on talking about Daft Punk’s latest album you said ‘No one really does it like they do – and no one can do it.’ I agree! Without blowing any horns here, what do you think you do that that makes you stand out for others, such like Daft Punk stands out for you… ? Or at least something you are spending solid hours on developing. I mean Rolling Stone voted you amongs the Top 10 `DJS WHO RULE THE EARTH` in 2012…

Thank you, I can’t really name it, I think. I do look for sounds that other people don’t use. I buy so much music every day and I look out for music every day, so I try to find a way for exciting myself with sounds that I don’t hear in the same context I guess. The music I do has to excite me and when it does it has an effect on other people or producers. Also, I’m happy I can finish making records easily; I don’t overthink my music too much, which I guess a good thing.

In today’s money-making world of EDM, how do you maintain your sense of passion for the Art without giving in to the dollar?

I just trust my feelings to be honest. Also, I’m not the kind of guy who makes an EDM-type of record and put it out, I just cant, it’s not my style. I am happy with the way I live and the way I make my music. I don’t have to start making music for a business reason, it just ain’t me. I do love pop music and all that but for my own music I have a good vision. I was always careful what I put my name next to, for instance I never did remixes for acts I don’t like just for the money. It is not easy doing it the way I do and some people might think I’m stupid, but yeah, I’m so happy to be where I am without doing the obvious shit.

BNR (Boys Noize Records) recently had its 100th release, which of those 100 releases do you think will be considered a genuine classic 20 years from now?

(laughs) I don’t know but there might be some timeless bombs here and there ;) I think some of the stuff from Housemeister, Strip Steve, Djedjotronic or SCNTST are always anytime good to play.


Erol Alkan has been supporting your music right from the beginning leading to many collaborations with him. How did your collaboration with Skrillex come about (recording as Dog Blood) and what is the concept behind the release?

We didn’t plan this. I took off time from touring last summer so I was in Berlin all the time. He had a show in Berlin and I invited him over to my studio. We spent a lot of time playing each other’s music until we started to play around with some of my analogue gear. We recorded some sounds and put them onto his computer… in the end he crashed at my place and we ended up doing two tracks. Both of us knew we didn’t want to call it BN and Skrillex, so we decided to start this new project instead. The record came out in August 2012 but we didn’t tell anyone about it until our first festival show in March this year.

You were a warm up DJ early in your career. Do you feel that it is dying art in today’s world of huge festivals where the crowds want instant music from the get-go?

Well, I think it’s coming back more and more. There’ll always be cool clubs and there needs to be a guy who sets the mood right and gets the girls and boys dancing, right? ;)

Do you feel it’s essential for a DJ/Producer to release their music on their own record label in order to give oneself longevity in the industry?

No, it works both ways. Look at the Chemical Brothers or The Prodigy for example. You can do it either way.

I’ve just seen too many producers trying to enter into pop after a while on a major label… I like to have 100% control of the way I release my music.


Is there more pressure or a difference when remixing a current artist or when remixing a classic artist like you did with CJ Bolland’s ‘Horsepower’?

For me it’s almost the same thing. Generally it’s tough to remix techno tracks like CJ Bollands. (especially when there are no stems haha). Though, it was quite difficult to remix the Daft Punk TRON: Legacy soundtrack.

Any Alva Noto X Boys Noize collab? You mentioned he might not be up for it, but we thought you wouldn’t be up for this interview… (you might not be, I’m sending these off in blind faith)!

Yes! I’d be totally up for this! You know what, I just did a remix for ATOM TM which is coming out on Raster Noton and they all love it!!!!

Who in the future would you like to work with?

I’m happy the way things are. I love making music with Gonzales and we are actually work on a new album. But if you ask me, maybe Prince :0

Please finish this sentence: ‘South Africa…’

South Africa is where one of my best friends comes from and the place I will visit this year for the first time. I am really excited !!! oi


interview by Sarah Claire Picton and Bradford Newcomb
images: C/O one-eyed-jack,,,,

Relevant Links

BN Facebook
BN Site
BN SoundCloud
Vodacom in the City
Rocking the Daisies


Official music video for ‘What You Want’ by Boys Noize on YouTube