Alex Ridha Aka Boys Noize is one busy guy, from running a label, remixing many artists, touring, and creating his own music. We tracked him down in New York City and he shared some of his time for a chat.
CB: The first question I have to ask is how you manage to have the time to do everything, between label business (over one hundred releases), remixing other artists and touring, do you ever sleep?
AR: Funny you asked, I actually have two days off in New York City. With the label things I am handling mostly the artistic side of things. I really decide what’s important and do it first. When I’m on the road, I can still check in with artists, listen to stuff on my computer or check out videos. I really don’t consider all this work. I really love to do it. I’m lucky as well because my studio is at home, so I get to do most of the stuff there.
CB: You have worked with quite a number of different artists, from David Lynch to Feist to Depeche Mode. What would you say was the most challenging?
AR: I would probably have to say Chilly Gonzalez. He is a Pianist, his new album is called ‘Solo Piano II’, it’s all piano. I was a huge fan of his before we started working together. He really is an outstanding musician and entertainer, so to make an album with him was a real challenge, considering all these things. He would send me all these beautiful piano pieces, so I worked with them and tried not to think about who I was working for. I really enjoyed it as well because it was so relaxing and different from what I do.
CB: Despite the fact you’ve done it a number of times, is it a little intimidating remixing someone else’s creation?
AR: It’s interesting you say that. Yes, the artist kind of takes off all their clothes when they send me something original, You get all the elements of the song and how they recorded it. I really try and do what I think is best for another version of the song. I’m really a fan of remixing the song with the same elements of how it was originally recorded, it’s kind of like putting a new dress on something. On the Depeche remix, I didn’t want to destroy Dave Gahan’s vocals because they were so good. There was
another version where I cut everything up, so I guess it always depends on the situation.
CB: You have recently been touring America for the first time, do you find the audiences over here as receptive as the ones in Europe?
AR: I have been really happy with the audiences, they’ve been so amazing. The people are so into the music, and really knowledgeable. There’s so many young kids, producers, they really check out what i’m doing and have a real interest. I’m lucky that I get crowds who really appreciate my music, especially so far from where I’m from.
CB: You started Djing st a fairly young age, do you remember your first gig? And how did the audience react?
AR: I was thirteen or fourteen years old, I started out playing alot of House and Hip Hop Records. Then at sixteen I started getting my first real gigs, aside from school and small bars. I was so excited, It was a little easier because I was opening up for someone at a club with like five-six hundred people, so gradually people would come in while I was playing. It was a great experience because I learned how to read crowds and really work with people.
CB: ‘Out Of The Black’ has a bit more of a raw and edgier sound than many electronic releases, were you looking to create something a bit more unpolished from the beginning, or did it just flow that way?
AR: I think it is something that I do naturally or through intuition. It’s not something I control, I never go into the studio with a concept or a big idea. I like to go in and play with the drum machines, I like to play with different sounds until I can put the pieces together. I have always been a fan of records that were a little rough and not perfect, that’s really how I approach the music I make. So I’m pretty happy with the outcome of the album.
CB: Do you hear songs ever and think to yourself, wow I really wanna fix that, or if they change this bit it would be really great?
AR: Yes. There’s always producers that I hear that I love. I buy tons of music, I have like fifteen thousand albums at home. I really am a music fan, there’s always people doing amazing stuff. I’m always inspired by stuff, and happy if I inspire people. Yes, sure, there are alot of moments when I hear new stuff or even things I love. I’m always thinking what if I change this, how would that sound? Even working on remixes for people, I will still think of an alternate version of or part.
CB: Five albums which changed your life?
AR: Kraftwerk – Computer World
Prince – Around The World In A Day
Old Dirty Bastard – Return To 36 Chambers
De La Soul – 3 Feet High And rising
Stevie Wonder – Innervisions