I never go out to nightclubs. Im not so into that, er, socialising. Im not a big fan of this superficial talking in clubs generally I find it quite boring. I also get stressed when too many people start talking to me all the time- I dont feel comfortable. I still go out to concerts and bars but not really nightclubs. Im also not excited by other DJs.
Smiling warmly across as he sips a Coke in a Berlin designer café, hotly tipped electro-tech dance music innovator Alex Ridha (aka Boys Noize) is happy to admit hes as hyper-critical of clubbing as he is of other DJs.
Every time I went to clubs I kept meeting people who wanted something off me. I didnt like it so at that time I already started going out less, he laughs.
Am I hyper-critical of other DJs? Yes, of course, he continues.
Mostly I dont like their track selection, I think to mix a techno or house record is not difficult technically. I came up mixing hip hop style. Few DJs excite me. And everybody thinks theyre superstars, when theyre playing other peoples records.
Despite spurning nightlife (he loathes Londons Fabric in particular) Alex is one of the key new producers to emerge from the post-house anything goes mixed-up mash up scene thats rewired clubland in the last few years. Prolific as a remixer (notably of Bloc Party, Depeche Mode and an amazing new version of Alloy Mental) hes An A list name alongside the likes of Simian Mobile Disco and Justice though anxious to distance himself from any hype.
I think new rave is just another word for electroclash, the music has always been there its just been built up again by the NME and those band, he explains.
Id also say The Klaxons are just a normal indie band theres no rave in them. Im not really doing any more remixes for indie bands anymore because I thought it was all too much. Everybody remixes the Klaxons. That whole scene bores me now, clubs need real techno again.
Putting his efforts where his mouth is, hes just about to release his debut album Oi Oi Oi, a record he explains is entirely aimed at DJs.
That was precisely the idea behind the album- to have a set of tracks that can all be used for playing in clubs. More often that not I go out and buy albums and can only play one or two tracks, I wanted them all to be playable, he says
Forcefully independent (he gleefully snubs managers as much as major labels) hes also determined to do things his way, admitting he made the tracks separately before tossing them together as one. The result is surprisingly coherent, reflecting his singular vision and vibe.
Ive always had this attitude of f**k off, if someone wants something they will come, he explains, You dont have to push it too much.
Skrufff (Jonty Skrufff): Your DJ schedule and label release schedule are phenomenally busy, so much so that when I first looked at your Myspace I initially assumed you had major label support . . .
Boys Noize: No, not at all, nothing like that.
Skrufff: Why dont you have a major label?
Boys Noize: Its quite simple. I was asked by managers of other big names to manage me but I always said no because I dont like people saying Boys Noize is the new shit, I dont like that hype situation. Another reason was that if I had given my album to another label I would have probably had to do some things I didnt like to because they would have given me some money. I invented the label and developed it all on my own and prefer to release the album myself and let people discover it themselves. When I started thats how I found records. When I was 14 I used to imagine that I was the only person buying each record, of course it wasnt like that but I felt special and thats how I want people to feel with my music.
Skrufff: You came from Hamburg before moving to Berlin, I understand theres some rivalry between the two cities . .
Boys Noize: Oh really, I wasnt aware of that. The two cities are totally different, in terms of both their vibes and look. Hamburg is more green, the air is probably fresher there but I wouldnt say either city is better, they are each so different. Hamburg is where I grew up so I still like it there.
Skrufff: Why did you move to Berlin?
Boys Noize: Only because of my girlfriend, I moved here four years ago to be with her. We still live together now and have a dog and everything. It was a good reason to move to Berlin because I had a studio in Hamburg with a friend which I had to give up to move here but since then Ive set up my own studio and also Boys Noize.
Skrufff: How easy was it for you to get established in Berlin?
Boys Noize: It wasnt so easy, Id say Ive ended up with not so many friends but a couple of good friends. The first friend I made here was Housemeister, because he was very open and I played once in Berlin four or five years ago and he came up to me and said he really liked me DJ set and from that point on we started meeting up becoming really good friends. As Im working a lot as well, which I like to do, it means I dont have time to see people, plus I never go out to nightclubs. Im not so into that, er socialising. I have friends more from music and from my girlfriend.
Skrufff: Now your profile is really high all over the place, did you have any particular big breaks, or big tracks that helped you break through?
Boys Noize: One or two remixes helped me a lot, particularly one I did for Bloc Party, which I actually did in 2004. I was the first person to ever remix them. People seemed to forget about it for two years then when Bloc Party released their debut album the hype got so big and people started asking me for that remix. Then Kitsune, the super hyped label, released it and of course they are so big. Then the Depeche Mode and Kaiser Chief remixes helped establish me too.
Skrufff: Were you doing day jobs at any point?
Boys Noize: No, no, I look at myself as a musician because I was a drummer for five years too, and I played piano. Im producing a lot, handling my label on my own, with some help from my girlfriend, which takes a lot of time. Plus all the touring.
Skrufff: Berlin still has a big minimal scene, do you know many of the minimal players?
Boys Noize: I think Berlin needs more minimal, minimal is great (laughing) no but I know them by seeing them in record shops sometimes. Tiefschwarz and I know each other. I just saw Richie Hawtin at a festival for the first time recently and shook his hand. I was actually a big fan of his for years and was following his productions for a long time but right now I think minimal is totally boring and lame.
Skrufff: Did Richie know you?
Boys Noize: I dont know, I think he might have heard my name. Maybe ten years ago he might have played my music but today I dont think so. We all know what he plays. Its a different scene and its not really my thing, its getting more and more boring all the time because everyone is copying each other. And every second student gets software on his Mac for free then produces some tracks and thinks its so cool minimal. But its not. Ive been producing for eight years and after 8 years you learn a lot of sounds and engineering techniques.
Skrufff: Have you come across many people copying you?
Boys Noize: Well its started,sure. With every genre and in art generally there are always a handful of guys doing something, not necessarily new but at least fresh then there are 5,000 other people who try to get inspired by them. Of course, Im inspired by lots of other people too but I was always the kind of guy who switched away from things when too many people started liking something. Just now you hear lots of bad copying of Justice or Boys Noize style, its sad because once that starts, it starts to fall down.
Skrufff: The albums called Oi, Oi, Oi, which in England at least has skinhead connotations. Why did you choose that for the album title?
Boys Noize: The world Boys Noise has the Oi inside it already and my friend and designer Paul Snowden spotted it when we were doing some artwork with the name Boys Noize three times. He does slogans on T shirts, he came up with the Oi Oi Oi graphic, plus it fits very well to the music, its not punk but to me a techno party can be like a punk concert as well, so I thought that could be a new way of Oi. Im also taking care of my label to not be surrounded with managers or shitty stuff. I was always with this attitude of f**k off, if someone wants something they will come, you dont have to push it too much. Altogether I think its a good name.
Skrufff: Were you keen on electroclash when that first came out?
Boys Noize: I liked electro a lot and I was a big fan of Gigolo Records when it was founded then it became called electroclash when the indie thing came in and also from the mash-ups with 2 Many DJs. But yeah, I liked it because it was the time when techno and house werent exciting anymore. I dont like the terms but of course you need something to describe the sound. I really liked the Felix Da housecat album too, he was the man for electroclash.
Skrufff: You said you no longer go to clubs now, were you a big clubber as a teenager?
Boys Noize: Yeah, I started DJing when I was 16, after my very first gig I got a lot of bookings. Id worked in a record shop for many years before and my boss, who was also a DJ offered me to play a warm up for a big night in Hamburg one day. I wasnt nervous at all, I did it, it went great and after that it took off. Then one year later I knew so many people and every time I went to clubs I kept meeting people who wanted something off me. I didnt like it so at that time I already started going out less.
Skrufff: How do you like being a Dj now?
Boys Noize: I love it because I see it more musically and I also play a lot of my own stuff. Producing techno is way more exciting than producing pop rock or other common music because when you produce something else its less open. With rock records, you lay down the drums, and the rest whereas in electronic music you can make the sound of anything.
Skrufff: Youve remixed Marilyn Manson recently, are you a big fan?
Boys Noize: Errrrrrm, not really a big fan but I really like some of his records and his voice. I thought its great to do a remix for him because its more fun than remixing Shit Disco or someone like them.
Skrufff: Do you see yourself as being an artist performer like Marilyn Manson one day?
Boys Noize: Yeah, its always good to provide entertainment for the people. I not so into the Gothic thing but at least he has some attitude, I think you need an image.
Skrufff: What kind of image are you pushing?
Boys Noize: I cant really say.
Boys Noize: Oi Oi Oi is out shortly on BoysNoize Records.
Jonty Skrufff (Skrufff.com)