Alexander Ridha has proven himself a constant source of creative energy in a music scene as erratic and chaotic as the music he produces. His relatively short residence as one of the most sought after Electro performers and Remixers in the world, has seen a popular discography built from his taste for unusual partnerships and a diehard passion for anything Electronic. We caught up With Alex “Boys Noize” Ridha ahead of his world tour, to talk Graffiti, Synthesizers and The Warehouse Project.
In terms of producing, have you found that your approach has changed since your first L.P OIOIOI?
No not at all, not at all. I still start with a machine, or any sound I come up with, or any sample and build it from there. I don’t ever have any templates or pre-sets or anything; I always start from zero.
So do you find yourself just jamming and experimenting with sounds and instruments and hardware and taking it from there?
Yeah exactly, that’s it. Before I started the new album I brought one or two new things. Like a drum machine and a couple of old synthesizers. Every time I get a new instrument it’s a great impulse for me to make new music, I’m happy if I make two or three tracks with one new machine.
So you must have tried the new OP-1 Synthesizer right?
Yeah I’ve got it! I used it on the song What You Want, off the new album; I had problems mixing it because it was so thin, like it wasn’t a set sound, that’s why I doubled it up and used 6 sounds from the OP-1.
So what was it like being involved in the Warehouse Project in Manchester?
The first time I played there was in 2006, I was supporting Soulwax and from the first time it was just really outstanding, like the vibe in there and the reaction I got was really special. Especially at the Warehouse Project, I made different kinds of sets, because it’s special and you have to get into the vibe of the venue, so I played some pretty heavy Techno sets there (laughs).
Are there any dates you’d love to attend in particular?
I think there was a night, wasn’t it like, Flying Lotus and Hudson Mohawke, I’d love to go to that!
As an artist, have you ever felt pressure to compromise?
It took some time till people realised, but ya’know since the beginning I really tried to stay true to what I love and not to do anything that the industry wants for me. Sometimes that means you have to be quite radical with your decisions. I’ve never wanted to do something, or to put my name next to, something I think is not cool. But sometimes it’s not easy, because people need to make money.
In terms of past influences, could you name a few people who you respect for pushing forward Dance music?
Oh yeah! There were those early records from Dancemania: that was the kind of music I really wanted to DJ and produce. Plus people like Djax UP, Force Ins and Disko B.: they were all great.
So you must be a pretty talented artist, considering your love for graffiti?
I wasn’t, like, a crazy painter and I wasn’t doing big characters, but I was more on the bombing side. There was a time where I think, my bombs were on every bus in the city (laughs). Like, there’s never been a time when I’ve stopped; it’s kind of my thing. When I’m in the studio I’ll always have a pen and paper to the side of me (laughs).
I was going to ask actually, whether you’re still involved in the graffiti scene.
It’s not like I’m involved really in any scene or crew you know (laughs), it’s more like a thing I can’t stop! You know? I love it.
Have there been any musicians you’ve worked with recently who you found you could relate to?
Yeah I’ve met quite a few people who I think have a few things in common with me, but they don’t necessarily do electronic music. I felt that Gonzales and I had so much in common once I met him and spent more time with him. I felt like even though he’s making such different music to me, and in fact, I’d say he was a real musician (laughs), we had a connection. He’s a genius.
So what does the future hold for Boys Noize?
To be honest, if everything can stay like it is right now I’ll be super happy. I don’t really know in terms of music what I want to do, I don’t think about it to be honest (laughs)
Words: Charlie Wood