For someone who’s happy to tell us his early ambitions amounted to little more than wanting to make mixtapes, Alex Ridha has certainly achieved a fair amount since bursting onto the scene 12 years ago. The German DJ first won attention in the mid-noughties with his maximalist take on electro and techno. Dropping records with everyone from Kitsuné to Turbo to Cocoon in those early years, Ridha built up an enviable discography and even launched his own Boys Noize Records very early on in his career. Since then he’s worked with everyone from Erol Alkan to Mr Oizo, to Snoop Dogg and Jean Michelle Jarre as well as teaming up with Skrillex for their Dogblood collaboration and helping launch the careers of artists like SCNTST. With new album ‘Mayday’, Boys Noize is at his tough and uncompromising best, offering a thrill ride of an album that takes in everything from industrial techno to jungle to hip hop with collabs with people like Hudson Mohawke and Remy Banks along the way. On top of that, he’s back with a new live set-up after retiring his festival slaying skull stage show. We caught up to talk 10 years of Boys Noize Records, the new live set-up and why he’s still just the kid in the record shop.
What is it that drives you to change and not be tied to a certain sound?
For me, there’s no reason for making another techno track of the kind that already exists. I always try to bring something new to the table. Away from the linear club music, where the loop can repeat over six minutes, but also away from the usual song structure, while taking the essence of techno and house and transforming it into something a bit more special.
Is there anyone who’s influenced you in that way?
I really loved some of the early Chemical Brothers stuff. There’s actually one release they did as The Dust Brothers that brings in these sped-up hip hop breaks and mad sounds. I was also a little bit inspired by some of the LFO stuff, which I always loved. LFO to me always brings the techno punk vibe. It’s a little noisy, but really clever.
How does your new live show differ from the skull stage? How do you top that?
I don’t really try to top anything. I just try to create something that is exciting for myself. It’s the same with the DJ sets I do. When I play in London, every time you see me, I will play something fresh and something that you haven’t heard before. That’s probably why people come back and appreciate my stuff.