Award winning don juan of the remix Alex Ridha, aka Boys Noize, is the monumental one man dance act with unrivalled rave inducing abilities. Going head to head with on point electronic artist Jimmy Edgar, Alex muses over his work to date and exclusively premieres the latest album 'Out Of The Black - The Remixes' via i-D.
Listen to the i-D Premiere of Boys Noize - Out Of The Black - The Remixes here now.
Respecting Alex Ridha on both a personal and professional level, Berlin based Detroit native Jimmy Edgar is Boys Noize's number one hype boy. Fully focussed on defying chart dictating trends and producing next level material, both riot artists vibe off each other's high tempo, bass-fuelled riddims. Benefitting from the world wide boom in popularity for house music right now, both underground artists are suddenly more celebrated in more mainstream circles. Remaining unaffected by the making of money, continuing to put out their niche, club fuelled tracks, respect and popularity is building massively for both. Unequivocally original and multi-directional, the two brother acts go head to head, dissecting micro funk and tech glitch, chatting about what it takes to make a credible club-friendly hit.
Releasing Out Of The Black - The Remixes, an eight-track compilation distributed via Alex's own label Boys Noize, on February 3rd, Alex (formerly da kid) delivers fresh, rare beef. Featuring remixes from his friends: double trouble Justice, the iconic Chemical Brothers, fellow don juan, king S N double O gee dawwwg, and of course the K7 signed Jimmy Edgar himself, this release is set to break huge waves on the scene. Press play on your weekend. You. Are. Welcome.
Boys Noize: I’ve been following your music for many years and you are one of the most diverse musicians / artists I’ve met.
Jimmy Egdar: Thanks Alex, that means a lot coming from you. I was really surprised to find out you were a fan because when OIOIOI came out I was really blown away by the simplicity and power of your music, I really appreciated you went straight to the point and had some pop elements to your dance tunes. So, when we met a few years ago, I was really impressed by your vibe. One thing that inspired me was that you are such a friendly person, incredibly open and always down to collaborate. I think this is an extremely understated personality trait in successful people, and back then it really inspired me to be more like that too; I used to be discouraged when thinking l was too open and nice to people. Me and Clark once had a conversation and the conclusion was basically when people say “Wow, you are a lot nicer than I expected” what they are really saying is “Damn, I would’ve took a lot more shit from you and still respected you as an artist”.
JE: What are your thoughts on being real, staying positive and how these qualities are viewed in our industry?
BN: l try not to think about what people, the market or the industry expect of me, I want to surprise and be surprised. I just can’t do the smart thing all the time, I can only do what I feel is right. I must admit it's a bit of a juggling act: doing what you love and making a living out of it, but I have been very lucky so far that it worked for me. It's kind of a path each artist has to choose. The (electronic music) industry blew up so crazy in the last two years that things happened, which always follows when a niche becomes mainstream; the serious people come, the $$$ bling and that changes the effect some artists have on each genre, too. I try to keep all this away from me as much as possible and stick to my thing: do what I dig, discover new shit, new sounds, new music, everyday. Supporting good stuff or talented producers is another thing that drives me really, it's weird but i m kind of obsessed with that. What I’ve learned in the past is that most young producers want to be super underground and super riot, which I think is the most exciting time for creative output, but once they get older or pass the thirties, their priorities change; their attitude changes, the motivation to make music alters. I guess staying cool and keeping it 'underground' fades away when you face real life. To me this sounds like 100% horror, something I don’t want to be caught in. I want to enjoy my stupid ideas of electronic music, because in the end this is what makes me happy.
BN: I’ve always been a fan, from your own micro-funk, to your Detroit tech glitch and classic electro. Recently you’ve been killing it with your more tool-y- future house stuff and I was wondering what made you decide to go for more simple tracks?
JE: Mostly for me, the inspiration came from DJ'ing every weekend the past few years. It really clicked for me what works on the dance floor and I spent some real time getting to know new hardware and software and how it can be implemented into DJ sets. Last year I did lots of remixes sort of to prove to myself I could make really dope dance floor designs. I also remember struggling with your remix a bit on the arrangement and Alex, you gave me some great advice that I still use today. This is why I love collaborating with people because it allows us to step outside our comfort zone and hear what works for other people.
JE: Where do you see music going in the future? And I ask this very specifically because in the 90s, we saw arrangements that were very busy, and we’ve come to a point where the simple and minimal beats tend to be more effective… Do you think it will come full circle again or do you think this is a reflection of Gen Y/Internet generation?
BN: Yes, we are moving in circles all the time. There will always be a reaction to what is going on musically. There will always be a handful of guys who try to push forward and try to sound different. The only thing that bothers me sometimes, is that because of the amount of music, quality and persistence of a good track tends to be taken away. It simply gets overseen. It’s hard to tell where it's going really but one thing I know is everyone will eventually come back to the roots of techno, house, electro or electronica. Btw thank you again for your two, "what you want" remixes, i ve sampled some parts of your dub mix and used it in my 'live show' too :). Do you play 'live' under JETS ?
JE: You’re welcome! We generally DJ and play lots of unreleased music. We have only done one 'live' show and it was basically an improv set for Boiler Room. We used a 9U modular synthesizer, 808, computer junk. I am now working on a visual live show to be announced later this year.
BN: What are you working on right now?
JE: Besides the live show, I am working on Ultramajic, my new record label. I have found a way to bridge the art stuff we do with music and it’s turning out to be a great experience! You’ve run BNR for quite a while now… what do you feel has contributed the most to your success?
BN: That's not easy to say. In my mind you can run a label better if you are a producer too. If you have a good ear for good sounds and production, it helps a lot to get credibility because we are all nerds, you know. Also it's good to get support from cool DJs but the most important thing is to create an image. At some point people started to see BNR as a brand, which helped all of us a lot; it was a gift, but at the same time a curse. For instance, having releases from Spank Rock, Gonzales to Djedjotronic or SCNTST or remixes from DJ Koze, Robert Hood or Untold sometimes gets overlooked because people might think BNR is just about that bangin' sound that we started off releasing. It's not that easy to communicate that this label has a lot more to offer but most people need their categories and you can easily get stuck in there. It's the same with my DJ'ing because I can play very diverse sets, depending on where I play. The good thing is that over the last eight years and more than 100 releases on BNR, most producers and DJ's do understand my way of running the label and playing that crazy music sometimes.
BN: Some people might not know about your other creative output, photography and film. Tell me more...
JE: I just shot the campaign for a new fashion label designed by Pilar Zeta; her and I do all the Ultramajic artwork. She is involved in some amazing new fashion stuff. Other than that, I am working on an airbrushed series that has been taking up a lot of my free time when i’m not travelling. I did about 100 hours of painting tutorials so I could achieve the effect I wanted. They are a work in progress, but it's my best work yet.
JE: Speaking of other endeavours... Do you find DJ'ing and producing are one in the same? Are you always generally making club friendly tracks? I have found that when going more clubby, I have lost a bit of pop sensibility because my focus drew away from it…
BN: DJ'ing def inspires me to make club tracks; you get a good feeling for arrangements that helps to finish tracks quick. Are my tracks clubfriendly? Yes and No! I remember a few years ago, a few DJ's that liked my music complained that they weren't really able to mix them because of my short intros/outros. I rarely have a one minute beat before the main thing comes in and some tracks have weird arrangments where 3-4 total different parts follow eachother. I always aproach my tracks so I can play them and my DJ style has always been a bit hip hop too. I know I do limit myself with the amount of DJ's who could possibly play my music but at the same time it gets more interesting for non-DJ's to listen to that music.
BN: What's happening with our 1-2 demos we started ?
JE: I literally can’t find the files, embarrassingly! I think it's about time we get back to the studio. You need to come round too!!!
BN: I'm sure I got the session at my studio but YESSS I need to come by for some music. Your studio looks crazy with all that modular stuff!