The German artist shows us his strange side.
No matter your thoughts on electro house's hyper-compressed grind, there's no denying the influence of its plus-sized beats on modern styles. While many of the genre's biggest names have flamed out or faded away since its heyday in the second half of the 2000s, others have proved more durable and versatile. Boys Noize, AKA Alexander Ridha, is a case-in-point. For a while tracks like "& Down" were inescapable at mainstream festivals, but these days he's playing at Robert Johnson and releasing heads-down techno 12-inches on his eponymous label. He spent the intervening years attempting to link the relentless energy of his early productions to other styles—he might collaborate with someone like Skrillex but he can still drop Randomer, Anthony Naples and I-F in a mix.
Ridha's latest album is called Mayday and it features the hyperactive blend of builds and drops that you'll recall from his debut Oi Oi Oi. The palette, however, has shifted from stadium-ready pounders to classic EBM, electro and techno, all of which you'll hear in this hour-long mix. Sceptics might be surprised at the depth of the selections, as Ridha powers through a blend of martial beats.
What have you been up to recently?
I just released my new album, Mayday, and I was doing some weird, illegal events around the release. Yesterday I played for four hours at Robert Johnson in Offenbach. It's a small club with great sound, and you can see the sun going up behind the decks. Now I'm back home in Berlin working on my new live show, which I'll be premiering at Sónar, Barcelona.
How and where was the mix recorded?
It was recorded in March 2016 at my home studio in Berlin. I used vinyl, CD players and a mixer.
Can you tell us about the idea behind the mix?
In this mix you'll hear old and new records. It's the kind of stuff I've been playing in my club sets. I always tend to play the "weird" records. I'm just too bored by the easy house or techno records. I really like this new wave of industrial, wave and what I call indie-techno. I'm buying vinyl every week to keep up with all the new raw stuff.
Tell us about your May 1st party in Berlin.
It was the perfect day and occasion to put up a soundsystem in the middle of the streets. We just showed up with the soundsystem right behind the Oberbaumbrücke in Kreuzberg, close to the main demonstration route. We did it very DIY. I played music for 90 minutes before the police kindly asked us to turn off the sound. As you can see in the videos, the vibe was incredible but very peaceful at the same time. It was a great day in celebration of peace and anarchy and against conformity and the ties of the system.
Has the political spirit of the day changed over the years since you've been going to it?
I don't think that the general spirit has changed. The day is (still) dedicated to demonstrating against the system we live in. But the level of violence and intensity has decreased. Today it's less for the hardliners, and there are a lot of non-politically-driven people out there as well. There are a lot of tourists too, which I think is part of the overall interest in Berlin that's been growing constantly over the last years. But even if it's less obviously political for some of the crowds, I feel by just being out there on the streets, supporting the movement and that day, people do participate in this "demonstration."
I personally think that a day like May 1st remains of huge importance in these days of mega capitalism, cultural capitalism, in a society that gets more and more polarized and conformist anywhere you go and look. People should stand up and speak up against a system and industry which makes it so hard to exist outside of its dogmatic world, and which hardly allows one to just live life the way one wants it. So in that sense the spirit of May 1st hasn't changed to me.
What are you up to next?
I have a big European summer tour with my new live show. The last weeks and months have been spent programming for it. I'm also putting final touches on my music production for Oliver Stone's new movie Snowden. There are some really good releases on BNR coming up: Djedjotronic has a new EP, SCNTST just finished a new album and we'll be releasing an EP by Black Merlin.