At only 26 Alex Ridha already has a decade's worth of music making and DJing behind him. What's ahead of him? One of the brightest future's in electronic music. Ridha presents his second album POWER" in October which is keenly anticipated by a fan-base that follows his every move. Alongside peers Erol Alkan and Justice, Ridha is part of a new mongrel breed of techno artist with a maverick bent and solid vision, beaming a myriad of influences from the past through a prism to create something fresh, new and exciting enough to send his audience loopy. This year he's also become a sought after producer of note having worked with Kelis, Black Eyes Peas and Gonzales.
Alex was born in Hamburg and, after playing drums for years, he worked in a record shop in 1997 before he started to DJ aged 16 for the likes of DJ Hell and Felix Da Housecat, quite a daunting experience for a teen. Aged 20 he moved to Berlin in 2003 and Boys Noize was born, his faceless alter ego, with a mutant techno sound and early releases on International Deejay Gigolos, Kitsune and Turbo. In 2005 his remixes of Bloc Party and Kaiser Chiefs became ubiquitous and he found himself on bills with likeminded producers and DJ's Soulwax and Erol Alkan. His official remixes since this time have included Depeche Mode, Snoop Dogg, Marylin Manson, Sebastian Tellier and Late of the Pier.
2005 was also the year he founded his own imprint Boysnoize Records (BNR). BNR was launched by Alex in order to retain full artistic freedom and to offer the same independence of spirit to a variety of artists; friends whose work he admires (D.I.M, Housemeister) or artists he has discovered (Shadow Dancer, Strip Steve). All have their own sound, though they often share Boys Noize's frantic nature (other than the more disco-tech tracks released by the enigmatic Siriusmo). After ten years producing Alex has faith in his ears to seek out new and different sounding artists. He gives them freedom to do what they want (though he is there to offer opinion should they require it). 2006 was the year people took note that here was a major new talent, not only as a producer but also as an incredible DJ, one who took risks and mixed with a frenetic, physical style that chimed with the times harnessing the desire from the dance-floor for a more maximal, hybrid techno sound.
Despite offers from other labels Alex released the first Boys Noize album "Oi Oi Oi" in 2007 on BNR. It featured febrile club favourites like "& Down" and "Lava Lava" and also more soulful techno tracks like "Shine Shine". The album also featured as an extra track - what many regard as one of his finest works, his remix of Feist's "My Moon, My Man" which finds the perfect interface of robotic and organic music with Feist's vocals intact but festooned with strings. This was also the beginning of the relationship with the songs co-writer Gonzales who would later ask Alex to produce his next album. At a time when Alex was generally known for his banging Boys Noize tracks he further proved how versatile he could be with his remix of Apparat's Arcadia, a 12 minute long excursion into melody and atmospherics. There has always been more to Alex than his techno style, his roots are in hip hop, pop and disco and these productions reflect his formative passions.
A remix album of "Oi, Oi, Oi" followed in 2008 alongside DJ mix compilations for highly regarded UK club (Bugged Out!) and Belgian festival (I Love Techno). Though Alex does not play live his DJ sets sometimes comprise an arsenal of his own music using separate parts so he can do live edits. With over a decade's experience as a DJ he is now regarded as one of the world's best, technically and also as a showman, which might explain why he is reluctant to play live behind a laptop: it's not a kinetic enough experience for his fans.
Alex is currently taking on less remix work and getting more involved with original production work for other artists. He has recently leant his beats and pieces to Black Eyed Peas and a few more US artists. Moreover he is working on the aforementioned Gonzales album which will be released in 2010. He has also found time to work alongside friend and fellow DJ Erol Alkan this summer with the tracks "Waves" and "Death Suite" out on BNR in late August 2009.
His second album Power, released in October, shows how far Ridha has come as a producer since "Oi Oi Oi" Though his signature sound is still present the approach is more experimental, versatile and the pace slower so the intricacies of his production shines through. This is a new kind of techno that encompasses elements of both rave and minimal but also the kind of inspired beats that would make hip hop producers drool. Though often steely edged and sometimes sinister it's also often melodic and playful. Fans of his debut will enjoy the pummeling beats, clanging loops and lairyness of "Starter", "Drummer" and "Nott" (with it's insistent refrain of I am not techno!). "Nerve" adopts a more minimal approach, with raindrops amongst the beats and a shard of miasmic noise riding across the clipped rhythm. "Kontakt Me" adopts a more tribal house approach with a more spartan arrangement and a robotic voice the only kind of vocal used on "POWER" intoning "Come with me, do you remember?". "Trooper" is one of the album's cornerstones, a really unsettling, original track with military style drums and an otherworldly vocal. "Jeffer" is sprightly and poppy with what sounds like R2D2 caught up in the action and "Gax" and "Sweet Light" share melodic interludes amongst the noise theatrics. Nearing the album's end "Rozz Box" and "Heart Attack" show Ridha's more experimental, introspective side. "Power" is precision tooled techno from an artist at the top of his game. Plug in and get switched on!