BY MAX DAX. PHOTO BY SHANE MCCAULEY.
33-year-old producer and DJ Alexander Ridha—better known as Boys Noize—recently received an offer he couldn’t refuse: a collaboration with French electronic music pioneer Jean Michel Jarre. Boys Noize is featured prominently, yet his signature sound, which propels underground sensibilities to bigger audiences, is barely recognizeable. He corrected that on his own new album, Mayday, which contains a widespread choice of quotes and samples from legendary left-field electronic music. To promote his new album, Ridha met with Max Dax at the headquarters of his BNR label in Berlin.
How did you get clearance for that Kraftwerk sample you used on “Euphoria” from your new album Mayday?
Kraftwerk? I didn’t use a Kraftwerk sample.
But it sounds like “Tour De France”.
Ah. That’s actually me breathing, not a sample.
I ask because collage and appropriation are often considered the most distinctive and formative arts of the 20th century. What do you think?
Many house tracks were built on samples from old disco tunes, as was a lot of electronic music. Apart from the legal issues, I try to squeeze original sounds out of my drum machines and synths so that I don’t have to sample at all. But I monitor what others do. Younger producers might pilfer from a new Rihanna record, and I think that’s pretty cool—even if it’s not an option for me.
How important is it to have a unique sound?
It’s the most important thing. It’s especially imperative in electronic music to create a sound architecture that’s very much your own....