Upclose with Boys Noize

These days one can either be a straight-up DJ or a DJ/producer/rock star/trendsetter/entrepreneur (a hipster, if the word doesn’t make you cringe). Twenty eight-year-old Alexander Ridha is firmly one of the latter—as Boys Noize he’s a hit around the world.

His is the same route followed by other commercial successes like Steve Aoki, Bloody Beetroots and Crookers; although Ridha admits he wasn’t all that cool as a kid growing up in a tough area of Hamburg, Germany, where punk music was his biggest influence. “The city I grew up in has the biggest red light district in Europe and we had a big punk culture,” he says. “We even have our own punk football team, St. Pauli, which I was a big fan of.” At 13, he traded playing drums in a punk band for vinyl collecting and soon that grew into an addiction. “My elder brother had all the first acid house and rap records. I grew up listening to them when he played them in his room. From there, I started my own collection. I had two jobs to fund my vinyl collection and one of the jobs was in a record store.”

Alex was only 14 when he began sending out his mixtapes to friends. He even tried selling them in the record store where he worked. “The store manager found out that I was sneakily trying to sell my mixes,” he says, “but was nice enough to give them a listen. A few days later, he surprised me by asking if I would like to do a warm-up set for about 500 people in a proper club. I was only 16 and played deep and old-school house. Suddenly the whole of Germany heard about me because I was the youngest DJ ever to play!”

Not one to rest on his laurels, he went on to learn music engineering from German DJ/Producer D.I.M and started production work at 16. Five years later, he was reincarnated as Boys Noize and moved on to Berlin, immediately becoming a household name under the wings of French label Kitsuné, Tiga’s Turbo Recordings and DJ Hell’s International Deejay Gigolos. And what about now? How does Boys Noize keep his sound fresh? “I take the best elements of electro, techno and house, and mix it with modern stuff,” he explains. “I love the jacking sounds! Although the music I started with in 2004 got bigger, there are some really stupid ‘noisy’ records out there that I can’t stand at all. Today, everyone is a DJ without even knowing how to beat-match because the laptop does it for them, which is ridiculous! That said, there are also great young talents out there and amazing new fresh productions.”
Boys Noize will bring the house down on Oct 8, 10pm. Zouk, 17 Jiak Kim St. 6738-2988. $30 inclusive of two drinks.