Over the past decade, Alexander Ridha has been crafting canorous techno, delivered from Berlin to the world under the slick packaging of Boys Noize. In 2019, the pop sphere started to catch on. During the past year alone, his production has been featured on tracks by A$AP Rocky, Brooke Candy and Rico Nasty, Francis and the Lights, and most recently, Frank Ocean's new single "DHL." That's not even including his work on Lady Gaga.
Though he remained tight-lipped on the nitty gritty of how "DHL" came together (as well as whether or not he's produced any more of Frank's upcoming music), Ridha maintains that the collaboration was just about as dreamy as anyone might expect. He also teased out the existence of three new solo projects (each under different pseudonyms) and recalled the time when Lady Gaga spilled water on his modular synth within ten minutes of meeting each other. Read our brief Q&A below, and stay tuned for more on the way from Boys Noize in 2020.
How did you meet Frank?
We actually met in Berlin through our friend A$AP Rocky. I was working on "Babushka Boi" at the time and Frank was there. We were all hanging out together making music, and when you're together in a room, there's things that happen that play into the creative process.
How did your collaboration with him flourish?
Everything started from the studio. I didn't have an idea that I was gonna make music with him, and I'm sure he didn't as well. But when you're together, you know. I'm not included in whatever plan Frank has in mind — I knew that he liked the song. It was a really magical time with him as well, and that means a lot.
I also saw that you and Lady Gaga have been working together, and that she recently spilled water on one of your synths.
It was just us in a room together making music. On the first session, I showed up with my small system that I built for that occasion, and the spill happened in the first ten minutes. We brought the hairdryer, took out all the modules, tried to dry it, and it survived. Afterwards, we made some beautiful sounds. I think she thought the thing cost $100,000, or something like that. She was like "WHAAAAAA, DID I BREAK EVERYTHING?!?!?" Looking back, it was so funny and so bizarre in the best way. I have to say, she is an incredible person on a personal level. I really enjoyed being around her.
Are you working on solo material right now?
I have a lot of new music, and I think I'll start sharing it at the top of next year. I've been collecting my favorite ideas for the past three or four years, and I'm very excited. I've also done a few secret projects. No one knows about them, but they're out there and all on different means: one is proper techno, one is more house-y, and one that is industrial wave-y. I didn't promote any of them.
I'm coming from the old-school days of working in a house-techno record store. When I started my label back in the day, it was just on vinyl. There was no information about the music and I've been thinking about that a lot recently. I'm not complaining, but I want to find a way just to mess with the people, to find some excitement for music by letting it just be discovered in the scenes where it belongs.
One last question: are you hoping to make it to any of Frank Ocean's PrEP+ club nights?
We'll see, I mean, I'll be in the States for Halloween.