Boys Noize Shares Track by Track Walkthrough of 'Mayday' Album: Exclusive
Boys Noize has been churning out records for over a decade now, and he continues to make his creative presence in dance music known. The German producer and DJ, born Alexander Ridha, returns with the release of his new album Mayday on Friday (May 20), exploring new sounds and featuring collaborations with Hudson Mohawke, Spank Rock, Poliça, Remy Banks and Benga.
In honor of the new release, Ridha has teamed up with Billboard for an exclusive walkthrough of Mayday, where breaks down the creative process for the tracks, the inspiration behind them and what it was like teaming up with other artists.
Stream Mayday below and check out Boys Noize's album insights in his own words.
1. "Overthrow": This track reflects the classic Boys Noize sound, but also is a bridge to the newer sounds I explore on the album. I was listening to a lot of early rave, The Chemical Brothers and U.K. breaks stuff so there is some influence from that as well as my love for industrial music. It also has some Mustapha 3000 (Erol Alkan’s former project) vibe to it, too. (Hey Erol! Make some new Mustapha please ;) )
2. "Mayday": 100 percent analog heavy jam. One of the first tracks I did for this album. My early mission for this album was to avoid any 4/4 beats, and "Mayday" is a good example.
3. "Dynamite" feat. Benga: Mapei and I didn’t really plan to make music together and when we met up in my studio I wanted to record her over something more "melodic." The moment she entered my studio I was working on that early demo of "Dynamite" and later that day she was like "Hey, what was that heavy one you were working on when I arrived here?" So we went back to that track and she recorded that awesome hook. A few months later Benga visited me in Berlin and he really liked that song but it was still too busy and hectic, so we started to work on something together. The main part has some Nitzer Ebbish vibe, which I love.
4. "Rock the Bells": One morning I woke up and thought "Damn, no one ever did a modern touch of that classic bells break." So I decided to do it myself. I showed the demo to my friend Baauer and he immediately fell in love with the idea, so we started to work on this song together. This track also reminds me of timeless Chemical Brothers "Block Rockin' Beats" or even Fatboy Slim type of records.
5. "Euphora" feat. Remy Banks: My friend and rapper Remy Banks and I have been friends and making music together for a while, but that one night in NYC after my crazy MoMA PS1 gig was really special. I was always trying to make some rap/hip hop with him but after he saw me play he was so into all that rough house/techno stuff. So, I played him some of that Paranoid London, L.A. Club Resource, Apron stuff and we started recording some vocals over this simple 808 beat I programmed. We made this track in two hours and had so much fun -- sometimes those quick ones are the best.
6. "2 Live": This was another "unplanned" fun session. Orlando aka TEED (Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs) and me were going to see POLIÇA live in concert, had a few beers and decided to go to my studio. We started working on this rave breaks track and he had this great vocal melody in his head which we recorded. We left the track for another new jam "Spacer," which I released last year on the Strictly Raw mini album. "Spacer" was basically a one-take recording. Anyways, the first track was still in our heads weeks after we recorded it, so we started to finish this track together. I love this song so much.
7. "Would You Listen": I love tracks that have nothing but a robot vocal over drums. I did a few tracks like that --"Inhale/Exhale" or "Android" -- but this might be the best trippy one! I tested it out in a bunch of clubs a few times and within the first seconds the vocal dropped the crowd went off. Crazy!
9. "Starchild" feat. Poliça: I’ve been a huge fan of Poliça ever since their first album. Channy, the singer, was actually the only person I really wanted to work with and I’m SO happy it worked out. We met up in L.A. and spent three days in my studio. It was quite the magical process because both of us didn’t really know where we were going. I was just playing around with my drum machine and different rhythms, and Channy was doing the same with her voice. The first idea she had was "Starchild" and it was recorded in one take.
10."Midnight": I’ve had the vocal for a long time and I played with it in my DJ sets, but I never found the right angle to make this an actual song. My first attempt was this industrial-break sort of idea but I kicked it away and tried many other versions. I thought I could do something like "XTC" but it just didn’t work out. So, I decided to revisit my very first idea, and YES it became my favorite version. This process is a good example of trusting your initial feelings and intuition.
11. "Los Niños": I bought a new analog synth called Dark Energy II. I was playing around with it in and became a bit retro "new beat" and EBMish. I always love the first track I make when I get a new machine or Synth.
12. "Hardkotzen": My 1.50 minute long punk/hardcore 3000 jam. The idea was to make a beat that consists of fills only. It is actually my reaction to the annoying fill/drop situation in dance music. After 1.50 min I decided to tell a little story.
13. "Birthday" feat. Hudson Mohawke & Spank Rock: Hudmo, Spank Rock, and I had a lot of fun making this tune and I wanted to end my album with an ultimate positive feeling. I do the same with my DJ sets; I can play 3 hours of heavy techno, acid-breaks, whatever stuff, but in the end I always like ending with something super happy.