If the commercial dance sounds of David Guetta and Calvin Harris leave you feeling a little cold, then the new Boys Noize album, Out Of The Black is the one for you. 12 tracks of deep, uncompromising electronica that put the edge back into the dance world in 2012.
Ahead of the album's release, we caught up with the German dance genius to discuss the new record, his studio experiences with Snoop Lion (nee Dogg), his love for Daft Punk, the imminent arrival in the UK of the gay-rap scene and how he once DJed for ten minutes before realised his sound has been cut off...
With so much commercial dance music around, was it the plan to stick to a harder sound on the new album?
Yeah. Even if I tried to make that attempt I would fail. The guys that do it, they do it well and they love it, and I think that's one of the reasons why it also works. I don't love it, so I can't really make it. Even though I know how. So that's never a question really. The only question I had on this album was if I should get a lot of featurings - like call all the people I know or people i've worked with and make that happen. But then in the end, I didn't make those calls because I was happy with the music I made in the studio that day or that week I kept on going like this. I kept on doing what I felt and I don't really see room in this music for a singer. Also, i'd rather use robotic vocals more than a real human voice.
You did call Snoop... Why was he the one person you wanted on the album?
Besides Snoop Dogg i've grown up listening to, he's just so big and so cool at the same time I think he can do whatever he wants - and it's still cool with me. I thought 'why not try to make something really f**king cool with him'. Obviously, he's done a lot of pop stuff as well so I wanted to do something really cool.
He's super chilled. He's a super kind person, a super funny person. He's just so relaxed, he just hangs out and makes jokes. I've been to his apartment and it was anything like crazy fancy whatever - it felt like he's a homie, we recorded the vocals on the toilet and as soon as you hear his voice, you know it's him. You don't even have to put any effect on his voice because it sounds so good. He doesn't even have to rap, he can just talk and it's still cool.
Listen to Boys Noize and Snoop's new track 'Got It'
Do you think a lot of younger producers these days, rather than find their own sound, simply produce what is popular?
There's definitely a lot of those young people who just copy others and get a major label deal, but then they realise two years later that it was never what they wanted. But then there's a lot of young producers who do totally the opposite and have that super underground feel and they have their own sound and they try to make different music. They come up with a lot of fresh stuff. What I see right now is, just because the major labels are signing DJs right now, so they sign a lot of 19-20 year old DJs who can produce as well but they end up in the same thing - like any other guy would be on a major label, where it's about selling. Most of the time nowadays, you don't have a chance to build a profile before it is burned already.
Which young producers do you rate at the moment?
There's one guy, Scientist, who I have signed. He just turned 18, put out an EP already and got a lot of love from a lot of producers. His second EP is coming soon. He's got really good talent. There's another guy I just signed, his name is Le1f. He's one of the first to come out of this New York gay rap community. The way he does it is so funny. There's so much good stuff coming out of there right now. I've been to those Ballroom Vogue nights in New York, it's like all those ghetto kids and they all look like hip-hop and stuff, but then they do the craziest dancing. You wouldn't believe it. It will definitely hit London for sure. I don't think it will ever hit Berlin to be honest, because we don't have that culture. There's no real black community at all. It doesn't work over there.
Watch Le1f's 'Wut' video below
Where do you stand on the dubstep debate?
I don't have any bad feelings towards dubstep at all. As a DJ, I buy records every day. I go to record shops, so I know dubstep has been around for over five years and it started here in the UK. All of the first guys who made that sound, it's been there already. I'm just a bit bored by it, more or less, because there's been so much repetitive stuff and I just don't get every producer who's just copying the same track! It all sounds the same. There's definitely bits in it I like, but there's a lot of bits I don't like. Sometimes it's just too generic or it gets too cheesey. It's super mainstream as well.
A lot of people are getting very excited about the imminent return of Daft Punk. What is it about them that gets people so excited?
I have always been a Daft Punk fan, but not because they had a big hit. For instance, I didn't like 'One More Time' when it came out, but I still was overwhelmed by the production. That's what I try to tell people, it's not only about them making amazing hits in the melody or the song, but because at the same time they managed to have a sound design that even to today no one could get close to but so many try to copy. No one really does it like they do - and no one can do it. They are just so good. They made everything so perfect. They made everything great. It's so unfair sometimes! The stories they have, like on the second album where they brought in the robots because they burned in the studio - I wish I could do that too because I don't want to show my face in the media either. Nowadays it doesn't work in the real world now, because everyone is always filming at shows so I have failed at that.
Chemical Brothers are a good example of reinventing themselves. They have never done anything repetitive stuff. Every album there is new sounds, there is new styles but they have also created a sound as well. Both of those bands are people I look up to. They have achieved a level of success without doing the obvious stuff and crossing over. When you do something that is amazing and that gets loved by the masses then big respect - but that doesn't happen a lot of the time. Justice made it too, they managed to do their own thing and it is amazing, and everybody loves it. It has a lot to do with creating your own sound.
When you're DJing, do you have an emergency track to play in case everything is going wrong?
Track? I have a whole emergency CD. It's called Shame. It's full of big tracks like Felix Da Housecat and big hits that I wouldn't necessarily play usually - and i'm not sure if those work any more. I'll probably need a new shame CD.
What's been your worst DJ experiences?
The most annoying thing is when you are cut off without being told, when you're playing a festival and not telling you that in five minutes the sound is going to be turned off. I had it once where I kept on playing and dancing and the sound was already off. I was the last one to play and they cut of the sound without telling me. I kept on playing for ten minutes after they had turned me off. It was quite embarrassing. I haven't had any bad experiences with weird requests though.
When it comes to your remixes, do you have to like a song to work on it?
Yeah for sure. I've always been very picky with my remixes. I've only done remixes where I've thought the act was cool, the band was cool, the song was cool. I wouldn't do any remixes for anything I didn't like - or because of the money. Sometimes when I hear demos from artists I think I can do it better, but on remixes I like to remix songs that are further away from what I'm doing, some folk like Feist or more indie, rock or hip-hop, I like to be challenged that way. It's more fun that way.