Constantly learning, travelling, exploring new avenues and taking risks in life and in her music, Dinky is the instrumental dance artist who understands the biology behind the beats that make you move your two-stepping feet.
The only Chilean DJ who can throw down a decent dose of house, deep minimal techno, experimental, old school, funk and soul in a single set and still keep her flow smooth is Dinky, the classically trained instrumentalist turned experimental techno producer. Moving to New York in the mid 90s to study dance, Alejandra Iglesias has been obsessed with the medium of movement since she could first stand on her own two feet and bop to a beat. Now based in Berlin and well established within the world of electronic music, she has a fresh new direction and brand new album to challenge her existing fans and excite new audiences.
Writing and singing all of her own new material, Dinky’s fiancé Mathew Styles has also produced every track on the new album. Putting her heart and soul into this latest project, Alejandra explains that the album is centered upon a story about a couple and their life together. A romantic, bluesy arrangement of work, which reflects Dinky’s eclectic and outstanding abilities, she has turned her hand to a whole new genre of music and nailed it. Playing around with all kinds of samplers, synths and equipment, Dinky spins solid gold sounds when she takes to the turntables. i-D online grabbed some time with the perfectly proportioned Dinky to vibe and vex on her vibrations.
What did you grow up listening to? When I was a kid I grew up with classical music and South American folklore like Bossa Nova, Tangos and Boleros. Later on when I was a little older and could choose my own music, it was Depeche Mode, Madonna and Prince. In my teens I got into Kraftwerk, Cocteau Tweens, Mazzy Star and Portishead.
What female artists have had a profound influence upon you? Kate Bush, Nina Simone, Erika Badu, Alison Goldfrapp, Beth Gibbons, Billie Holiday, Julie London Peggy Lee, Katrin from Fever Ray and Lis Fraser.
Lyrically what is your music’s focus? I get inspired by many things, characters, movies, things happening in the world, my own personal life, family, nature and history. I try to find inspiration in things I find interesting and sometimes I invent my own stories, like a writer or a painter does.
What are your creative processes when laying down a track? For songwriting I like to start with a melody or a chord progression, either on the piano or a guitar to know what fits my voice, so once I’ve found the melody I try to build from there. Then I add the lyrics and other elements. For dance music it’s a completely different process. Rhythm is important so I prefer to start working with bass or drumbeats. I find it’s better to keep things rather simple. On the other hand I think being yourself is one of the most important parts of writing music.
How did you come to discover your signature sound? By discovering who I am and getting to know myself.
Are you creative in any avenues other than the music? Yes but I mainly concentrate on music now. I cook and I love to paint. I also take care of the image and visual side of my projects and scripts of my videos.
Tell me something about you no-one else knows? I’m a bit of a perfectionist and I get frustrated by laziness and mediocrity.
What happens at one of your gigs, visually? As a DJ I like that the music speaks by itself. I’ll wear nice tops and cool makeup but I want to feel comfortable enough to move around and not let my clothing take over the music. Playing records for me is about the music not so much about the visual side, so I usually request red lights and a dark atmosphere. I still don’t understand the people who stand there and look at a DJ all night – dance music is for dancing. Now, as a singer, it’s very different and I like to keep things more visual and expressive as I am directly communicating with my voice and songs. When I sing, people will be looking at me and I need to give them an entertaining visual experience. That can work through my facial expressions, my hands, an instrument or cool visuals and lights.
What up-coming producers and DJ’s are you excited about right now? Lisa Ices is great as well as Aera Negrot. I also really like almost everything that comes out on 4AD at the moment.
When you’re not working, where can you most usually be found? Probably playing classical guitar, singing, watching a movie or lying on my bed at home with my cats.
What comes next for you? There will be a single on Crosstown Rebels out this month (November) and we (me and Matthew Styles) just finished our Cross-town Rebels album, where I’m singing and composing under a different alias. The album will come out in the summer but there will be a few singles before that, right now we are preparing for the next tours and working on videos.
Catch Dinky next at in::Motion
See our full i-DJ archive here.
Text: Milly McMahon