Inside Dinky's Analog World: Alejandra Iglesias

A producer whose work is filled with both theory and funk
Lars Borges

When “Acid in My Fridge” was released in 2005 on Sven Väth’s Cocoon Recordings, it was an immediate club hit, a slap of a beat surrounded by minimal bleeps that quickly evolved into a monster acid-techno jam. The track saturated even the most tightly packed crowds in the largest venues, its hook so seductive that it prompted even reluctant party people to sing alongside Alejandra Iglesias, otherwise known as DJ-producer Dinky.

“Trip, trip, trip. There’s acid in my fridge.”

“I waited three years to produce it,” says Iglesias of the track that secured her place in the top-tier of electronic-music producers. “This was the reason it was big. I took the time to produce it better because it sounded really bad.”

“Acid in My Fridge” began with a bass line that, as Iglesias says, was “kind of like a melody.” Someone told her that it was a good hook, so she held on to the idea as she continued with myriad other commitments. “Once you have a hook and it’s hypnotic and there’s a feeling, then you can have a hit if it’s well produced,” she explains over the phone from her home in Berlin. “I think that was the case.”

In between the track’s creation and the point at which it was ready for the world, Dinky, who began deejaying in the mid-1990s, released her stellar sophomore full-length, Black Cabaret, left New York City for Berlin with a handful of other forward-minded DJs (including her friend, Minus recording artist Magda) and hooked up with a touring agency that kept her busy on the weekends. When she had a spare moment, she’d find a studio where she could twist knobs until she hit fat, goose-bump-inducing sounds.

Despite coming to prominence in the age of GarageBand and Serato, Iglesias is an old soul, a lover of analog and vinyl for the bottom-heavy sounds they produce. “Of course, you can make things sound really good digitally. It’s a matter of taste,” she says. “It’s more expensive to buy the hardware, so I understand why a lot of young people are doing things [with computer programs], but I don’t like how it sounds myself.”

For Iglesias, working with hardware meant spending weeks hopping from studio to studio as she put together the bones of a track. With the success of “Acid in My Fridge,” though, she was able to travel extensively and use the income from those high-profile gigs to piece together a studio filled with acoustic and analog electronic gear. Now the producer can simply head to the second floor of her home and flesh out a song in one day. Where five years had passed between Black Cabaret and the October 2008 release of her third album, May Be Later (with roughly two singles a year unleashed in the interim), by the new year, Iglesias had already completed much of the work on her fourth album, while working on a fifth.

The preference for hardware makes sense given Iglesias’ background. A former professional dancer, she studied piano, voice and flute — “the typical things you do when you’re young” — as a child in Santiago, Chile. She is currently taking classical-guitar and music-theory courses.

“I know the scale, so I can apply the theory to the track,” says Iglesias of her most recent training. “It’s really useful to give a vibe to every song and to understand the feeling of every song. It’s much more useful for pop-music songs.”

Pop music is the genre slated for the producer’s fifth album — her first release as Alejandra Iglesias. She clarifies that this is not pop in the commercial sense, naming David Byrne, Radiohead and Portishead as influences.

In early December, Iglesias created a MySpace page for her non-dance-floor creations, where she describes herself as an “analog girl in a digital world.” “Fade Into Hope,” a reimagining of Mazzy Star’s 1994 hit “Fade Into You,” plays like an electro-acoustic dream, with the soft twang of a guitar morphing into electronic creaks, all of it guided by a vaguely Afro-Caribbean drum. An original number, “Rainfall Detuning,” is as psychedelic as “Acid in My Fridge” but far more subtle, with wistful vocals floating through bleeps that seem to mimic the chirps of exotic birds.

“It’s much harder to produce. It’s much harder to put it out, to convince record labels to release it,” says Iglesias of her new material. “It’s a challenge and I’ve always wanted to do it. I have to do it.”

Dinky will deejay with L.A. trio Droog and Matt Tolfrey on January 16 at Boardner’s in Hollywood.

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