Dinky Interview: Making Non-Dance Music

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The word Dinky may pertain to a person or object of petite size, but in the case of leading female DJ, producer and creative figure Dinky, it's possibly the most misleading name you could find. A dedicated, hare working producer who's released three albums on the likes of Visionquest, Wagon Repair and more a resident DJ that counts the infamous Panorama Bar as her base a trained choreographer and dancer endorsed by NYC's Martha Graham. As she prepares to head over to London to grace the decks for Summer In The City at the disused Tobacco Docks, we caught the enigmatic and charismatic leading lady for a catch up on dancing, dance music, labels and maintaining her already sparkling trajectory. Read on for more...

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We’re a big fan of your name, which is a decidedly British word meaning ‘attractively small or neat’ how does this fit in with you as a person? Or is referring to more the music?

Thank you! Actually my name in spanish doesn't mean anything , I was named Dinky since birth but that was a word my older sister invented … my nick name doesn't refer to my music at all  it's just that everyone calls me dinky so I decided to keep it as an artist name.

It has been stated that in your journey to playing electronic music, you were also a student of dance and choreography at Manhattan’s Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance. Obviously with electronic music and dancing so closely aligned, do you think this passion for dancing gives you a further insight into the Dancefloor? Do you try to see how people may react to you music on the club floor when you produce?

Of course , I think being a dancer for such a long time was great for me as a musician, at the end of the day they are both so tied together. I do check if my tracks work for the dance floor when I am working in dance music, this can take some time to master especially with electronic music made with machines or computers. But I think as long as we feel the rhythm when we are creating music it will definitely translate to the piece we make, no matter if is made with machines or instruments.


You caught the electronic music bug when growing up in Chile how has the scene changed between then and now? There seems to be a growing number of electronic ambassadors coming out such as Villalobos, Luciano and more…. Is Chile’s scene healthy?

There has been a huge change in the scene in Chile the last year (for good), but before that it was a bit stagnated, it's quite hard for chilean DJs and musicians to get paid fairly and to make a living there as music is not considered much of a carer in Chile , and even less so is electronic music. I see things changing and more people bringing international talent and paying normal fees. So yes, I must say it's quite healthy at the moment.

You’ve been given the privilege of playing at Tobacco Dock, one of London’s coolest old structures that’s been laying dormant for many years do you think the experience of clubbing and the setting in which you listen to music is as important as the music itself?

I think it is essential but probably not as important as the music.  The venue creates the atmosphere and invites people to stay or leave a place , to feel good or not so good. At the same time I have been in terrible venues when the music has been so great that nothing else mattered so I still think music is much more important than the setting.


Where have you played that’s always going to stick in your mind as the most interesting spot you’ve played? You’ve travelled the world but where is the most unique space you’ve played?

One of my first official gigs at the end of the nineties was in Chile in an abandoned open air shore space called “La Ballenera”in Quintay on the coast of Chile. Ricardo and Luciano also played and some great German acts like Sun Electric, Tobias and Atom Heart , it was so amazingly beautiful. In honesty, Ill never forget that gig.

We were big fans of your album on Visionquest… do you plan to follow this up with another album soon? Will you be playing the same sound?

I am surely doing a new album but I haven't yet figured out when, where or how it will be. I just cant wait to start creating it , that's all I know.

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Before your album on VQ, you released on Mat Jonson’s leftfield, weirdo label Wagon Repair what helped your sound progress from techy and abstract to deep and meandering. Was it a gradual change?

It was a gradual change but I didn't plan it much. I got really into playing instruments and singing after my album on Wagon, which was created solely with machines and analog gear so that might have helped to shape my new sound. I studied a lot of vocal, guitar and piano music and got to play many classical and jazz pieces. Over the last 5 years, I believe that influenced me .

The art of the album, for a dance music producer, can be tough, especially when moving away from the style of EP’s and 12” singles. How difficult do you find it to switch between the dance-floor aesthetics and home listening concepts. Is the former a ‘dance music’ producer and the latter being an ‘electronic music’ producer in your opinion?

I don't find it particularly difficult as I started on an indie music label and really enjoy making non-dance music so I guess thats why. I love just picking a guitar or keyboard and playing or improvising with voice and chords or arpeggios , then making a song out of it.  Making dance music can be harder technically as things must sound good in order to work on huge sound systems plus there are certain rules which are hard to avoid. I don't know much about being an "electronic music producer" or a “dance music producer “, I never really thought about it that way before .

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What’s your typical set up for producing in the studio? You’re known to be an analogue tech geek but what’s the core equipment (synths, sequencers and machines) at the core of your work?

Its always changing , I have a big recording studio with my husband where we have a pro tools HD system and tons of analog gear and vintage instruments… too many to list, but now because I just had my son last May I am working from home and composing on keys , guitar or my laptop when time allows me to. I have become much more open in the last years with the equipment I use to make music but I think it's the idea that counts no matter the tools you use.

Finally, what other club residencies do you hold at present? From running parties in NYC with Magda to maintaining a residency at the infamous Panorama Bar in Berlin, you’ve had your fair share of experience and success in many of the world’s clubs. Where is your HQ(s) at the moment?

I am based in Berlin and my only residency is at Panorama Bar at the moment. I'm taking a baby break though and will start there again in September.


Dinky plays Summer in the City presented by LWE at Tobacco Dock in London on Saturday August 9.

More info and tickets HERE.

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