Between performing globally, releasing on labels like Paco Osuna’s Mindshake Records, and running Woodlands Studio back home, UK talent Iglesias has built quite a brand for himself. All the while, he’s remained dedicated to artistic integrity and put the music above all else.
In case titles like “Rudiment” and “Dance To My Drums” don’t make it obvious enough, percussion lies the core of Iglesias’ creative philosophy. Samples of live drums often form the foundation of his tracks, invigorating them with an organic warmth that resonates subliminally on the dance floor.
"For me, it's all about the groove. It just has to have that," Iglesias says. "A lot stems from what the percussion does. It doesn't have to be over-the-top crazy, it just has to have really cool calls and responses happening throughout for a nice progression. You don't ever listen to a band with just a bass guitarist and a lead singer. You have to have some drums in there to hold it all together.
Iglesias arrived at these conclusions largely on his own. “Most [dance music artists] have a cool story about how their dad’s got a really crazy disco record collection and they got introduced that way,” he says. “I wasn't really into it when I was a kid.”
Iglesias was born to a Spanish father and an English mother. His earliest musical influences came from outside his family, however. “from the beginning, it's always been punk,” he says. “It's always been rock. The rock side of it influenced the way my music is today.”
He first took up DJing and organizing events. "I used to run some parties in the south, and it got to a point when I was booking a lot of artists—wAFF, Steve Lawler, people I looked up to," Iglesias recalls. "I thought, "Why am I paying these people so much money? How are they different from me? We both DJ, what's what's the difference here?' And the key difference was they made great music, and I didn't make anything at all. So that's what led me into making music."
After learning to produce music later in his career, Iglesias found himself completely infatuated with the process. “I became completely obsessed with it; I would have rather made music on the weekend than DJ in the club,” he says. “For most people, it's the other way around.”
After a couple of years of releasing music, Iglesias struck a chord with his 2018 remix of “Real Thing” by Cloonee. Up to that point, he had hesitated to play any of his music in his sets. “Then I started seeing videos of Marco Carola playing it,” he says. “I thought, ‘Oh, I should probably play this song as well.’ I'd never even played it before. So that was like a pinnacle moment in that I started believing in my own music. If you're making music, play it as well. Don't be embarrassed to play it.”
Another release that marked a turning point and gave him confidence in his style was 2019’s “Subdue.” Before that release, he recalls sending demos to Manchester duo SOLARDO for months and never hearing anything back. “I went up to James and said, ‘Dude, just listen to this song, I know you're gonna like it,’” he says. “And he got on his laptop and signed it on the spot. That was another moment that made me keep pushing. It doesn't matter what people say, if people think your music shit or whatever. Just keep pushing, and someone's going to open up the door for you.”
Since 2018, Iglesias has also run Woodlands Studio, a venture in which he offers mixing, mastering, and production classes.
"It actually started when I was living at home with my parents," he says. I was working in my studio, as in my bedroom, and it was pissing them off a lot. They offered to do something together, so we both went halves on a studio. We took the roof of their separate garage and went halves on it, so now when I go to the studio, I'm actually commuting back to my childhood home from where I now live 15 minutes away."
This extra dimension of his career equipped him to weather the rough waters of the COVID crisis as restrictions prevented performers around the world from gigging. Artists like Latmun and wAFF have given masterclasses on the platform, which offers discounts to students in developing countries.
2021 saw Woodlands Studio expand to include a record label called Woodlands Records. Rather than run a straightforward artist imprint and only sign music that closely aligns with his own sound signature, Iglesias gives a platform to tracks from across the electronic music spectrum. One of Woodlands’ first releases was Nicolò Bonelli’s Pure, Clean & Vegetarian EP, whose two tracks fell somewhere on the spectrum between breakbeat and minimal house.
Iglesias channels the inspiring, confidence-boosting moments of his career by empowering the artists with whom he now works. "I tell them, 'Just go with what you're doing," he says. "People are trying to copy other people. That's not going to get you anywhere. I always try to ask, 'Who are you influenced by? What type of music are you influenced by?' And it doesn't necessarily have to be house or electronic—like how I am with Good Charlotte, for instance. I like the drummer. I like the snares from there. So put that in your own song—that's what I've tried to teach people. I obviously give them techniques, but I remind them not to give a shit what everyone else is doing. Because if someone is already doing it, it's already been done."
With a busier tour schedule than ever before, Iglesias is now capable of showcasing his authentic brand of electronic music on stages across the globe. Not only that, but the brand he’s built for himself will allow him to bring his friends and collaborators along with him.
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