Iris Interview (May 2021)

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The mighty Iris of “Quadrant & Iris” had been collaborating as a duo for 10 years (and counting). Their first tune, Anthropocene, was spotted immediately by none other than Goldie himself and since then, they have been a driving force in the US Drum & Bass scene with constant releases.

Her collaborations with Quadrant as well as her numerous collaborations with local legend Kid Hops have been picked up by a whole host of respected labels such as CIA, Commercial Suicide, Dispatch, and Hospital Records.

With an ever-evolving arsenal of original tracks, exclusive tunes from the hottest producers in the industry, and meticulous editing, Iris is an indisputable DJ & producer.

Q: Introduce yourself and tell us a bit of the history behind you, Iris:

A: Hey, what’s up, I’m Iris. I’ve been listening to electronic music longer than I will ever admit. I started my DJ career deep in the bedroom in 2001 with UK Hard House and Trance. I didn’t fall in love with DnB until Pendulum came around with Hold Your Colour, but I fell hard and I’ve been 100% in ever since. I write a majority of my music with my husband Quadrant, and we have releases on Metalheadz, Hospital, Dispatch, Commercial Suicide, Guidance, CIA, Sofa Sound, and a few others.

Q: Where did you get your artist name from?:

A: I don’t believe anyone has ever asked me this one before. It was from my time as an angsty teen practicing Wicca (It was originally IrisSilverMoon). That turned into a rave board user name and when I decided to pick up DJing I shortened it up to just Iris and that’s what I’ve been ever since!

Q: What was your first experience with Drum and Bass like?:

A: I’m not sure I even remember it was so long ago but It would have been in 2000 and have a vague recollection of a dirty warehouse with a dark side room that always hosted DnB (Seattle friends will know what I’m talking about). I didn’t necessarily have a positive experience since the people in our area into dnb felt really intimidating to me, but I usually spent a portion of each rave in those dark side rooms. It wasn’t until later a friend dragged me out on the regular to DnB Tuesdays and Onset that I truly fell in love.

Q: How did you get into producing? How did you develop your style of Drum & Bass that we know today?:

A: I dabbled here and there, but it wasn’t until I had been married to Quadrant for a year that I really got into the studio seriously. He was basically like, “We should write some tunes” and so we did. As for style, it’s heavily influenced by older C4C, Kemal, Matrix, Ed Rush, Optical, Fierce, and Break. Our MO has always been to sort of try to recreate their sounds because it’s what we love the best.

Q: What is you’re biggest break / thing you are most thankful for to date in your music career?:

A: I think it was really Paul Smithy from Total Science who put us on in our early days. Quadrant and I had our first release together signed to Metalheadz but it was really Smithy taking us under his wing and providing feedback, signing some early tunes, and putting us on to his friends that kind of got us connected. From there we connected with Ant from Dispatch and forcing him to listen to our tracks in the car while under the guise of taking him to lunch, and Tom Klute we convinced to sign Depth Sounder and who later offered us the option to put out an album.

Beyond that, we’re just thankful for all the amazing people we’ve gotten to meet and work with over the years. We’ve been so lucky to connect with other artists and build relationships with people we highly respect. Kind of blows me away to be honest if you’d asked me 10 years ago if we’d be friends, colleagues, and collaborators with a lot of these people I never would have believed you.

Q: Tell us about your upcoming release(s):

A: Our next load of releases will start dropping in the second half of this year. I have a track with Sweetpea forthcoming on the next Sofa King Sick album for Sofa Sound (with more to follow) plus a few other collabs in the works. Quadrant and I have a couple of remixes and some originals for Delta9, more stuff for CIA, Dispatch, and Innerground are in the queue, plus a special remix that should be dropping mid-July as well as a few other things we’re just waiting on confirmation on. The theme of this year has been collabs and we have a lot of stuff either in the works or finished up and more to come!

Q: What is one dnb track that never gets old for you no matter how many times you hear it?:

A: I feel like there are a lot of these so its hard to name just one, all the classic Neurofunk and techstep just never gets old for me. I still play a lot of it in my sets, lots of older Ed Rush & Optical, Matrix & Fierce, Kemal, Rob Data, Break, C4C. I’ll say that I could probably listen to Gene Sequence from Kemal and Rob Data from now until the end of time though.

Q: Who are some of your favorite Drum & Bass artists? Labels?:

A: I’d say my favorite labels of the moment are probably Guidance, Sofa Sound, and Delta9. All three of these labels have been putting out such solid tracks every release in the style I love. They really have stuck out more than any other labels at the moment for me.

I could go real deep on loads of artists I love, but the ones I’ve been feeling lately have been Molecular, Mirrorman, Missledz, SD, HLZ, Philth, Mzine, Kyrist, Sweetpea, Cauzer, Klippee, Ill Truth, Myth, Genic, etc etc. I’m probably leaving out a ton.

Q: Name an artist you would like to work with in the future. Why them?

A: I love working with artists who are cool people and doing cool stuff we’re into. That’s really what I go for when I think about doing collabs with people. That being said I’d love to work with Break, Workforce, Kid Drama, Hydro, etc, etc.

Q: Could you name up to 3 different USDNB artists that have caught your attention/deserve spotlight?:

A: First up Homemade Weapons, one of the most underrated talents in the US and dnb in general for sure. Next, Winslow who’s seemingly come out of nowhere with not only a load of great tunes but also highly entertaining and informative youtube commentary. Finally, Klippee who I’ve watched develop the past few years into what I’m pretty sure will be one of the next big names in DnB.

Q: Let’s say you’re playing a b2b dnb set with a homegirl! Who are you calling?:

A: Sweetpea and Kyrist. I’d love to go b2b with either of these ladies but I also think all of us would be a wicked set for sure. When I picture the womxn in the scene most closely aligned with my style of dnb it’s definitely those two.

Q: Tell us about the strangest / most embarrassing experience you’ve had before, during or after a show:

A: I pulled the wrong USB out of the decks at Sun and Bass in 2018, right before DJ Lee went on. It went into emergency loop and Quadrant shut it off so we ended up with complete silence. Lee had to reboot the CDJs to get them to load again. I like to think no one noticed and of all the times to do that, a packed house in the Gazebo is not the one. Shouts to the MCs of the night who kept the energy up and saved our butts.

Q: What’s one D&B subgenre you think doesn’t get the attention it deserves?:

A: Haha…that’s a tough one because I don’t pay too close attention to subgenres. I suppose selfishly I’d always love to see the type of techy rollers/tech-step/Neurofunk style I make and play get a little more love.

Q: How can we make female/diverse talent more accessible and more represented in this music industry?:

A: I think a lot of it is what we’re already starting to see. There’s still a long way to go but creating more diverse line-ups for shows and festivals, mentoring opportunities for up-and-coming artists, and labels actively looking for more diverse artists. I’ll also say this works behind the scenes too, promoters, label teams, journalists, etc that aren’t just cis white guys are going to be more likely to find and promote talent that is diverse. Holding people accountable is also important, it’s not enough to talk about doing better, promoters, agents, labels, etc need to back up their talk with actions, and if this isn’t happening people should be speaking up about it and promoting those that are actually following through.

Q: If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be?:

A: More diversity…and more rollers…hahaha.

Q: Where do you see / hope to see the sound of Drum and Bass evolving too in the next few years:

I hope it keeps evolving. I love that people like Alix Perez, Gyrofield, Imanu, etc. are experimenting with new sounds and styles. It’s not always for me but the diversity in sound keeps the genre feeling fresh and helps inspire others to keep evolving. I’d also love to see more people continuing to recreate that classic techstep/Neurofunk sound that I’ll always love, gives me more artists to choose from when picking tunes for sets!

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About Author

With at first being a Drum & Bass connoisseur, I inevitably became an artist; establishing my own selections and style of heavy, dark, & chaotic neuro. Taking initiative, I started the #TeamNeuro project; rallying dnb artists from state-side to across the globe in support of the genre as whole -Humbly breaking the barriers/limits as an American.