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Beyond the record presents

an interview with

miguel iniguez

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Beyond the Record: Welcome! Tell us a little bit about who you are, where you're from and
how you got your start in music.
Miguel Iniguez: I am from California, born in Salinas, raised in Castroville. I got started in
music when my best friend at the time started to learn guitar. This was around 6th or 7th grade. He
was a big influence in my life especially music wise. We were always listening to Metallica,
Megadeth, Pantera etc. His mom took me to see Metallica in san Francisco! But it wasn’t until
8th grade when my parents finally bought me my own guitar and so I started to teach myself and
really got into it.
BtR: At what age did you, or your parents, begin to notice you had a love for the arts and
had such a creative mind?
Miguel Iniguez: One of my earliest memories of receiving praise for my creative mind would be
in like 2nd or 3rd grade when we had an art project at school and the teacher was impressed with
this bird I made out of colored paper. I also once won a Halloween cookie decorating contest
when I was 10 or 11 in my home town’s community center. I came home with a basket of goods
that I had won and my mother thought I had stolen it haha.
BtR: Do you feel as though your childhood played a role in cultivating your love of music?
Miguel Iniguez: I had a traumatic childhood, so I used music to escape from my reality. So I
guess in a way my childhood did play in important part in my love for music.
BtR: You’ve been in a handful of bands, which was the first band you played in?
Miguel Iniguez: The first was The Deaf Jackets, it was a band a couple of friends and I started
in high school. We were all learning to play an instrument at the time mostly guitar and bass, and
that’s what brought us together. We started jamming at one of the guitar player’s house. We
would jam out in the garage. Since there were three guitar players, some of us would also play
drums. I wound up just playing guitar in this band while the other 2 guitarist switched back and
forth on the drums depending on the songs or actually depending on who had written the song
haha. Since we were all writing songs it was weird combination of classic rock, punk and
grunge. We then went to record at a studio, that was exciting! Going in to record at a decent
studio at a young age was a great experience, I’ll never forget it. We played our first show in
Watsonville, that was a lot of fun. We then also played at our high school’s events and that was
about it.
BtR: You then joined a punk band?
Miguel Iniguez: Yeah! That was quite an adventure to say the least haha the smell of vodka still
reminds me of Young & Dead. That was our band’s name. I remember having to take the bus
form Castroville to Salinas to practice. We probably didn’t have a single practice without
drinking, especially drinking vodka. I think I was only in the band for maybe a year and a half or
two. We played a couple of shows and even recorded a demo.
BtR: How did you end up in Miseria?
Miguel Iniguez: So our High School has this bonfire event which they have bands playing at.
That’s where I saw Miseria play for the first time. The drummer was the one who went to the
high school. They sounded kinda cool. I went home and added them on Myspace. A couple of
days later they post a status update stating that they were looking for a guitar player. It turned out
they had kicked out their guitar player over some drama. They were based out of Prunedale,
which is where I was living at the time and I had been wanting to join a metal band so I
messaged them. They told me to learn one of their songs and to come audition. So I did and I
was in. The video audition is still online on Myspace haha.
BtR: Would you say Miseria was your most successful project?
Miguel Iniguez: Yes. It was the first band I had ever written a whole album with. On our first
official album I wrote about 95% of the guitar parts and recorded all the guitar parts myself
because we had kicked out the other guitar player right before we went into the studio. On our
second album, I also wrote and recorded all the guitar parts. It was the first band I ever toured
with, even though it was a very short tour and not that successful, I still got to travel to Oregon
and Washington. We played definitely at least 100 shows throughout the 5 years I was in the
band. We supposedly signed a contract with a record label, but in actuality it was just some dude
just trying to start a record label. I think had we done the proper marketing, maybe we could
have been more successful.
BtR: What do you mean by proper marketing?
Miguel Iniguez: I mean making music videos, taking promo photos, making an electronic press
kit and sending it to various blogs and magazines and record labels. We kind of just half-assed
everything.
BtR: so what happened to Miseria?
Miguel Iniguez: Life happened. We first we kicked out or bass player and from there it just
became a hassle to get everybody to practice. I also wanted to write more progressive type of
music but the drummer wasn’t really digging it. We kind of just quit.
BtR: So far in all your previous bands you had played guitar but you also played drums in
a couple of bands right?
Miguel Iniguez: Yeah, while I was playing in Miseria, I also started another band with 3 of the
previous band members of The Deaf Jackets. We were smoking a lot of weed at the time and
reading about the pyramids, end times and mystical stuff so we started getting into doom metal
and decided to start a doom band called Soul Merchant. Music and rhythm comes to me naturally
so I was able to play drums pretty easily, mind you I wasn’t that good but it was good enough for
some doom metal. I did get better over the years. We played a handful of shows and recorded a
demo but nothing much came of it. It was a lot of fun though. I miss those guys. The same thing
that happened with Miseria kind of happened to Soul Merchant, every one pretty much quit. I
guess some of us grew distant from each other. Later on one the guitar players of Soul Merchant
and I formed a 2-piece doom project called HINGE which ended prematurely because the guitar
player ended up going to prison.
BtR: Sounds like you have had quite a musical journey. What are you up to now?
Miguel Iniguez: Since then I have been doing solo stuff and working on music production. I
have released a couple of singles. Some are electronic chill type of songs and some are metal
songs. I have also recorded a couple of cover songs. I have been slowly building up my little
home music recording studio and getting back into making more music.
BtR: Care to give an insight on the production of the music itself? How is it recorded?
Miguel Iniguez: I record everything through an audio interface, I currently have a Presonus
firestudio project and running Reaper on a windows PC. I also have a couple of midi controls
such as a korg micro keyboard and nanopad2. For electronic music I usually start with a drum
pattern and try to come up with some melodies or a chord progression using the keyboard. Then
move on to the bass and then adding some synths and begin to layer different sounds that I like
or fit with the melody. From there I export an mp3 and listen to it in my car, on my cell phone
etc. If I feel like it needs vocals, then I will think of a subject and write down ideas and come up
with some melodies. Then I would record the vocals. From there I do the mixing. Making sure
all the instruments have breathing room and nothing sounds too muddy. Then I export and
master the track. Before I release it I make sure to listen to it in different speakers. I also ask my
wife for feedback. She has a good ear for music and gives lot of great feedback even though it’s
hard for me to receive criticism. I always feel like what I am doing is good/right and don't want
to hear others opinion but I know how important it is to have a fresh pair of ears listening to your
stuff and giving you feedback. For metal and other music, I usually start with guitar riffs and
then the process is pretty much the same.
BtR: So you seem to be a DIY type of musician. Why do you think that is?
Miguel Iniguez: Whenever there is an opportunity to make my own stuff, whether it is
designing my own logos and artwork, printing my own t shirts, making my own website etc. I
take it and do it all myself. That’s why I like to play all the instruments and have been working
on my vocals. I like saying and knowing "I made this" haha I guess I have always been creative,
I am also a graphic designer.
BtR: As a DIY musician, give some advice to someone who may be looking to start a new
band or project but may be afraid to.
Miguel Iniguez: There isn’t much to be afraid of if you start a project yourself since you are in
control of it. You can decide which chords or melodies to use and what instruments to use etc.
It’s much harder to join a band in my opinion. I have been wanting to join a band for quite a
while now but it’s hard to find one that I feel I will be able to contribute to without worrying
about someone else not liking my ideas. Most bands already have a defined sound. As a DIY
musician, I want to be the one making the choices and what not. I guess that is why I been
wanting to start my own project.
BtR: Tell us about your latest project.
Miguel Iniguez: Well lately I been getting into Outrun and Synthwave. The scene has been
growing a lot in the past couple of years. Every week there are a number of releases coming out.
This past weekend I went to see FM-84 and The Midnight, some of the top synthwave artist at
the moment, and the show was sold out! The people were really into it. The two guys in FM-84
had only met 3 days prior to the show and this was their first show AND it was sold out! It was
pretty amazing and both of the acts killed it. So I decided contribute my own piece into the
scene. STARFARER is the name of my synthwave/outrun project and I hope to release my debut
EP late this year or early next year.
BtR: We will get to the genres that inspire you in a moment. First, tell us which musicians
and artists inspire you to do what you do.
Miguel Iniguez: Daniel Tompkins of Tesseract is my favorite artist at the moment. Everything
he touches he turns into gold, he even released a synthwave project! He has perhaps one of the
best vocals in modern metal. He inspired me to focus more on my vocals.
BtR: And now, what genres inspire you the most? How would you label your music?
Miguel Iniguez: The main genre for me has always been Metal, but I like and listen to a lot of
different genres and subgenres. There are too many to list. My music is just music.
BtR: What is next for you musically and where can we find your music?
Miguel Iniguez: My main project as I mentioned earlier is STARFARER. You can find it on
bandcamp as well as facebook and instagram. Be on the lookout for the debut EP coming out late
this year or early next year.
I’m also hoping to start a doom metal project as well and perhaps actually get a band going. I am
eager to start playing gigs again. All my guitar amps are just sitting there collecting dust!