Growing up in Chicago as a classically trained pianist, Kate Simko was influenced by a wide array of sounds until she discovered electronic dance music. It was then, that she was more than inspired to travel down the electronically charged techno and house path. Kate was led to formulate her own thoughts and ideas that would motivate her to stand out as one of the leading female producers and DJ’s in the world today. With her up incoming release of the “Lights Out” EP from the “Hello? Repeat” imprint, as well as her current tour, she has been busy to say the least. An audio video sensory exploration of Kate’s “Lights Out” tour incorporates her signature sound and unique High Defined visuals. Kate Simko has taken her tour and the artistic installation to a different level of electronic entertainment. May 15th sees her headline the Verboten party in NYC.
CGNY: Hello Kate, what an amazing beginning of Spring for you, the ‘Lights Out’ album and the European tour to some beautiful venues with amazing sound to showcase your talents. Who or what have been some of your non-electronic influences in music?
KS: John Coltrane, Alice Coltrane, Eric Satie, Sade, Bill Withers, Dorothy Ashby, Fela Kuti...
CGNY: Now that we know, who or what have been the most important electronic inspirations to you as an artist?
KS: Matthew Herbert, Derrick May, Carl Craig, Theo Parrish, Derrick Carter, DJ Heather, Autechre, Plaid, Perlon.
CGNY: What was the sketchiest situation you encountered while attending an underground event?
KS: I was at an underground party in the late 90's at a roller rink in Indiana. The police busted the party and had everyone line up along the edge of the roller rink, with their hands against the wall. Tons of people were throwing drugs into the middle of the room, so there will little bags of drugs everywhere. One of the policemen broke my female friend's nose, and they still wouldn't let us leave the party. In the end, I talked a good talk, and we drove out of there, while hundreds of kids were waiting in limbo. It was definitely one of the more sketchy parties.
CGNY: There are a lot more female artists emerging in electronic production and Djing, do you feel that you have a responsibility to inspire women?
KS: I don't aspire to be a role model, although it's always nice to hear positive comments from fellow ladies out there. It's great that more women are getting into producing electronic music, happy to see it.
CGNY: What were 3 of your favorite places to eat while living in Buenos Aries? Favorite dish?
KS: La Cabrera - I ate my first steak there after 11 years as a vegetarian!
Krishna - relaxed vegetarian restaurant in Palermo. They serve a refreshing ginger lemonade, perfect for summertime. Dominga - hip restaurant in Palermo. My favorite dish is provoleta - fried cheese with chimichuri
CGNY: You mentioned 200 people listening to techno with great sound at the right space is just right, what’s the largest crowd you ever played for?
KS: I think it would have to be at a festival.. maybe MUTEK in Montreal, or Movement in Detroit.
CGNY: You have held a residency at The Bunker in Brooklyn, graced Blk Market Membership with your sound, as well as the Verboten parties in New York City, can you compare some of the experiences playing internationally with those in NYC?
KS: Well, every city has its own vibe. Playing in New York is similar to playing in London and Chicago for me. These are my three favorite cities for shows. I feel like I can play exactly what I want to play, and the crowd is educated about music and open to surprises. I enjoy playing everywhere though; each city is a new experience.
CGNY: When your performing you look happy, poised, and almost like your ready to throw down a royal flush, how do you determine what tracks your going to drop during your set prior to the gigs?
KS: Haha thanks, I don't love how I look in most pics, so it's nice to hear another opinion. I try to seek out new music before each weekend, if possible. Even a couple fresh new songs make me more excited to play a set.
CGNY: Anthony Collins, Camea, and yourself are working on some upcoming releases, what are some differences you have noted while working with other artists versus your solo work? I know some of your first forays into production where with Andres Bucci right?
KS: After completing Lights Out, I was eager to collaborate again and take a break from solo production. Anthony and I collaborated via the internet actually and Camea and I made some tracks at her studio in Berlin. Also, Tevo Howard and I have been making music here in Chicago whenever we are both in town. Our first EP, Polyrhythmic, will be out later this summer. The great thing about working with someone else is that they can help when you get stuck. The compromise is that sometimes you have to settle for some elements a bit different than your personal taste. But, most of the time, the alternate take on things is a good way of opening yourself up to a different sound.
CGNY: What’s new for you while Djing? Any new gear up your sleeve?
KS: Gear-wise, I bought Traktor Scratch and the X1 controller. Plan is to switch to Traktor soon. Besides that, I've been getting into making edits lately. I've been going to Gramaphone Records in Chicago more often and buying records that I wouldn't play as-is, but are cool for my set after some editing. It's a good way to get to know your songs better too. Definitely recommend it :)
Review of Kates new EP here
Interview by Keith Mitchell for CGNY.
Kate plays Verboten May 15th - details here.
Also Kate is doing a workshop at Dubspot NYC - check out the details below.
For those in NYC who would like to attend, limited spots are available by RSVPing on the Facebook event page. Anyone who can’t attend in person can watch live via Ustream on the Dubspot Blog.