A few days after the release of her first solo album, Lights Out, Kate Simko has accepted to answer some questions… Born in Chicago, one of the cities which attended the birth of electronic music, Kate is one of the figureheads of the new feminine house wave. Following the example of Deniz Kurtel or Maayan Nidam, her music has nothing to envy to her male colleagues’ productions, and no doubt that her album will appear among the best releases of 2011. Interview with a multi-facets artists that is full of surprises.

- Version Française -


Hi Kate ! What’s up ?
All good here… Just sitting in bed with a laptop and my cat :)

I heard that almost everybody in your family plays the piano and that you logically started studying it when you still were a kid… How have you been influenced by this classical knowledge in the music you’re producing now ?
That’s a good question. A lot of the influence is just training your ear and learning the rules of music. I always write my songs in a certain key and base everything around that, so it’s kind of the backbone of each track.

I’ve seen that you’ve been called « Spectral Sound’s first lady of techno »… Can you tell us how you joined the Ghostly International and Spectral Sound family ? How does it feel to be an important part of such a great label ?
Spectral Sound and Ghostly have been really good to me over the years. They stood beside me and helped build up my music career from the very early stages. I’m grateful that they were so supportive and took me under their wing. We’ve had a lot of great label parties and good times over the years.

You are from Chicago, but I’ve read that you’re not really fond of Chicago house… Is it true ? How can you explain that you feel closer to Detroit techno than to Chicago house ?
Hmm that is not true! I love Chicago house. It’s in my blood, I think :) Chicago and Detroit are my two biggest influences, because I grew up listening to the DJ’s from these two cities.

You produced the soundtrack for the documentary movie The Atom Smashers, released on Ghostly International. That must have been a great experience, right ? Will we hear some more soundtracks from you in the future ?
This was my first feature-length film score; it was a great experience for sure. I’m really passionate about making music for film and hope to do much more of this in the future.

Lights Out is your first solo album… Do you feel proud of it ? How long have you worked on it ?
I think I worked on it a million times? Just kidding, but it feels like that. I am proud of my album. It covers a good range of music – electronic listening music, house, minimal, and ambient – but maintains continuity and tells a bigger story. This was the biggest challenge and coolest part of making an album.

After a great collaboration with Spectral Sound, why did you choose Hello? Repeat to release your debut album ?
That’s a good question. Spectral Sound didn’t want to release my album as double vinyl and CD, so I went with Hello? Repeat.

Mind On You, the first single taken from your upcoming album, has been remixed by Tevo Howard and Daze Maxim. How have the remixers been chosen?
Well, Daze Maxim was an easy fit because he is one of the label owners of Hello? Repeat, and his style fits well with mine. I asked Tevo for a remix because we’ve been working on music together in Chicago and he liked the album. So both happened pretty naturally.

Your last work as Detalles (with Andres Bucci) has been released in 2007. Can we expect some more tunes from you both in the near future ?
That’s a good question. We get requests to play every so often, but it’s difficult because I live in Chicago and Andres lives in Santiago, Chile. Hopefully our paths cross so we can make some music together again.

And what about your collaboration with Tevo Howard as Polyrhythmic ? And I heard that you are planning to release an EP on Supplement Facts with Anthony Collins… Can you tell us more about that ?
Tevo and I have been making tracks together for about a year now, and our first EP as Polyrhythmic will be released on Tevo Howard Recordings in September. Anthony and I made our EP long-distance (uploading Logic sessions for each other), and it worked well actually! Our EP “Sit Back” will be out next month on Supplement Facts.

You also worked with Philip Glass, which is quite unusual coming from an electronic music artist. Was it your classical side that was speaking through this project ?
Yes, this was definitely a classical music project. I think that Glass’ label was interested in having me do a remix because of my classical music background. I ended up playing a couple shows with the Philip Glass ensemble (which was amazing) and wrote some parts for electronics, etc. Most of my music is coming from the house/ techno electronic thread, but I really enjoy mapping things out with music theory for projects like this and film scores.

Music is a huge part of your life, but you also seem to be attracted by the visual dimension, as your live will be a « visual cinematic project » according to your own words… Can you tell us what you intended to do by creating this live show with Jeffrey Weeter ? What will it look and sound like ?
I wanted to make my live set more engaging for the audience and also the visuals help accentuate moments in the music. We’re calling the A/V live set “live cinema” because
each song has its own video that is created in real time based on the changes in my music. We came up with visual themes for the songs in advance, then shot HD video in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Chicago, and Tokyo. You’re able to see the visual aesthetic change real-time along with the musical transitions.

You’ve released Lost In Time on Eklo last year, with a remix by dOP. Can we expect another release on Seuil’s label or was it just a « one shot » ? And by the way, what do you think of the French electronic music scene and nightlife ?
The Lost In Time record is special to me, and I think Seuil appreciated it as well.. so we’ll see! The truth is that I really love French music. I loved playing French classical piano music, like Debussy and Eric Satie. And I like the sensibility of new French electronic artists like Anthony Collins, Dyed Soundorom, Shonky, Dan Ghenacia, and Masomenos.

Any projects for the future ?
Mainly, I’m excited to make some new music. Also, I have a new film score about to hit and will be working on two classical concert pieces over the summer. Then, in September I head to Ibiza, Fabric, etc. for a tour. Hopefully see you in France then :)

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  1. Interview | Kate Simko - Trace A Line says:

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