An American electronic music producer specializing in deep house and minimal techno, Kate Simko developed a love for music at an early age while growing up in Chicago. With music entrenched in her soul, Simko has traveled the world following the beat, and has released an extensive list of EP’s over the last decade. Holding a real passion for live orchestras, Simko founded the London Electronic Orchestra to fuse her two loves as one. Be on the look out for LEO’s debut EP coming in February, with their first full-length album in the pipeline for May.
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Chris Remmers: Did traveling throughout your schooling, especially with your time in Chile affected your career path?
Kate Simko: Well, I was already studying music when I went to Chile. It was my last year of undergrad. I was already on the path. I was studying music — electronic music. However, it did in a sense, because that’s where I worked with a producer down in Santiago, Chile, Andrés Bucci was his name, and I made my first album there. That’s where I learned to really take it from sort of a hobby, to doing a complete album with finished songs. So, that was a stepping-stone. That gave me confidence that I could actually do this and professionally release music.
Photo courtesy | Max Besser Jirkal
CR: So, you touched a little bit on your inspiration. What are some of the things while you’re traveling that gives you inspiration to create new music?
KS: Well, I guess when I’m traveling I’m kind of purposely trying to seek things out. I love all mediums of art. I love to see visual art. I’m interested in fashion, photography — any sort of cultural things. I can take something from that that I find unique, beautiful or interesting, and then think about how I can apply that to a song, maybe some texture that I think would be really cool translated into a musical gesture. What I usually do is have notes on my phone and I’ll write it down, or I’ll sometimes make a voice memo too. I’ll record a street performer, a melody or even an idea. I’ll then bring that back to a studio or a place where I’m ready to write music, and I have tons of ideas that I can possibly start from.
CR: Out of all the cities that you have performed in, are there any that stand out in terms of crowd atmosphere?
KS: I would say Warung in [Itajai,] Brazil. That’s a club that’s right on the coast basically. It has just a thatched roof kind of thing with no wall in the back. So, when you’re DJing you actually see the sunrise if you have that set time over the ocean. That was one of the most amazing atmospheres I’ve ever played in. It’s such a good vibe. It’s really outside, but not with the thatched roof. It’s open air basically. The Brazilian people are so positive and I had that sunrise set so it was just like, “Wow!”
CR: With so many locations and clubs throughout the world, what location would make you say to yourself, “Wow, I really made it and am at the top of my game right now”?
KS: For DJing, those places are DC10 in Ibiza, Berghain Panorama Bar in Berlin, Fabric in London. I’m happy to say I’ve played all those.
CR: That’s amazing!
KS: Yeah, it’s cool that those are all the top spots. For the new project that I’m doing, London Electronic Orchestra, we have our first EP coming out in February and our debut album coming in May. That project is totally different. My dream venues for that would be Central Park in New York — a big outdoor sort of thing. I could see the Walt Disney Concert Hall in [Los Angeles] or Ravinia in Chicago — Royal Albert Hall in London if I’m really dreaming big. Then I know I made it.
Photo courtesy | Anthony Quintano
CR: Yeah, that would be the pinnacle.
KS: That would be the pinnacle!
CR: Switching gears a little, when you hear the word “vacation”, what are some of the things that think about first?
KS: Beach! Just unplugging, because I travel to so many cities. For me, when I think of vacation, it’s more in a remote area usually.
CR: So, more tropical?
Photo courtesy | Kurt Bauschardt
KS: Yeah, tropical or even in the South of France, maybe somewhere remote in England’s countryside. Just piece and quiet.
CR: If you had to pick your top-three bucket list destinations, what would they be?
KS: Well, I did want to go to Bali, that was on the top of my list, but I just DJed there a couple months ago. That was cool. I’d like to go to South Africa sometime. I’ve heard that they have some good wine there. I’ve heard that they have a really nice area where you can rent a bike, be on the coast and then there are wineries. Traveling is expensive to go really far away. So, you have to pick and choose. Those kind of far away places really intrigue me. Also, in Asia, I’ve never been to Thailand for example. I hear Thailand is really nice. I’ve never done the beaches in Asia thing. I think Asian beaches would be my next thing.
Photo courtesy | Dronepicr
CR: So, lastly to wrap this up, when’s your next big trip and what for?
KS: I guess it depends on what big means. I’m in Chicago next, then New York and then I go back to London. I don’t consider them big, that’s when I’m in Hungry and I’m in Switzerland. So, I guess probably New Years Eve I’m going to be in Colombia.
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For more on Kate Simko visit her website and preview the sound of her LEO: