Chicago born and based ambient dance hall queen Kate Simko makes amorphous music formed solely on a Balearic bass line. Single handedly laying down all her own tracks, the red-headed DJ worked closely with Brenda D, Dilo, and Kevin Knapp on her debut album Lights Out released early this year. i-D online caught up with the turn-tabler and scored an exclusive mix.
Where are you based? Chicago
What did you grow up listening to? Classical music with my father, 80’s pop like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, etc. were my childhood favourites.
Which female artists have had a profound influence upon you in the past? Sade, Cat Power, Nina Simone.
What prejudices do you come across working as a female in this industry? Being asked if I make my own tracks by myself (which I do).
Are you creative in any avenues other than the music? I like being creative in even the smallest ways. My new hobby is learning ballet, which has been the highlight of my summer.
Tell me something about you no-one else knows? That’s a tough one… think I’ve shared all my secrets at one rave or another!
How would your friends describe you? Honest and loyal.
Where and what club night is the best place to party in London? Fabric – best club in the world.
How do you keep yourself constantly inspired? All the beautiful things and people around me.
What can we expect from the new album? It’s a continuation of the sound I was making for Spectral Sound, ranging from arty house to dark eerie afterhours songs to ambient. I tried to tell a story with the album from start to finish. It’s not a compilation of tracks that were lying around, it’s a bigger piece, meant to be checked out in full.
Who have you worked with closely on this new material? Well I made all the songs, then Brenda D, Dilo, and Kevin Knapp laid vocals on top of three of them.
What elements of your personality does your sense of dress express about you? Coming from Chicago, which is a pretty humble, working class city, I used to think fashion was lame. But now I’ve realised that how you dress is a really cool way to inspire people. I always think “hell yeah” when I see a woman taking risks and being avant-garde with her style. I’m no fashion expert, but I enjoy hunting for stuff in other cities and supporting independent designers as often as possible.
What happens at one of your gigs, visually? If things are technically all good, then hopefully you’ll see me smiling and sipping a cocktail! Or, if you mean the A/V set then it’s a live HD video display that interacts real-time with my live set. I’m also adding keyboards to my live set too.
If your music were a person what would he/she look like? Stylish nerd.
What vibes do you hope to put out with your sound? Creative emotion.
What up-and-coming producers and DJ’s are you excited about right now? Tevo Howard, Maya Jane Coles.
When you’re not working where can you most usually be found? Chilling with my two cats.
What comes next for you? I have a couple of collaborations in the works – one with Tevo Howard, one with Camea, and one with Matt Toflrey. They’re all super different, but I’m excited about each one.
Text: Milly McMahon