Kate Simko DJ’d at Tobacco Dock Summer In The City, and she’s back next month for LEAF, but this time she’ll be doing something a little bit different. Classical music with an electronic twist, or electronic music with a classical twist? We’re not sure, but Kate Simko and London Electronic Orchestra will be quite the spectacle for Friday night at LEAF.
Hi Kate. Thanks for taking the time to speak to LWE. What have you been up to today?
Hi! I spent the day making an orchestral arrangement for LEAF festival. I’m remixing Parra for Cuva ‘Champa’ and adapting the track for live strings and harp. It’s been a fun song to remix ☺
Ahead of your performance with London Electronic Orchestra at LEAF, could you tell us a little more about how your passion for electronic music and classical merged?
The first time it really came together was in 2005, when I did my first remix for Philip Glass. It was surreal that his label asked me, and honestly the remix took about three months. That was the first experience that bridged the two worlds for me. Then in 2012 I moved to London to get a post-grad degree in Composition for Screen at the Royal College of Music. There I met some amazing players and started substituting synth lines with live orchestral arrangements. We had access to very cheap recording sessions, so I’d book as much time as possible experimenting in the studio. The sound of live instruments just can’t be beat, so once I went down that path it became a little addiction!
And how come London was the place that you found the orchestra to help fulfill your vision?
London has been the ideal place to make this idea become reality. The city has the most exciting classical music scene in the world, and in my opinion is the heart of the electronic music scene too.
How many people will be on stage and performing on the night… would you be able to talk us through the set-up?
There will be a harpist, a string quintet of two violins, two cellos, and double bass, and I’ll be playing the Juno 106 keyboard and running the beats. The players use notated sheet music, so the trickiest part of the set-up is making sure the classical parts are playing at the right times, and blending with the electronics in the most natural way possible. Honestly it’s all about the right balance between the beats, synths, and live instruments.
Ahead of the London Electronic Arts Festival we wanted to ask you a few questions about the city too. How long have you been living here now?
I moved here from Chicago in the summer of 2012.
Was the London scene much of an influence on your musical tastes when growing up?
Growing up, I was mainly influenced by the music coming out of Chicago and Detroit, especially house, techno, and hip-hop. Then I moved to Miami to start university and heard IDM for the first time. English labels like Warp and Scam then moved front and center in terms of influence. This music really changed my life.
What did you enjoy most about the last time you were in London at Tobacco Dock DJing?
I loved the venue, it was a lot of fun to walk around and explore. I especially liked the Pimms bar with artificial grass and picket fences on the roof! A few friends were there for support behind the booth during my set, so was a great day from start to finish.
—Friday Nighttime 6th March – LEAF Live
7.00pm to 10.30pm
808 State (performing Ninety)
Kate Simko & London Electronic Orchestra