Kate Simko

Who are you and what do you do?

Hi, I'm Kate Simko. I make music, compose film scores, and DJ. I made the transition out of my part-time job in 2006. It's been five years now!

What hardware are you using?

It's about time to mix things up, but right now I have a JUNO-106, Dave Smith Poly Evolver, Elektron Machinedrum, Roland TR-505 and Roland TR-707 in my studio. I used all of these machines on my album Lights Out (released last month on Hello? Repeat records from Berlin). The Juno 106 is great because it's a classic analog synth, but it has MIDI capabilities. I'm ready to trade the Polyevolver in for a new synth. It's always refreshing to have a new sound palette to work with.

What software are you using?

Logic Audio. I've used Logic for many years, and highly recommend it. It has good virtual synths, great effects, and allows you to go really deep into editing. It's been very reliable for scoring films and other big projects too. I think the sound engine is better than Ableton Live (which I tried using for a while), which is reason enough to use it.

What would be your dream setup?

I would love to have a Jupiter 8, an original Roland TB-303, a Roland Fantom keyboard, and a Steinway Grand piano (with MIDI). Also, if we're dreaming here, I'd love to have a studio outside of my house that had a separate room for recording vocals and other instruments. That would rule.

Where do you shop for and discover music?

I get a lot of promos, I exchange music with other DJ's, shop for music online (Beatport , Whatpeopleplay, etc), and go to Gramaphone Records in Chicago, when I'm in town.

Any highlights from your latest musical discoveries?

Since I just released my first solo album last month, I've been into checking out other artists' albums. Albums are a way to make a bigger musical statement, and it's a deeper journey, for sure. I really enjoyed Robag Wruhme's album on Pampa, Bruno Pronsato's new album on thesongsays, and Christopher Rau's album last year on Smallville, especially.

What's brewing in your studio?

Right now I'm finishing up a song for an EP with Tevo Howard (remixing a track we did together) and working on a new project with Matt Tolfrey. Matt got me back into using Waves plugins again. We've used the Maserati effects, which make everything sound richer, as well as a lot of the X-Noise and EQ's. On the side, I'm doing a film score for Fermilab and next up will be back to solo music again.

Any production tips & tricks or advice you'd like to share?

A friend just gave me a good tip recently. Basically, if you make two copies of the same audio track, and pan one to the left and one to the right, it makes synths (and almost all other sounds) have a richer, fuller sound. This is a great way to get a true stereo spread.

I think reading biographies of musicians helps to learn about the music biz. Honestly, making a lot of mistakes along the way is what really helped me learn though..

Where can we find you on the web?

Kate Simko / Facebook /