To say Simina Grigoriu has been on a run of form this summer would be somewhat of an understatement. Following the critically-acclaimed release of her ‘Double Trouble’ EP.
With BB Deng in August and a hard-hitting remix for Fabio Florido’s ‘Bound’ EP just two weeks later (both of which were released on her esteemed Kuukou Records imprint),
the ever-prolific Berlin-based DJ, producer and label head shows no signs of letting up as she closes out the summer with an another flawless underground techno cut. Hand picked by fellow label boss Hollen to deliver a remix his for his new Acid Tear EP on Prospect Records,
Simina makes her long-awaited debut on the burgeoning Italian imprint with one of her finest productions to date.
We caught up with her to find out more…
Hi Simina! A very warm welcome to Techno Mood. Great to have you with us 🙂
Thank YOU! It’s an honour to be here with you 🙂
Please can you introduce yourselves to our Techno Mood readers?
My name is Simina and I’m a DJ and producer. I also own the techno label Kuukou Records and on top of juggling all of that, I’m also a dedicated wife and Mommy. I was born in Romania, grew up in Toronto, Canada and moved to Berlin in 2008.
How has your 2019 been so far?
Stellar! I brought out music out on various labels (read: FORM Music, Prospect Records, Deeperfect, Neuhain, TKR) and lots of new music came down the Kuukou pipeline. I’ve had the pleasure of working on remixes for some of my favourite artists and we’ve also recently had our annual label showcase at Polygon. It’s been a fun but somewhat exhausting year.
We’re loving your remix of Hollen – Acid Tear on Prospect Records. Can you talk to us about the record and the creative process behind it?
I always have my go-to sounds and often end up creating an entirely new track instead of honouring the original mix. I did not to that this time. Hollen’s original is nice, deep and glitchy yet I went a little darker with mine. I think in general my style has become harder and darker over the last few years and even though I still love my melodic techno, this darker style works well for my audience and it also tickles my heart.
Is this your debut release on Prospect? How did the introduction come about?
Yes! I have been following Hollen’s career for many years now. I have massive respect for his productions and his workflow. Earlier this year, I reached out to him with an official remix request for our (late) friend Joonas L’s “Kinky Panda”, released on Kuukou a few months ago. He kindly accepted and the track is a banger. He later returned and requested me for a remix on Prospect. Naturally, we’re now buddies. 🙂
What are your favourite pieces of studio equipment right now? (Please name at least three)
I’m not a purist. I love samples and plugins. I don’t have a lot of hardware and when I want to produce a proper sound I usually take my work to my brother, Moe Danger’s studio and we fatten it up there. He introduced me to his favourite synths: pro suite from fabfilter, specifically the pro-q3 eq, pro-c compressor (so amazing), the pro-mb (best multiband compressor). I am more creative, less technical, so I need to work with engineers like my genius brother to get the sound perfect. I am so happy to have these positive influences in my life. I learn a lot and am constantly learning.
Let’s talk about Berlin, where you now live. When and why did you decide to move there?
I moved here for love (not the love of music or techno or for the party) but for LOVE. I met my husband, Paul, in Toronto in September 2008 and we fell hard—head over heels, as the saying goes. I quit my day job (I was a marketing manager for Quiznos Canada while also learning to DJ and just getting acquainted with Ableton), and I sold my VW Jetta and rented out my condominium to some lady from the Romanian embassy. The rest is history! That was 11 years ago. We’re still so in love and in love with our little Isabella. We’re hoping to add another little techno monkey to the brood soon but for now we’re just enjoying watching her grow up.
Besides the obvious nightlife spots, where are some of your favourite places to hang out in the city?
On top of the Clou Mall there’s a parking lot where you can go “planewatching”. This is one of the coolest and unknown places in the city. I sometimes come here when I need to think. I love aviation and being so close to these massive machines makes my heart happy. I think I was a pilot in another life.
We live in Mitte (downtown) so everything is quite close. One of my favourite things to do is just wander in this historic city and discover the nooks and crannies Berlin has to offer. I’m always discovering new little spots for lunch or coffee but rarely remember their names.
With Isabella we love to go swimming and to parks. Easy. Mom stuff. I don’t really know “hotspots” and I rarely go to places like SoHo house and the likes. It’s all about being outside and in nature, or quality time at home with puzzles, painting and music!
Who or what were your biggest musical influences growing up?
Prodigy. Nirvana. Mobb Deep. Bob Marley. Jeff Mills. Juan Atkins. Snoop Dogg. Cypress Hill. Sneaker Pimps. Madonna. Anything from the Toronto jungle movement of the mid-late 90s. LED Zeppelin. I’m all over the place. My parents got a CD player in the late 80s/early 90s and for the next ten years all I did was listen to music when I wasn’t in school. Remember the Panasonic Shockwave cassette player or later the Discman? Those were ALWYAS in tow. Music is my best friend and has gotten me through some of the hardest times in my life.
Top 5 favourite records you love to play out at the moment?
What have you got planned for the rest of the year?
I’m sitting here at 6 am at my mom’s house in Canada. This is a holiday coming off a holiday (Sardinia) which I can say was very well-deserved as Paul and I have both been working like animals this year to get it all done. When we return to Berlin, Izzy will be back in pre-school and I will have a short South America tour (my first one!) after which I will get back to the grind as I’ve produced a bunch of stuff for various labels and it’s time to get that out in the world. I also have some more EU gigs and all my downtime is for Paul and Izzy. I rarely go out. I’m a boring mom with lots to do and to be honest, I’m quite happy with that.
Tell us something we might not know about you..
I know all the lyrics to anything Mobb Deep or Nirvana. My friends get annoyed. I am not afraid of heights and as a teenager used to bark into construction sites and climb the cranes. We were insane. My pro mother. Uff.
Any final words for our Techno Mood readers?
Stay in school. Don’t do drugs. Always look both ways before crossing the street at Berghain.
Thank you, darlings!
Here’s her brand new mix for Radio Prospect listen and enjoy.