LABELS: Kuukou / FORM Music / TKR
Romanian-born, Toronto-bred Simina Grigoriu has been steadily racking up accolades during her decade-long career. Starting off as a DJ, she’s made the transition as a producer and kicked off own label Kuukou, a home for techno forward productions, where she calls all the shots. In this time she’s also transplanted to Berlin, a place she now calls home and the major source of her creative inspiration, a source as diverse as her influences.
Simina’s musical roots stem deep in her childhood when she studied classical violin and keyboard. Coupled with her parents’ musical legacy and her passion for Hip Hop freestyling as a teen, it encapsulates the foundation of her style, an avenue she continues to explore to this day.
Garnering on the exposure of Toronto’s clubs, where growing up, the likes of Jeff Mills, Josh Wink and Juan Atkins struck a chord, Simina’s style grew and developed constantly into the straightforward and uplifting techno she fronts today.
Her first productions came to light on the Berlin label Sonat Records, followed by releases with Phrase Insane Records in Spain, Italy’s Intelectro Vibe, Urban Sound and Frequenza Records. A debut album was sure to follow, as Exit City became one of Susumu Records’ highest chart toppers.
After a year long break, where she focused her efforts on motherhood while keeping an active studio schedule, Simina christens Kuukou Records in July 2016 with her inaugural EP “Techno Monkey’. Shortly after, she doles out “Matching Numbers” on Popof’s FORM, an immediate hit EP complete with a smashing remix by Julian Jeweil. She continues to release both on Kuukou as well as FORM while working on remixes and collaborations for numerous techno labels in parallel.
An active globetrotter, Simina’s constantly touring, having wowed crowds at festivals and venues all over the world so it’s no surprise the Techno chief named her label Kuukou (Japanese for airport). She has been pushing a steady row of releases from the likes of Torsten Kanzler, Alfred Heinrichs, Martin Books, Daniel Boon with premium artists as remix support.
Most recently 2017 has seen Simina embark on her yearly Asia tour, with highlights at Strawberry Festival and G-Festival, Elevator Shanghai and Beijing’s ultimate underground techno club “Lantern” – otherwise known as the Berghain of Beijing.
Safe to say the coming months will provide a plethora of amazing releases, performances and surprises from one of Techno’s most dynamic ladies.
Hello mate! How Are You? What do you have scheduled for today?
Studio. Feed the toddler. Kiss the husband. More studio.
Please tell us a bit about your latest releases!
I just released “Edge of the World” on my label, Kuukou Records. Remixes were executed by AKA AKA, Nusha and Berlin’s very own Housemeister.. I’m also working on 3 remixes at the moment and just finished another original track, Una, which will be remixed by Carlo Ruetz, Philip Bader and Jade. So much coming down the pipeline. I wish there were 30 hours in the day. “Shark Island” is also coming soon but two very special and top secret remixers will only be announced later. If you think hard.. you can imagine who it will be.
Which release was the one who gave you the most attention so far?
I have no idea. Maybe “Techno Monkey”? Maybe “Ninja Princess”? Maybe my remix for “Kleines Bubu” (my nickname) which I produced out one love for my husband? Not sure, but what is certain is that I am eternally grateful for anyone who buys and listens to my music. Without the fans, we are nothing.
Tell us a bit about your upcoming releases! Is there anything special planned?
I will have two more EPs on Kuukou this year, one is “Una”, remixed by Carlo Ruetz, Philip Bader and Jade, and the other is “Shark Island” with two very special (and as of yet top secret artist remixes)—out in July. It will come out on vinyl and digital as well. I’m also working on an EP for FORM Music but that’s in skeleton mode at the moment.
I have a remix coming out for Alfred Heinrichs’ Mini Me EP, out on Kuukou April 24th and also a remix for Kaldera feat. Lazarusman’s “Oceans of my Mind” for HMWL (House Music With Love) which will come out later this month.
In addition to the above, I’m also working on two collab remixes with Moe Danger. One for Torsten Kanzler ’s TKR imprint and the other for our friends, Klangkarussell—Name/date unreleased and TBD. They are buddies of mind and we’ve worked/played/released music together in the past so this fits really well.
As you are touring a lot, please tell us something about your experience. What is your favourite city or country and why?
I love playing in Berlin, Toronto and Bucharest. I was born in Bucharest, moved to Toronto when I was three years old and then to Berlin at 27. They are my three hometowns. It’s always a little more nerve-racking when your entire crew is around you. I feel the need to do my best on stage all the time but there’s always added self-pressure in these three cities.
What were your TOP 5 gigs so far?
Hard to say but if I had to choose….
I Love Techno Gent
What are your top 5 tracks that are really working the dance floor in your sets at the moment?
Ahh.. I hate this question. There are way too many to start listing them off….
Thank you for your time and this interesting interview!
Interview by Lars
&Lez – Underware (Original Mix) – Mindshake
Matt Sassari – Prank Det (Original Mix) – Kling Klong
Johan Mila – Revelation (Original Mix) – My Favourite Freaks
Torsten Kanzler – Coconut (Original Mix) – Bush Records
Simina Grigoriu – Edge Of The World (Nusha Remix) – Kuukou Records
Ray Kajioka – Constant (Heiko Laux Remix) – Kanzleramt
Matt Sassari – Within to Me (Original Mix) – Clepsydra
Horatio – Black Hole (Original Mix) – Kuukou Records
Cosmic Boys – Tunnel (Original Mix) – Scander
UMEK – Shadow Tactics (POPOF Remix) – FORM Music
Daniel Boon – Juno (Original Mix) – Kuukou Records
Syndrome (Torsten Kanzler Remix) – Dejvid Kavazovic & Distale – TKR
Philip Bader – Road (Original Mix) – ELEVATE
2000 And One – Kawasaki (Original Mix) – Bitten