You made an one year break where you also played no gigs – but for a good reason: You got a wonderful daughter. Did you need that little break and have you taken a benefit from that time out in general?
Simina Grigoriu: To be honest, I wanted to be like those techno hero mommies who play well into their seventh month but I had no energy to fly around the world with a big belly and no stamina. Every pregnancy is different and mine was not fun. I think I stopped playing after the first trimester and took the rest of the time off to nest and… make an album!
Did you do something nice during your break? Was there still some time left for musical experiments?
Simina Grigoriu: Absolutely! I used the time to produce about 10 tracks. What else was I going to do with all that time off? I also started working with my brother, Daniel, artist name Moe Danger, as my sound engineer. He’s extremely talented and while I bring creative ideas to the studio and can string together tracks just fine, he helped me add depth and substance to my music. Fattening up basslines, creating proper melodies and getting rid of ugly frequencies, stuff like that. He’s a genius!
It took a while until you released your Matching Numbers EP on the label Form Music in November 2015. What can we musically expect from the artist Simina Grigoriu in 2016? Are there any plans we can looking forward to?
Simina Grigoriu: I have grounded a label, Kuukou Records, and will release my new project, Techno Monkey, over a series of EPs during the course of 2016. At the recommendation of my manager, my booking agent, my husband and pretty much everyone I spoke to, I have decided to spilt my album into EPs because for today’s generation of music enthusiasts, the concept of the album is beginning to become obsolete. It just makes more sense this way. We have awesome tracks and top remixers and I am very excited about this new little venture. I am also looking forward to summer since summer 2015 was entirely dedicated to my new little family, baby Isabella and my darling, Paul. Mami wants back to work! I’m excited!
It was on 17th October 2015 in Rostock when you returned to your turntables after your time out. What did you feel in that moment?
Simina Grigoriu: Nervous. Scared. Happy not to be playing the main stage in that particular moment. But it was great! I got my shit together and just went back to work. Like riding a bike :) I am very thankful and grateful to my fans for supporting me while I was absent as well as when I made my little comeback. It’s easy to go up and down in this industry. It’s easy for people to forget you if you are not active for some time. With so many newcomers to the market, it’s nice to see people stay interested even if you take some much-needed time off. Humbling. I love my fans for that.
You posted amazing pics of you with the motto „Play Instinct“ on Facebook. What’s it all about?
Simina Grigoriu: Play Instinct was a little campaign we decided to do to re-introduce me to techno society. My comeback, if you will. It was a play on words (no pun intended) and was created to showcase the fact that I play all day long! I play at home with my baby. I play at work on a stage. I play in front of the camera. I play in the kitchen. I play in the studio. All I do is play and I’m lucky that I can call some of that playing, work. It was meant to be fun and light and create a little bit of buzz around a girl who disappeared for a year to make a baby and an album.
You were born in Romania, grew up in Toronto and now your are living in Berlin. Where do you feel most comfortable?
Simina Grigoriu: Oh that’s so tough to say! I left Bucharest when I was only three years old and have visited almost every year since I was ten (after the revolution). So I’m familiar with Romania. I speak Romanian fluently and each time I’m there, I have an overwhelming sense of patriotism as well as an undeniable feeling that I’m really just a Canadian. When I visit Toronto, where I grew up, I feel an astounding sense of nostalgia. All my childhood friends are there and I’ve driven around in my little black Jetta on every street in that massive city. Having said that, I feel like a tourist every time I’m there. Maybe because I’ve been gone for so long. But I live in Berlin, have established my business and more importantly my family here. I speak German (although not well enough to write this little interview for you guys auf Deutsch). So Berlin is my home!
Do you listen to the music you produce and play in your sets and to Techno in general privatly at your leisure time as well?
Simina Grigoriu: I listen to Techno every day. Mostly because it’s part of my job to find the best music to play on stage! I also make podcasts and mixes weekly with the new music I find. But the days of loading up some techno or just randomly playing vinyls for hours is rare these days. With a baby, a husband, a new label and my shows, I appreciate any downtime I can get. Techno mornings have been replaced with KiKa dancealongs. Perhaps this happens when one’s passion becomes one’s job. Regardless, it’s a job I’m still extremely passionate about.
The development of technology in the music business never stands still. Which of these gadgets is so essential for you that you would not relinquish anymore?
Simina Grigoriu: I don’t need gadgets. Ableton. Is. King. I cannot do anything without this program. The only gadget I use regularly is an AKAI APC Key 25 and that’s just for flow of production. I love analog but work primarily with samples and digital VSTs so I don’t need much more than my machine and my plugins, a midi controller and a little keyboard. Easy. Sylenth1 and Massive are a must, and Melodyne has entirely changed the way we look at melodies. That shit blew my mind!!!!!
What experiences or incidents inspired and influenced you most in your former time as an artist? What was the most extraordinary thing that ever happened to you at a show or event?
Simina Grigoriu: I’ve been an artist all my life. I was in music school when I was young. Then visual arts and dance. I graduated to hip-hop and writing rhymes in high school but only when I started raving to jungle in the mid-late 90’s did I fall in love with electronic music. It was those years that made me want to do this today. After I graduated university with a Bachelor in Technology, I worked at an advertising agency for years. I liked my job but started playing with Ableton for fun and had some decks at home. That was my downtime. It was a hobby.. and that hobby turned professional. Those confusing moments of my younger years have shaped me because I never really thought I would make anything more than a hobby out of this. And now it’s my lifeblood. I do not take that for granted.
As for funny things happening at shows.. well.. there are many. Off the top of my head…. I remember one time being in a bathroom and some girl told me I look EXACTLY like Simina Grigoriu. I was dumbfounded. I blushed and giggled but said nothing and just went back to my decks. Another time, a raver managed to get backstage and steal all the backstage passes and had started to sell them around the venue. When he finally got caught by THE COPS (not bouncers) he asked if he could trade all the backstage passes for the chance to meet the artists himself. What a silly idiot. He got bounced out, obviously. Anyway, stuff like that happens all the time. I could go on forever but you don’t have that much space…
Is there anything else you would like to tell us?
Simina Grigoriu: Stay in school. Say no to drugs. Don’t believe the hype!
Interview Philipp Elzner.