Getting her start stateside alongside Matthew Dear, Ryan Elliott, and the Spectral Sound crew, Kate Simko has quietly, yet consistently, established herself as one of dance music’s rising stars. A diverse musician, Kate’s projects range from remixing Philip Glass, to composing film scores, to rocking jackin’ DJ sets, and producing her melodic, Chicago-flavoured take on house and techno. Kate shares with Meoko a number of creative tips on producing music and she sure knows what she’s talking about!
If I’ve learned anything in the past years, it’s that there is no real separation between you as a person and your music.So some of the best advice to grow as a producer and composer is psychological, not technical! This is the advice I’d give to a good friend (or sweet Holic party-goer) pushing forward making music.
Collect ideas in advance.
This is a great way to keep ideas flowing and channel things that you like into your music. Smart phones make it very easy to jot down notes, make recordings, and take photos. Then when you get into the studio you have a lot of creative ideas there to get the process flowing, and it’s just a matter of transforming them into music.
Live like an artist.
See the world, live, love, explore. Living an adventurous life provides story lines for the songs, fresh ideas that intrigue the listeners and aren’t copying others.
Be a good person.
Do this for yourself, the quality of your music, and because the music world is small. Keep it real or it comes back to haunt you! This is definitely one of the golden rules in Chicago.
Start with quality sounds.
John Tejada taught me this, and he said it was the most important tip he received from a mentor. Basically, you can’t polish a turd. Always go for quality drum samples, invest in synths with character, make your own sound recordings, find kick drums and claps that cut through in just the right way.
Know your history.
Context matters. Listen to a lot of different producers, labels, and genres. Know what you like, and why you like it. It helps when it’s time to make production decisions.