In Paradise with: Simina Grigoriu

Tell us about your start as an artist/band…

I started out as a bedroom DJ and played afterparties for fun. I was in university and working at a club as a bartender when I realised, I want to be in charge of the music. That’s how it started. I rented some decks and bought myself a XONE:92 and just got to work. I also dabbled in Ableton and had some friends teach me the basics but it wasn’t until I moved to Berlin in 2008 that I produced my first tracks and started touring professionally. That feels like a lifetime ago.

Take us back to the very beginning…

That’s a long way back! My parents had an amazing music collection. I was playing those records all day long. I studied piano and violin later on as a kid, and as a teenager, I got into the Toronto rave scene in the late 90s. I was (and still am) into 90s hardcore rap (Mobb Deep/Nas/Wu-Tang etc) and my brain is full of music nonstop. My musical influences are all over the map and I pull inspiration from EVERYWHERE.

What’s Your Songwriting Process?

I always start with a hook/melodic idea and plug that in. I then perfect the kick (dark rumble kick and sub bass for feeling) and then get to work on the melodies. Because techno is drums-driven, it’s important to get a solid punchy kick but equally important for the track to have some feeling as well. You could have a great melodic techno production, if they kick is weak, the track will not deliver on the dance floor. For this reason, because I am not an engineer, I always outsource my mix/master to a professional. Creativity is one thing but engineering a track properly will determine if it works in the club. I was adamant about doing everything on my own before but now I like to work with engineers to create the best possible outcome for my music.

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How has COVID impacted this?

I had lots of downtime in 2020 so I produced quite a bit but I was also pregnant with our second baby so I had very little motivation for anything that required too much of me. I think I used the time wisely and I am so absolutely ready to come back to the stage.

What does being Independent mean to you?

When I first started out in this industry, I was adamant about doing everything on my own. It was an epic mistake because I am not a producer by profession–I never studied music production or sound design. I thought independence meant never asking for help so my tracks were weak and my output could have been more present. Independence doesn’t mean doing everything on your own, it means owning what you do and trying your best to not get influenced by the hype. And there is A LOT of hype out there. Knowing what you want and doing what you can to get there, that’s independence because a the end of the day, nobody is going to create your career for you.

What can we expect from you 2021 – 2022?

Of course, we have our regular release schedule, outputting a new EP every six weeks and we’ve already started to work on 2022. We have releases from new as we as established artists. I’m really lucky to work with such great artists, and I am eternally thankful to my label managers, Jens and Marcel at Grise Agency, for running the show. It’s A LOT of work and I wouldn’t have a label without them.

I’ve got lots coming down the pipeline! I just did a remix for Aitor Ronda for Kuukou, as well as one for his Tweezer track on ELEVATE, there are the Techno Monkey Remixed EPs which start coming out this month, I have EPs coming out on OFF Recordings, Complexed Records and Kuukou, and I’ve got remixes coming out Set About (for Juheun) and on Kuukou (for Drumcomplex). That pretty much wraps up the year’s releases.

Regarding gigs, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. I have two—yes, TWO—gigs this summer. I’m playing Mácháč festival in Prague 21 August but other than that, it’s not looking great. I’m so over the bookings and consequent last-minute cancellations. It’s happened so many times this year so I don’t get my hopes up anymore. I’m happy to play but I also feel right being exactly where I am, home with my babies. I have high hopes for 2022 and hope we can find some sense of normalcy soon.