Kate Simko (Ghostly, Hello? Repeat) @ Dubspot: Ableton, Film Scoring – Live Streaming Workshop

We are very pleased to announce that Chicago’s Kate Simko (Ghostly, Spectral, Eklo, Hello? Repeat) will be joining us in New York next Monday May 16th for a workshop on her creative workflow, scoring for film using Logic and using Max MSP to sync video to an Ableton Live performance. For those of you in NYC who would like to join us live – please RSVP on our Facebook event page. These events fill up quick so watch our updates for availability. We will also be broadcasting the workshop right here on our blog for those of you who want to join remotely. We’ve found success with our Mary Anne Hobbs and Soul Clap live streaming workshops and we are excited for this fresh perspective from Kate Simko next week. In addition, Kate will be performing at the Hudson Bar on Sunday May 15 with her visual artist, Jeffrey Weeter. We recommend you check out Simko’s live audio/visual performance on Sunday then come hear about how it was created with us on Monday. It’s gonna be an enlightening weekend of creativity!

Although her music tends to appear on hip techno labels like Spectral and Hello? Repeat, Kate Simko’s music blurs the lines between techno, house, IDM and soundtrack scores to create soulful moments for different settings. From her work scoring the PBS documentary The Atom Smashers to her melodic tech/house singles such as “Mind on You,” Simko always brings a fresh take on composition that combines a soulful approach to songwriting with modern drum programming for the dance floor. She explains her aesthetic to me over the phone from Chicago:

“I like the idea of blurring genres in my dj sets and when I’m making tracks as well. When I grew up in Chicago people back then played techno and electro and house and disco all mixed together. It wasn’t the same lines between this is techno and this is house.”


This month Kate Simko will release Lights Out, her first proper solo album, on Hello? Repeat records. The album is an amalgam of house music, techno sounding percussion, funky bass lines and soulful vocals – proper dance floor material. I found the vocals on this album very interesting – while she rarely sings on her own tracks Simko will often employ singers to deliver a desired groove. When asked about this she says it’s an aesthetic choice.

“I guess I have a really specific taste when it comes to vocals. I like really soulful vocals. So, Like with Mind On You  – I couldn’t sing like that. I just have a real white girl kinda voice. So it’s mostly a taste thing. I  wouldn’t be opposed to talking on a track.. or I’ve done things like whisper vocals with effects to create texture. Mainly I hire vocalists because I like quality of their voice and their style.  I’m really drawn to soul and funk and R&B.”

Simko recently returned from a European tour to support Lights Out which releases on May 23, 2011. She wanted to create something special for this tour and teamed up with visual artist Jeffrey Weeter who uses Max for Live to sync the performances. Weeter explains more on the Ableton Live Website: ”Jitter, audio and MIDI are all being used to control video,” explains Jeffrey. The custom Max for Live patch “works as a real time editor,” says Jeffrey, “creating the film on the fly through movie and effect selection and manipulation based on Kate’s performance.”

You can catch this unique live audio / visual performance in New York on Sunday May 15 at The Hudson Bar. Then on Monday you can hear about how it was put together as Simko joins us for a workshop on her creative workflow for live performances as well as productions in Logic and Live. As someone with a background in music education (she studied music at a University in South America) Kate Simko leaves you with words of advice and inspiration for your own creations as well:

“Just keep at it. If it’s really good it will stand out. The cool thing about dj culture is that everyone is always excited for the next new thing. Everybody wants to re-create that special moment when you hear the right song at the right time and  the whole room is united and it’s awesome. So hey, even if you’re unknown – if you can make that song you’re good.”

Michael Walsh is the Editor of Dubspot’s Blog, a producer of audio/visual art and a journalist living in Southern California. Read more of his work at soundsdefygravity.com