Where are you from and/or where do you live now?
How long have you been playing drums? And what initially drew you to the instrument?
I’ve been playing since I was 7. My dad and I used to really get into disco and rock. He bought me a drum pad and some sticks and them my mum sent me to lessons. I got bored doing paradiddles and lacked the discipline at that age to figure out why that might have been important – I just wanted to go straight into gated snares. That sound really excites me – before drum technology went digital, and analogue drum machines were big in the mid 80s – it’s a really maligned drum sound and I always loved it. It really peaked with genres like New Beat and EBM. Not much has changed - I just want to make that sound
Do you play any other instruments?
Guitars and sequencers - and singer.
What bands/projects/collaborations are you involved in right now?
I play solo as SIMONA, and also DJ.
What else where you previously involved in (bands/shows/projects etc)?
Ana Nicole and TransPixies
Do you write music or develop your own shows? What are they about/how have they come about?
I write all my music. It’s all generated from drum and bass rhythms – constructed as techno. Then I play back over the top and drum manually to work out all the flourishes – fills, crashes and toms – to get a feel for the energy. Once I do that I can bundle it up into a song that feels intuitive, emotional and physical.
What are your thoughts on collaboration in music and in the projects you’re involved in or the projects you run?
It’s great if you can do it – I don’t get the chance to enough. My collaborations are with machines, so it’s a little too much about getting it perfect. It doesn’t leave much room for spontaneity – and that’s a skill I wish I could learn. I’ve enjoyed that in TransPixies or Ana Nicole – but still it had to sound a particular way and I need to unlearn that one day. My EP ‘Triumph’ is my first really collaborative project – the music is about friendship and community to me more than anything. Working with Aérea Negrot and Various Asses - both producers whose perspectives on percussion and drums in electronic music excited me.
Who are you listening to/whose music are you enjoying right now?
The new Zola Jesus record ‘Okovi’ is amazing – huge dark drums and percussion with vocals. Loving the new Banoffee single ‘Ripe’ a track she produced with SOPHIE. Black Cab’s Akira soundtrack is amazing – I did a show with them and Toshi Sakamoto on Taiko drums and it was so exciting.
Do you have any favourite drummers? Or other musicians who inspire you? why?
I’m inspired by all kinds of beatmakers who use kits and machines; I’m interested in hybrid drummers and their techniques; like - Jeff Mills or Raquel Solier (Aka Various Asses) are great – kit drummers who translate that skill for beat making with electronics. Stephen Morris of New Order and Joy Division, Sebastian Thompson from Trans Am. EBM and New Beat drummers are a really big influence. Bon Harris and Kourtney Klien’s live performances in Nitzer Ebb through the 2000s were a big influence to get my set up together. The brute force and minimalism of Robert Görl in DAF and countless Neue Deutsche Welle bands; like Hard Corps or Xmal Deutschland. I’m really inspired by techno and house producers like Derrick Carter, Rrose and Paula Temple – sequenced arrangements of drums, with production values embedded into the composition and how that informs dance and body movement open up new ideas for my own work.
How would you describe the kind of music or projects you’re mostly involved in? And/or what kind of unique perspective/sound do you bring to these gigs?
I hope I bring a performative and visceral experience to electronic drumming. Percussion and vocals are really critical ways to interact with the audience; dancing and singing are so central to live music experience and my shows put that exchange at the centre. As a solo artist; I’m trying to create as many sound as I can and bring variety to the personality and mood. It’s a portable rave, lasers and a smoke machine augment that experience and provide an aural texture to the cold emotion of the music. I hope people feel somewhat transported.
Do you have a particular warm up or practice routine? Or favourite exercises?
I don’t have a physical routine as such; except vocal exercises. Drumming, breathing and singing is really difficult. I need to have that sorted out – otherwise the anxiety and physicality take over and it’s a train wreck. My kit is freestanding so I’m dancing and drumming – it’s very athletic and emotional. I just tape my fingers to prevent open wounds – I’m pretty emotional up there and I take it out on those pads.
Does social media play a big part in how you promote yourself as an artist and your various projects? Do you promote your work in other ways?
Social media, radio and playing live are the best ways to promote – and you need a good balance of all. Social media has become an extension of my creative practice in a graphic and video sense – but also the direct way to communicate with my audience for releases.
Do you make a living from music? What different types of work does this comprise?
Not really. I’m studying my Ph.D. in architecture and lecture and DJ so that scrapes a bit of money to break even.
Where’s the coolest place that music has taken you?
An Australian tour, DJing at a sold-out club in New York City, and an architecture conference in Stockholm – it’s about thinking outside the square that will get you to unexpected places. I played at Casula Powerhouse in the main turbine hall for Soft Centre festival last week with a couple of dancers – Beau Kirq and Adonis - and 70 lasers. It was a great intervention into industrial space - I love how architectural space and music can inform each other with the event of performance and dance.
If you could give your younger drumming self some advice what would it be?
Learn the basics – do those paradiddles. I wish I knew the subtleties of percussive energy. Look after your back and stomach muscles – work out that core and keep a strong back – it helps carrying the shit around too. Wear earplugs – tinnitus is really fucked, but hey – when you have it – you gotta look after it and treat it like an old friend – otherwise it will drive you nuts. Like; this music stuff is really physical.