Interview: Sara Simms

Best known for her techno sets and production skills, Sara Simms is a multi-instrumentalist with a passion for music technology. As a DJ, she’s played sets for Allen and Heath’s live broadcast at ADE and Miami Music Week, at Charivari Detroit, and at Techno Taco Tuesday for MNTRA in Las Vegas. Sara has founded her own label, Simmetry Sounds to release original work and collaborations. The reason for our interview is her brand new single ‘Bronx’ you can check HERE.

Hello! Thanks for your time! How would you introduce yourself to our audience?

How does your creative process start?

When I make a track, I start with the kick drum. I layer my kick with another kick or tom sound and EQ it, instead of compressing it. The kick I choose determines the key I work in. From there, I’ll create the sub-bass, separate it from the kick using Cableguys Volume Shaper and start to build out percussion using the Roland TR-09. I usually have an idea for the ‘melodic’ theme in the track (in techno this is usually only a few notes!) and I’ll create the melodies using my synths. I love the sound of the the Roland TB-303 and will try to find a way to work in a bass line or at least one part that’s created with it. Once I have a loop that I like, the next step is arrangement and focusing on sound design.

Reason for this interview is your new single ‘Bronx’. What can you tell us the idea behind it?

Bronx was inspired by the subways in New York. My friend John La Magna and I wrote the track together and started off by finding samples of subway trains in the Bronx. There are a few of those original samples in the track if you listen closely. The vision for the track was to combine together organic and electronic elements into a techno track. We recorded guitar and my Dad playing trumpet, and mixed these elements together with a deep bass line and melodies composed on the TB-303. The vocal, “I’m out of control” was one of the last layers added. The line is open to interpretation but may reflect how a lot of people feel in 2020.

Tell us something more about Simmetry Sounds imprint.

Simmetry Sounds is my label and Bronx is the eighth release on it. All of the releases to date have been my work or collaborations, but I plan to open up the label to other artists in the near future. Earlier this year, Simmetry Sounds released my track ‘Finally’ ft. JEI, a Miami based vocalist. Bronx was the second release in 2020 and the reaction from the music community has been positive.

How would you describe the current situation on the global electronic scene?

I think I’m safe to say that the electronic scene has seen better days. Its a challenging time for everyone involved in the industry. I have seen many artists adapt to the times and create video projects, productions, podcasts, courses and workshops. It’s my hope for the future that we will see the festivals and clubs re-open and return to a state of liveliness.

How would you describe your sound?

I’m working on developing my own interpretation of techno. It’s characterized by big kicks and influenced by 90’s techno and old school rave sounds.

What’s your opinion on the current live streaming trend among DJs?

I think live streaming is a good outlet for DJs, it gives them the ability to share their music and practice their performance and skills. Audiences still need to hear music and want to see their favorite artists perform. Its not at all the same as playing live, but music still needs to continue being played and heard.

What is underground to you?

To me, underground is music that the mainstream isn’t aware of.  Its music that you aren’t going to hear on the big radio stations, but you might find it in a small bar or club, or on a cool playlist these days. Underground music is art that’s released without the big budgets of a major label behind it. Its put out by independent artists and labels who have the will to create something new.

Do you believe that an artist has to be both producer and a DJ?

No, not necessarily but I do recognize that in order to become globally successful, artists need to have a catalogue of music and be able to perform live or as a DJ. I see production and DJing as two different art forms. It takes time to develop the skills to excel in either discipline and when you focus on either DJing or production you sacrifice time in the other area.  It takes a special type of artist to become proficient at both.  If you’re good at either DJng or production, this is an accomplishment in itself. If you’re talented in both areas, this is impressive!

We recently had a chance to hear your guest mix for NUDE. What are your top 5 techno tracks at the moment?

KUSP – Be In the Moment (Rudosa Remix) (Clepsydra)
Charlotte de Witte – There’s No One Left to Trust (KNTXT)
Stoked – Hiigaran (Steve Mulder Remix) (Minitech Recordings)
Tyler Rouse – Baker (InDeep’n’Dance Records)
Human Resource – Dominator (Rebūke Rave Remix) (Armada Music)

Check out Sara’s latest chart HERE.

I’m always working on new projects, however, I can’t share too many details at the moment. Keep an eye on my social media to find out about my new music!


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