Romanian-born, Toronto-bred Simina Grigoriu has been steadily racking up a plethora of accolades during her esteemed decade-long career and now stands as one of the most influential talents on the European circuit. Starting her musical journey as a DJ, she made the transition to producer and subsequently went on to found one of the most successful labels in the scene, Kuukou Records, which now serves as a rite of passage for many-a-burgeoning artist.
Simina’s musical roots stem deep in her childhood from when she studied classical violin and keyboard. Coupled with her parents’ musical legacy and her passion for hip hop freestyling as a teen, her output encapsulates the foundations of her style. Garnering on the exposure of Toronto’s clubs, where growing up, the likes of Jeff Mills, Josh Wink and Juan Atkins struck a chord, Simina’s style grew and developed constantly into the straightforward and uplifting techno she fronts today. Now a resident of Berlin, Simina enjoys the endless sources of inspiration associated with the clubbing capital of the world; a source as diverse as her influences.
Her first productions came to light on the Berlin label Sonat Records in 2010 with the huge Mukluks & Ponytails EP, followed by releases with Phase Insane Records in Spain, Italy’s Intelectro Vibe, Urban Sound and Frequenza Records. A debut album was sure to follow, as Exit City became one of Susumu Records’ highest chart toppers. After a yearlong break, where she focused her efforts on motherhood while keeping an active studio schedule, Simina christened Kuukou Records in July 2016 with its inaugural EP, Techno Monkey. Shortly after, she doled out Matching Numbers on POPOF’s FORM, an immediate hit EP complete with a smashing remix by Julian Jeweil. Subsequent to these formative opuses, Simina became a firm favourite on some of the most notable labels in the techno world, with critically acclaimed, internationallylauded releases on the likes of ELEVATE, Octopus Recordings, Tronic Music, Set About, Prospect Records and Complexed Records to name just a few.
But it was perhaps her 2023 discography that solidified Simina’s place within the upper echelons of the genre. Following a stream of chartered releases for Kaligo Records, Rave The Planet, OFF Recordings and her own Kuukou, Grigoriu made her grand debut on We Are The Brave with the double-sided Mental Warfare / Feed The Machine. The two-tracker received heavy support from many of the industry’s leading names, including label boss Alan Fitzpatrick, who welcomes her back for another release in 2024. Rounding out the year with her biggest career highlight to date, the Mixmag cover star joined Adam Beyer’s iconic Drumcode Records with her maiden single ‘Flight Tracker’; a stand-out cut on the imprint’s A-Sides Vol. 12 Compilation.
Finding equal comfort in the studio and behind the decks, Simina has wowed huge crowds at major festivals and nightclubs the world over, becoming a staple act for the likes of Deichbrand, BigCityBeats’ World Club Dome, Untold Festival, Love Parade and more recently, Ushuaia, Ibiza, to name a few. It is therefore no surprise that the techno chief named her label ‘Kuukou’ (Japanese for airport).
Since its inception in 2016 the authoritative Kuukou Records has gone from strength to strength, with a steady stream of hard-hitting releases from the likes of Hito, Torsten Kanzler, Gallya, Fabio Florido, Dusty Kid, BB Deng, Hollen, Drumcomplex, Alfred Heinrichs, Martin Books, Daniel Boon, Filterheadz and Lilly Palmer amongst others. An invaluable platform for both up-and-comers and established talents alike, the imprint was spotlighted in 2021 with the emphatic release of Techno Monkey Remixed; a three-part album initiative which brought Simina’s acclaimed original back to international airwaves under the new perspective of her cherry-picked producers.
One of the most dedicated and hard-working characters in the industry, it comes as no surprise that Simina has another cardinal year in store for 2024. Aside from her return to We Are The Brave, the mother of two looks ahead to further releases with her staple home OFF Recordings, as well as a collaboration with Sneaker Pimps’ Kelli Ali and yet more electrifying performances from one of techno’s most dynamic ladies.