Artist Interview: Sara Simms

Nov 3., 2023

| Sara Simms | zplane

Meet Sara Simms, a multi-instrumentalist celebrated for her DJ sets and production skills. With a deep passion for music technology, Sara has made waves in the music scene, gracing prestigious stages such as Amsterdam Dance Event, Miami Music Week, Electric Island, and more. Her dynamic sets have seen her share stages with industry names like Carl Craig, Victor Ruiz, Simina Grigoriu, Sydney Blu and more. Holding a degree in audio engineering, Sara’s dedication to music has brought her into collaboration with renowned brands across various industries. In this interview, we delve into Sara’s musical journey, her creative workflow, and her passion for our plugins.

– Hello Sara, thank you for joining us. Your journey through the music industry has been diverse, ranging from DJ battles to collaborations with major brands. Can you share with us how you managed such a dynamic path and what motivated you to explore these different avenues?

When I started DJing, it was more of a hobby for me, and my interest in turntablism motivated me to compete in a few DJ battles. When I started mixing and playing DJ sets, companies started to reach out to me to ask me to play for their events. I began organizing my own shows and projects and was able to work together with many legendary brands in a variety of capacities, from sponsorships to workshops to digitally marketing their products.

– Hosting your own events is a good tip for DJs! You have a background as a multi-instrumentalist and a degree in audio engineering, How has this expertise influenced your approach to both DJing and production?

My background as a guitarist has certainly influenced my approach to music production and DJing. When I DJ, I use the key of each track to mix harmonically. When I’m producing, I can use my musical knowledge to help to create chords and melodies, and I EQ elements using the fundamental frequencies of each instrument. I like to incorporate my guitar playing into my tracks.

– You’ve had the privilege of performing at renowned events and venues worldwide. Adapting your performances to different crowds and atmospheres while staying true to your artistic identity must be challenging. Could you shed some light on how you navigate this balance?

I take time to prepare my sets for the venue and event I’m performing at. The type of set I’ll play at a festival is different from a small or midsize club. When I’m playing, I read the crowd to see how they’re enjoying themselves and bring a lot of music!

– Preparing a lot of music is always key! Can you share your experiences or lessons from sharing the stage with musicians like Carl Craig, Simina Grigoriu, Victor Ruiz, etc?

When you’re opening up for another artist at a show, it’s important not to overstep. When I’m playing before a headlining DJ, I do my best to warm up the crowd and get them hyped up, without playing tracks that the headliner might like to include in their sets. When I performed with Simina Grigoriu, she invited me on stage with her at Ushuaïa when she played ‘Regenerate’, a track I created with fellow Canadian producer Adam James. It was pretty cool to be up there on stage with her as it was totally unexpected! I think the lesson from her was to go with the flow as you never know what will happen next.

– Really cool work on your latest single, Regenerate. Running your own record label, Simmetry Sounds, is a significant accomplishment. Could you elaborate on your vision for the label and how it aligns with your artistic values?

I started Simmetry Sounds to release my own tracks and collaborations. As time went on, I began to meet more young producers who were writing good techno, tech house and house they wanted to release with my label. My vision for Simmetry Sounds is to create a platform for electronic music producers to release their music, and to promote their releases. The artists on the label stem from personal connections, and many are Canadian. I know it can be challenging to get a good label to sign your tracks, and I’d like to be supportive to my community through my work with Simmetry Sounds.

– Lift while you grow, thanks Sara. Over time, the role of women in the electronic music industry has evolved. As a female artist, have you encountered challenges, and how do you see the industry progressing in terms of inclusivity and diversity?

I think that the number of female DJs and electronic music producers has increased rapidly in the past decade, and we’ll continue to see more females in both performance and studio roles in the future. The biggest challenge for me as a female artist has always been transporting heavy equipment, and getting it home late at night!

There are a lot of female oriented DJ organizations which are great to see. However, it’s important to remember that females and males need to work together and collaborate. I hope we can all try our best to create a future that has a place for everyone with equal opportunities and compensation.

– I can’t agree more. Moving on, let’s delve into your journey with us and our plugins. How were you introduced to our plugins?

I first heard about zplane Elastique Pitch V2 a few years ago, I think I may have watched a YouTube video about it. I was inspired to begin using it in my productions to create pitch stretching effects.

– Among our collection of plugins, do you have a favorite? We’d love to hear how it has made a difference in your workflow. Could you share a use case?

My favourite plugin by zplane is Elastique Pitch V2. I love to use it for pitch shifting on vocals. Sometimes I link the pitch and timbre together and other times will adjust the parameters separately. I’m also considering using Elastique Pitch V2 to modulate the pitch of rolling bass lines and synths.

– I can’t wait to hear how that turns out! The quality and reliability of plugins are undoubtedly crucial. How much do you value having access to plugins that consistently meet these standards?

It’s great that I’m able to use Elastique Pitch V2 to pitch-shift audio without any artefacts. It’s an infinitely valuable tool in my workflow that I rely on for creative work.

– Thanks for your kind words! Looking forward, what are some personal and professional milestones you aspire to achieve in the next phase of your career?

Well, I can’t say too much at the moment! I’m looking forward to creating more music, and playing at big festivals and events in Europe, the US and beyond. 🙂

Thank you, Sara, for sharing your incredible journey and insights into the dynamic world of the music industry. For more updates and to follow Sara’s journey, you can connect with her on social media: Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Spotify and TikTok.