PLAYdifferently MODEL 1 ambassador Fabio Florido joins the Kuukou family bringing his unique flair that has captivated crowds around the world and has graced labels such as Richie Hawtin’s Minus and Plus8, among others.
“Bound: kicks off with a rumbling bassline, accented by bulky drums that take center stage. The track glides between percussive and melodic sections with ease, keeping spirits high throughout the changes.
Label head Simina Grigoriu offers an acid-heavy rendition of the track, building a steady lead through compelling pads and tension-ridden sequences.
On a lighter, yet still dancefloor-ready note, “Twilight” perches along atypical sound bites reminiscent of a tropical aviary on a backdrop of concrete-heavy kick drums and a topsy-turvy bassline.
To celebrate the release, we have asked Fabio and Simina to do a different kind of interview than usual. Instead of us asking them questions, we had them interview one another. Here is what they had to say:
Something I was meant to ask you from a long time, what is the meaning of the name you chose for the label Kuukou?
Kuukou means “airport” in Japanese. When I travelled to Japan the first time, I felt like I could live there my entire life. I kept hearing the word “Kuukou” (pronounced Kuu-kwo in Japanese) over the intercom at the airport and it sounded cute and funny. I kept it in mind. It was not until four years later that I decided to found my label and then this word popped up in my mind.
As a self-proclaimed aviation junkie, I love to fly. I love planes and machines and airports and I’m obsessed with the hustle and bustle of what it means to run an airport – especially a hub. I’ve been traveling my entire life, back and forth from Toronto to Bucharest for the summer as a kid, and it shaped me. I became independent at a young age and I realised that this was, in no small part, due to my extensive traveling as a child and young adult.
It only seemed fitting to intertwine my love of aviation and music. It seems to have become somewhat of a theme for us because as DJs we are always traveling. An airport can make or break your trip, especially if you get stuck in one for a long time. So yeah, Kuukou!
How did you find the production of your (bomb) remix to my “Bound” track?
I started out with the initial idea of making it darker and harder. My style has progressed to this darker, more straight forward techno over the last few years so this just made sense. I love to work with samples—I am in no way a “purist” and so working on remixes is actually a lot more fun for me than conceptualizing a track from start to finish. I work in Ableton (easier as I’ve been using this program for 12 years) and I have learned to let the original track shine through. I have produced many remixes where my interpretation went haywire and sounded like a completely different track. I don’t think I did that this time. It’s all about complementing the original.
What are the next projects in store for your label? Any label parties on the horizon?
Kuukou has A LOT in the pipeline. We are releasing every six weeks and are constantly looking for interesting artists with which to collaborate and bring into our team – it’s why we’re so happy to have YOU on board!
As for events, we have a huge one coming up! Our annual label showcase will be taking place this Friday 23 August at Polygon in Berlin. Line-up includes Thomas Lizzara, Alfred Heinrichs, Red pig Flower, BB Deng, Zusan and, my favourite artist (who is also my sound engineer), my brother Moe Danger! I’m beyond stoked for this show and preparations are well underway!
We shared very special moments and also moments of hard personal research together, you want to tell me one that comes to mind?
Of course! I am an open book. The last year-and-a-half has been like an internal revolution for me. After partaking in my first Ayahuasca retreat in April 2018, I’ve since drunk the medicine 11 times and I came home a new person. The hard part was still ahead of me, that was for sure. Without immersing you lovely readers too deep in my personal journey, I can honestly say that I have improved as an individual, as a mother, as a wife and with respect to my music. I’ve become calmer, more compassionate and definitely more patient with those around me but also with myself. This has helped me to focus in every aspect of my life. I have a TON more to say on this but for now, I’ll just leave you with this: positive change in any area of life will positively correlate to equal positive change in many other areas. By focusing on myself as a human, I grew deeper as an artist.
You’re an amazingly strong and sensitive woman. Being a mother, wife, DJ, Label owner and producer can be challenging. How do you keep it all together?
I choose my gigs carefully and I only work when Isabella is in kindergarten, never during evenings at home unless absolutely necessary. I don’t usually go out at night and I’m really only away one or maybe two days a week on tour at which point she’s either with Paul at home on off weekends or with Grandma and Grandpa, in which case she doesn’t even realise I’m gone! Ha! We also have a fabulous nanny. I am forever in debt to her. It’s about creating a supportive family structure where the child feels safe, but also understands that Mommy and Daddy need to go to work. As she gets older, it gets harder to leave the house. Lots of tears but they do subside quite quickly. The mom guilt is still there, though.
As a family, we are always together. One thing we can never get back is time so I make the most of RIGHT NOW cause Izzy will never be as young as she was yesterday. It’s important to cultivate as best a home life as possible; quality time and routine are very important, especially at a young age. We want Isabella to have a very happy and regular childhood and she is and will always be our first priority.
Where did you find inspiration for your ‘Twilight’ EP?
I recorded this EP at a very special time. After a year’s start full of ups and downs, finally things took the direction they were supposed to take, I changed agency and started working with new management. These were among the first tracks made with a new spirit and a sense of general positivity among the new members of my team. We wanted something groovy and just right for a release in the middle of summer. It is also worth mentioning that in April I participated at my annual “spiritual retreat”, which certainly influenced my mind and ideas. So, I just sat there and made the music without even thinking. It very organic and natural. Perhaps if I was using more the “thinking” part of the mind I would have made something more obscure and techno, since that’s more what I play during my DJ sets. But this time I just let it flow as it had to!
Is twilight your favourite time of day, whether it be after a party or just after waking up?
It’s without a doubt the moment I love most in a day. A few years ago I would have said after a party, coming home or towards an after-party, semi-darkness or half-light (depending on your point of view) … a mystical moment. It’s equally stunning after waking up, but you know that the day is coming along with all its responsibilities (sometimes)! As the years progressed though, I became more of a lover of the twilight after sunset. There is an even more intense ambiguity, the day is just over and you enter the darkness, perhaps a deeper part of yourself where you can let go and be free.
Where was the most beautiful twilight you’ve ever seen?
It’s hard to find one favorite, since for me it’s like an addiction. I take time out to enjoy that moment every day, not to mention when I’m on vacation! I find that in the Asian continent there is something even more wonderful, perhaps because of the humidity or the vastness of the horizon, I was able to witness some orchestras of colours that have left me breathless, especially in Laos and Cambodia. Here in Europe there was once in particular, just finished the spiritual retreat on the mountains in Spain, where the sky went hand in hand with my emotions. After an intense rainy day, Mother Nature gave us a show from Hollywood, when the sky opened. Hard to describe with words!
The name ‘Bound’ is interesting. How did you come up with this name and how does it relate to the track?
Here is the translation from Wikipedia: “walk or run with leaping strides” or “a leaping movement towards or over something”. As you can imagine it’s me doing that hehe. In a nutshell, it’s me who, with a giant leap, climbs over a part of my life in which I thought I was aligned but I was probably wrong. Without regrets eh, everything always serves to take us somewhere else. It’s a 132bpm track that brings with it a groove to intriguing moments, others more energetic and others even deeper with the arrival of the pad. All this with a note of energetic positivity but at the same time, under the rows and for those who want to listen, melancholy. Exactly my mood at that moment!
What’s next up this weekend? Playing anywhere special?
I will be back to Italy playing at one of the most famous club still alive in my country: Il Muretto in Venezia. I’m playing with Richie Hawtin and I literally can’t wait already! Then, I will spend a few days with my family in Florence, exciting times ahead!