Lakeshore Records has released the soundtrack to Underplayed, the critically acclaimed documentary featuring original music by DJ, music producer, and London Electronic Orchestra leader Kate Simko (We Believe in Dinosaurs, 20 weeks). The album is available now digitally on all major digital music services such as Amazon Music! See album listening links below.
The documentary directed by Stacey Lee makes its stateside streaming debut March 8 on Amazon Prime Video as part of their International Women’s Day events. A Twitch live stream on Amazon Music’s Twitch Channel will take place at 6PM PST to celebrate the film’s streaming launch.
Soundtrack Available Now: [Downnload/Listen]
02. Rising and Falling
03. The World Buzzing
04. Lonely at the Top
05. Rare Birds
06. Ahead of Her Time
07. Level Up
08. Second Guessed
09. Wild Thoughts
10. Calm Before the Storm
11. Building the Fantasy
13. High Highs Low Lows
15. The Other Side
16. One Day at a Time
17. Rare Birds (Reprise)
18. Making Ground
19. Our Own Voice
20. Her Likeness (Extended Mix)
Kate Simko, since the age of 18 growing up in Chicago, has been resolutely dedicated to her music endeavors whether as an electronic musician, composer, producer or as internationally touring DJ. For the documentary film Underplayed, her wide-ranging electronic compositions—from lushly ambient, to classic Detroit-style techno—weave together the story of the female producers carving their place in the electronic music industry.
The film directed by Stacey Lee follows top DJ’s Rezz, Alison Wonderland, Tokimonsta, NERVO, Tygapaw and more as they share their struggles and successes in electronic dance music. The film will be available on the Amazon Music Mobile App and Amazon Prime Video on Monday, March 8—International Women’s Day.
“Underground dance culture was created as a safe space for everyone- regardless of ethnic background, economic standing, gender, and sexual preference. Yet there have always been very few female DJ’s, and the handful that make it to the top are often scrutinized and held to different standards than men. This is something I witnessed coming up in the Chicago scene, so it was really an honor and a full circle moment for me to score Underplayed.”
Simko’s elegant yet bold score seamlessly weaves in-and-out of diverse sub-genres of electronic music, with gritty textures, emotive melodies, and classic-style analog bass bubbling beneath the storyline of the film. From vintage New-style York disco beats to lush morphing synth soundscapes, the score reflects Simko’s experience as an ardent vinyl record collector and international DJ.
An official selection of the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival, Underplayed presents a portrait of the current status of the gender, ethnic, and sexual equality issues through the lens of the female pioneers, next-generation artists, and industry leaders who are championing a more diverse pool of role models for future generations. Electronic music was born from the ideals of diversity, community, and inclusivity; yet in 2019, women made up only 7% of Billboard’s Top 100 DJs and less than 3% of production and technical roles in the music industry. Ultimately, the film explores how gender disparity happens, a theme that transcends music and finds relevance in many of today’s industries.
“Director Stacey Lee tastefully pieces together the history of women carving a place in the music industry, which is not an easy feat. We get a behind-the-scenes look at the incredible raw talent, relentless hard work, and self-belief it took for 5 female DJs to achieve their dreams in an industry where 95% of the participants are men.”
ABOUT KATE SIMKO
American composer, electronic music producer, and leader of her ensemble London Electronic Orchestra, Kate Simko blends distinctive influences from her hometown, Chicago, and formal training in classical piano and jazz.
Kate’s career started in Los Angeles interning on feature films, and then took a surprise turn as her live electronic music and DJ career took off. She spent her twenties performing at revered clubs and festivals across the globe, from underground venues in Berlin and Tokyo to the Montreal Jazz Festival and Millennium Park in Chicago. A prolific producer, her back catalogue includes three albums, numerous EPs, film soundtracks and original classical compositions. Notable releases include her remix of Philip Glass’s Houston Skyline reaching the Billboard Top 100 Classical Chart and her house track ‘Go On Then’ ending 2011 in the Beatport Top 10 Deep House chart.
Refocusing on her passion for film composition, Kate moved to London, where she completed a Masters in Composition for Screen at the Royal College of Music in 2014. While at the RCM she conceived her innovative classical-electronic ensemble, the all-female London Electronic Orchestra. Kate & LEO have performed at venues and festivals worldwide, including the Royal Albert Hall, the National Gallery, iTunes festival, Bestival, MIDEM in Cannes, Le Poisson Rouge in New York and Wonderfruit in Thailand, among others.
The ensemble’s self-titled album Kate Simko & London Electronic Orchestra was released via The Vinyl Factory in 2016 to critical acclaim. In 2018, Kate teamed up with superstar electronic music producer and DJ Jamie Jones and sold out the Barbican Centre with their ‘Opus 1’ concert featuring a 28-piece LEO ensemble. The following year she orchestrated a concert for techno pioneer Carl Craig and the 70-piece Chineke! Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall, and is now Craig’s lead arranger, working with the orchestras at all of his live classical-electronic shows.
Distinguished by classic evolving synths, spatial depth, and warm electronics blended with live orchestral instruments, Kate’s music to picture has accompanied various feature films, including 20 Weeks, The Atom Smashers (PBS Independent Lens), Banana Land: Blood, Bullets & Poison, BBC China, Sacred Journeys (PBS), and We Believe In Dinosaurs (PBS Independent Lens), which was released on Lakeshore Records in 2019. In Autumn 2020 Kate joined the faculty of her alma mater, the Royal College of Music, as a professor of Composition for Screen.
Check out this fantastic interview with the film’s director, Stacey Lee over at Billboard.