sim0ne wants to make you sweat

The Edinburgh DJ/producer is all about hardcore beats and big, Eurotrash sounds. If it’s good enough for Lana Del Rey...

When DJ and producer sim0ne, 30, was growing up in Edinburgh, her entire life existed within a 100-metre radius: the hospital she was born in, the school she went to, even the university she attended. It was comfortable and convenient, sure, but by the time she turned 20, boredom had set in.

After I finished uni I was like, OK, enough, it’s time to go!’” she says, Zooming in from her cosy flat in East London, a cap embroidered with Hollywood spat me out” pulled firmly over her head. And so sim0ne (real name: Simone Murphy) moved to the big city to pursue modelling – even placing fifth in cycle 11 of Britain’s Next Top Model in 2017 – before the pandemic shifted her perspective.

I wasn’t finding modelling very fulfilling,” she says. I felt like I’d reached the level I was going to get to. I also have that mental illness known as dating a lot of musicians, so I taught myself how to DJ and have been very fortunate ever since.” Still, sim0ne’s interest in electronic music wasn’t born in a vacuum: she’d previously been involved in Scotland’s club scene, between doing seasons in Ibiza, absorbing the heady atmosphere of Space and DC-10.

Now, she’s not only nailing it as a DJ but also a rising producer in her own right. Her big break came last year, when, unexpectedly, Lana Del Rey officially released her remix of Say Yes to Heaven. That was so bizarre,” sim0ne says. I was too scared to put anything that I’d made out at first, so I was like, I’ll just do a fun edit. I was listening to Lana’s old Tumblr demos, which had no drums under them, so the remix worked really well.”

Later that year, she dropped an edit of HorsegiirL and MCR‑T’s underground hit My Barn My Rules, followed by Halo, a bonafide Eurotrash earworm. Last week, sim0ne released her first solo single, Work It, a braggadocious club anthem with enough attitude to blow your speakers out. Inspired by hardcore, breakbeat and techno sounds, she wanted to merge genres that wouldn’t traditionally go together. The result is pure adrenaline.

What’s next? Right now sim0ne is busy prepping for a gig at Fabric next week, alongside DBBD and Miss Bashful, the patron saints of playful, sexy electronic music, and fellow Scottish DJ La La. Together with the likes of HorsegiirL, these acts are ushering in a new, less self-serious era for the electronic music scene.

Why are you not dancing in the club?” sim0ne asks incredulously. I want everything to be fun, for the girls and the gays to be front row, and for everyone to enjoy themselves.”


What kinds of emotions and experiences influence your work?

I love pairing melancholic lyrics with happy beats, like a crying-in-the-club situation. I like anything that’s very euphoric – I think a lot of my work is a study in euphoria. I gravitate towards sounds that will tug at your heartstrings. I find myself getting quite emotional listening to dance music. At festivals I get overwhelmed with how full I feel, just being in a space of community.


Is there a piece of advice that changed your life?

The worst [thing] someone can say to you is no. I used to be quite paralysed by anxiety, but then I started pushing myself to learn new things and put myself out there. The worst that can happen is that things go slightly wrong, then you recover and move on. It’s never as bad as the anxiety makes it seem.


If you were cooking to impress someone, what would you make?

I think I’m quite a good cook – I like curries and pan-Asian food. Gnocchi is quite a good one, I feel like that’s a real crowd-pleaser. There’s not anyone that doesn’t like potatoes and pasta, surely.


What’s a bad habit you wish you could kick?

I’m an overthinker. I can get very hung up on small details and end up making problems for myself. When I’m playing these big clubs, I’m so excited to do it, but then I also put so much pressure on myself [when] I should just be enjoying it and thinking about how cool the opportunity is. Also, smoking. I need to stop doing that.


If you ruled the world for a day, what would go down?

Mandatory music festivals and free bubble tea!


Do you have a trick for getting out of a boring conversation at a party?

That’s normally when I’ll be like, I just have to go smoke!” I go to most parties with my best friend and we’ve sort of got a little double act. We’ve got a bunch of anecdotes – if a boring conversation comes along, we just put on the razzle-dazzle. Maybe sometimes I’m the boring person.


Love, like, hate?

I love clubbing, I like travelling and I hate airports.


Favourite song of all time?

I really like this track by Basement Jaxx, Raindrops. It’s quite an emotional, euphoric one for me.


Do you remember the last lie that you told?

I went to get my nails done and I did not ask for these pink bits at the end. They asked if I liked it and I was like, Yeah, they’re perfect! Here’s a tip, thank you.” And I walked out hating them. Although they’ve grown on me now…


What do you think artists can do to help save the world?

I think it’s good for artists to lead by example. We’re living in quite an interesting point of society where, obviously, everything is so online, but people are starting to see public figures as more human. Doja Cat and that whole backlash she was getting for asking people to not be so parasocial with her was really interesting. If artists can be more authentic and make the art they want to make, they can hopefully inspire people rather than push nothingness out.

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