There’s a building in Sydney's Potts Point with the feel of an old boarding house: grand proportions with high ceilings, several rooms that branch off from a wide central corridor. There’s an atrium filled with plants through the back door, and a swimming pool with views of the city on the rooftop. What might not be apparent at first is that this old building houses studios that are rented by a strong contingent of Sydney’s underground music scene. But the low rumble of basslines from behind closed doors might soon clue you in.
Paris Forscutt – who makes melodic techno music under the name Made in Paris – shares a studio here with Elizabeth Rose. In other parts of the house musicians including Kato and Motorik occupy studios. Forscutt and Elizabeth Rose’s space is full of hardware they share: analogue and digital synthesisers; keyboards; and an Ableton Push 2 – an instrument that segues with music production software Ableton Live, and can do just about anything, musically speaking: “It’s so powerful,” says Forscutt. She only moved in three months ago, but knew that – with two EPs under her belt and a newly minted record label, Upon Access – it was time to get serious.
“I was pretty much a bedroom producer,” she says, “which is how everyone starts out, I think, but it was time for me to move on from that and start focusing. I was finding at home I couldn’t concentrate as much. In the back of my mind I knew there was housework to do … I felt like I need to be doing the washing, you know?” She laughs. “It’s so much better just getting away from everything.”
Forscutt describes her music as dark – incongruously so for someone with a sunny disposition such as hers. “I was 15 or 16 when I first started taking an interest in DJing, and while scoping out electronic music I came across this dark type of techno and loved it. It wasn’t very fashionable back then in Australia, but I downloaded Ableton and started making music. And everything I made was just dark!” Friends in Wollongong couldn’t understand where the music was coming from she says, but that’s what she was instinctively drawn to and how – even if she tried otherwise – her music would always pan out.
“I just kept making it, it became more popular, and I moved to Sydney,” she continues. She happily recalls discovering melodic techno through parties and clubs such as Spice Cellar, “and that’s where I just fell in love” she says. “There had been something missing and when I started listening to this melodic stuff, it had more soul to it, it hit me more. That’s when I started producing that kind of sound, which I did on the Dancing in the Dark EP.”
Since then Forscutt has released a second EP, You’re Wrong, on her own label and is working on a third. At the end of the month she’ll appear at the Electronic Music Conference, and in December she’ll play the inaugural Tell No Tales festival in Sydney and Melbourne: “the first festival of the summer for underground music”, she says. “It’s going to be so exciting, that line-up is just crazy.” In includes Ricardo Villalobos from Chile via Berlin (dubbed the godfather of minimal tech) and rising techno star Nastia from Ukraine. It heralds the start of a fine-looking season. “You’ve got Pitch Festival and Babylon [both in Victoria in March] and heaps more things coming,” says Forscutt. “I’ve never seen a summer this big with so many great underground artists.” The rest of the country has caught up with the girl who started making dark techno in her bedroom studio before it was fashionable.