There’s a building in Potts Point that’s got the feel of an old boarding house: grand proportions with high ceilings, and several rooms that branch off from a wide central corridor. Through the back door is an atrium filled with plants and the rooftop has a swimming pool with views to the city. 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 shared hardware: 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 being 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 like 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.” It 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 take place 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.”