Enmore Audio

How Made in Paris used gym sounds to make ambient techno magic

Ever worked out and had a soundtrack going in your mind? Made in Paris transformed the energy of the gym into a dark techno banger. Let’s discover how.

Made in Paris is an artist that takes her fitness regime seriously. Giving her an avenue to burn off excess energy, it’s vital for maintaining the creative flow in the studio. So when she was tapped to produce her own Sydney Sounds pack, the choice of venue was obvious.

The gym — with its treadmill bleeps, rowing machine whirrs, and dumbbell clanks offers up a cornucopia of sonic material. So let’s dive into this mega pack and discover how it came together.

Made in Paris

Getting physical

If you’re not into exercise, the gym doesn’t really present much in the way of excitement. If you put on the musician/producer/audio nerd hat, however, the possibilities are endless. By default, gyms are usually well-carpeted environments, with lots of thick matting on top. Therefore, you’ve already got an acoustic environment that’s friendly to recording.

Secondly: the gear! There’s so much available at your fingertips, with a range of interesting sonic possibilities. Metallic clinks and clanks can easily be sampled and melodically pitched. Yoga balls can be bounced around to create unheard-of resonances. The slowly rising pitch of an accelerating treadmill is perfect for a classic EDM riser.

Spaced out

The Made in Paris sound tends toward the darker and ambient side of deep house and techno. Therefore, ambience in the form of delays and reverbs is in high demand in her sessions. That’s not to say that they’re applied too liberally. Just like the nature of her gym-based banger, less is more.

Take the ‘Machine Beep’ channel for example. Taken from the treadmill, it makes a sweet, short-envelope lead synth, with just enough reverb to fill in the gaps. Or the ‘PERC FILLS’ drum rack, which has a tasteful ping pong delay setting from the Echo plugin. Or the ‘FX’ channel, which has shimmering Chorus and Auto Pan to lend the sound movement and modulation.

Echo
Made in Paris uses carefully controlled delays to create width and movement.

Hardcore

Combining these ethereal sounds with ambient and modulated effects — and astute high-pass filtering — makes for a spacious listening experience. Make no mistake though, at the core of the track is a thumping techno heartbeat.

Special attention must be paid to the ‘DRUM KIT’ channel. It’s a simple drum rack with just three sounds, but is testament to Made in Paris’ ability to get maximum bang for buck from the sound of the gym. Firstly a woodblock-like ‘plock’ gives the front of the kick drum cut through. Underneath that, a carefully sculpted ‘traditional’ kick adds to the heft of the track’s pulse. While a modulated, metallic, syncopated backbeat easily gives you enough momentum to push you through your whole workout.

EQ
Liberal EQ treatment is required to transform the raw samples into drum tones.

In this expertly crafted blend of thumping bass and atmospheric top-end textures, there’s plenty of space to add your own personality. The meticulously organised set is very ‘Push-friendly’ — meaning that if you have an Ableton Push, or any other MIDI controller that can launch clips within Live — there’s a lot of scope for experimenting with looped clips and drum racks.

Overall, this instalment in the Sydney Sounds series is a homage to rhythm and space. To create slingshot propulsion into the next section, Made in Paris expertly subtracts busier rhythmic elements, then drops into the next section with more momentum. With the palette of sounds offered up by this unique environment — and an innate ability to get people moving — Made in Paris has made a Sydney Sounds pack that’ll give your in-the-box creativity one heck of a workout.

Download the Made in Paris Sydney Sounds pack.