Sophie Forrest: Bringing The Transenergy
One of Australia’s few transgender DJs and producers, Sophie Forrest is a champion of trans- representation across the dance community - celebrating equality, ambition and talent via her self-curated record label Body Positive Music and the regarded club night Transenergy. With the cherished party set to take over Club 77 for the closing night of Cubby Bears Clubby House on Sunday March 5, we took some time to get to know Sophie and the Transenergy ethos.
Tell us a little bit about your musical upbringing. What kind of music were you exposed to as a kid?
My mother played a lot of South African music and a lot of soul and pop music. I think it definitely had an impact on the music I gravitated towards later in my life. Growing up as the first generation with access to the internet really exposed me to a much wider range of music than I think a lot of people were able to hear before.
Do you recall your first ‘moment’ with electronic/beat based music? Was there an artist, song or event where things clicked for you?
I was already listening and producing dance music but mainly trance until I heard DJ Sprinkles’ album Midtown 120 Blues. That changed my whole direction in life and in music.
And what about DJing and making music – when did you realise that you wanted to be involved in the creative process and how did that manifest?
Back in the 2000s (feels funny to say that) it was still somewhat nerdy to write computer music. I was already playing instruments at the age of 15 and was also into gaming. One day at a LAN party a friend had Fruity Loops open - I realised you could write music that way and I have been doing it ever since. I only started DJing because I was running psytrance doofs and writing psytrance and people were asking me to play, so I sort of started out of necessity. I was never very interested in DJing.
Are there any Australian DJs, producers or parties that have inspired you along the way?
We have a lot of talent in Australia, but party wise House of Mince was a large influence when I played for them during my time in Sydney.
How and when did Transenergy first come to life and what’s the ethos of the party?
Transenergy sort of sprouted from two ideas. The first was to help spotlight and create stars in the trans and GNC community and the second was to have a space for trans/gnc/queer people that isn’t focused on pop music and drag queens.
I was reading an article about a trans party in Europe and the promoter was saying how it has a unique vibe that they found difficult to put into words. Is this an experience you can relate to?
Dance music has a black and trans history. A lot of this culture was created from these communities. I think what that article is touching on is authenticity and its importance in creating spaces.
For young dance music enthusiasts about to enter nightlife and the clubbing world for the first time, what makes the option of having a trans party so important?
I think representation counts. It is very hard to see yourself succeeding if you have no peers. A lot of my work revolves around getting trans artists on line ups.
Transenergy will be taking over 77 for World Pride closing night as part of the Cubby Bears Clubby House series. How did you decide to approach the lineup and what can we expect musically?
The Transenergy music policy is HARD because being trans is HARD. Expect a lot of electro, booty and pretty much anything else. I booked an entirely trans femme lineup with friends from Naarm and Eora. It’s a fam jam.
What’s coming up for you on the production and DJ front? Any exciting releases or gigs on the horizon?
I am sitting on about 4 EPs which are coming out very soon and lots of fun gigs! Best to follow me on instagram to keep up.
You’re hosting a dinner party and can invite any three people, alive or dead. Who are you
choosing and why?
This was a tough one as it's a decision between a heady party or a fun one! I am going to be super basic and invite my wife Steph, my bestie Ethan and Damu the fudgemunk.
Transenergy at Club 77 happening Sunday 5th March. Full event info and lineup can be found HERE