In the time since Foundry616 first opened its doors in 2013, the jazz club has fostered a significant number of burgeoning young Australian talent whilst also growing the reputation of the club within the scene to the point where it is now considered a cornerstone of Sydney’s jazz music scene.
For founder Peter Rechniewsk, opening Foundry616 was an endeavour of passion following many many years in and around the industry. “I wanted to create a venue that was a little bit different from what we’ve had in Sydney in the past,” recalled Peter. “We were going to invest money into rebuilding the venue internally to ensure that it had good acoustic properties, because that wasn’t always the case and I felt this was really important to create the intimate atmosphere that the club has.”
Along the way the venue has had to overcome everything from the usual list of growing pains, such as “accidentally overbooking events”, right up to big regulatory hurdles. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you would be well aware of the late night trading restrictions placed upon venues across the city of Sydney, which Peter said has made life more expensive and difficult. The biggest challenge Foundry616 and Peter have faced however is the ever-changing nature of the jazz consuming audience.
“There has been a very big change. New listeners to jazz are very eclectic in their tastes and they also listen to a lot of other styles, whereas in the past fans tended to stick with just jazz.”
Whilst this has made Peter’s job of curating the program for Foundry616 more difficult, as “we’re now competing with those other music styles”, it has also opened doors for new innovative musicians. For Peter this is where many of his biggest highlights from the past three years come from: “The emergence of new artists who write for large ensembles has been great and the fact that we’re able to support them by hosting them, even though that means they take up the stage and part of the floor, is really rewarding.”
Looking towards the future the main goal of Foundry616 is to continue their steady growth, so that each year continues to be “better than the previous one” financially. Obviously though this isn’t the only objective, Peter is exploring options to bring in international artists specifically for Foundry616 from America, Japan and Europe.
Peter reminds us however that “this is an expensive and risky business so you’ve got to pick your targets very carefully, but it’s such a rewarding feeling when the risk pays off.”
Foundry616 is located at 616 Harris St, Ultimo. Gig listings, tickets & info: www.foundry616.com.au