Exposure is our scrapbook of our favourite new bands. Today's exposure features Parisian synthpop chanteuse, Alma Elste.

  • Name: Alma Elste
  • Location: Paris, France
  • Genre: Synthpop
  • For Fans of: Lorde, Summer Camp, Julia Holter
  • Website: Facebook

Born in the halycon days of '92, in Paris, Alme Elste has always been submerged in music, growing up listening (and playing) Bach, Schumann and Mozart. Things have moved on slightly since then, however: "Right now I love Beach House, Dirty Beaches, James Blake, Phoenix, Daft Punk, James Ferraro, Teams, and Justin Bieber."

It's an eclectic mix, that's for sure, but the breadth of pop she devours is stoking inspiration; her natural gift for it is growing exponentially. "I remember a girl collapsed near me. I had never seen a person collapse," says about one of her first concerts - Michael Jackson. "I saw [him] in concert in Paris when I was four. He struck me as a performer. I knew at that point, even as a child, how a show could be emotional and affect people."

Now, after living in New York for a spell and studying philosophy, Elste has found herself nestled in a piquant niche that oozes alluring lyrics and the kind of '80s-splashed synths that we love so much in Summer Camp. There have been parallels drawn between her blasé pop culture references and Lana Del Rey's vintage-chic; it's not entirely apt - Elste's conjuring a "hyperreal world" - whereas Del Rey was born to cry. Elste's got chops, Del Rey has a rich daddy. "I've been playing on my own since around 15 years old. I recorded on an 8-track Boss recorder. Now I record digitally. I did shows in little bars in Paris where they usually played hardcore music. I was that high school girl playing pop on a Stratocaster... having to play for an audience that couldn't be taken for granted (like, literally!) was frightening but it certainly made me stronger concerning live performances."

Her recent single, 'Virtualism', has been the trigger for Elste. A pulsating squall of gorgeous, sophisticated synth blossoms and menacing beats, it's got an air of reluctant apathy pitched against a bittersweet outlook that revels in life's little things. It's a song where the glass is both half-full and half-empty: "I'm in your car/ we run red lights/ I don't give a damn about here/ drinking 40s/ playing GTA/ drinking 40s/ I stole some baseball cards."

She explains the track: "'Virtualism' was recorded two months ago. I recorded it with a friend of mine, Willy Duft. We co-produced the song. We used '80s synths mainly and real drums on that track. I played GTA Vice City in my teens and always go back to it now. I love the colours of the cars, the samba and rock'n'roll music you hear in the cars' radios that you drive. Above all, the atmosphere of the city: between violence and sexiness, it's inspiring."

The calibre of Elste's first proper offering is astounding; there's no doubt that we'll get to delve into many more of her sounds in the coming months. She's spoken of plans for a debut EP in the opening months of 2014, but is currently unsigned, so the process is rather sluggish, though it would be a genuine surprise if she wasn't signed by Christmas. 'Virtualism' is definitely the best thing we've heard recently, so indulge yourself below.