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Date July 6 2005
Type Interview
Source GoGo - Paris in English
Title Ooh La La!
Country France
Journalist/Photographer Kate van den Boogert / Ross Kirton
Pix           
Text Goldfrapp strode on to the international stage in 2000 with their glacial debut album 'Felt Mountain'. Their second album, 2003's 'Black Cherry' was a nastier piece of work, with its grinding, sexy singles 'Train' and 'Strict Machine'. The Goldfrapp sound was born, an electronica potently embedded with diverse retro styles: Marlene Dietrich meets Donna Summer. The duo, a collaboration between Will Gregory and Alison Goldfrapp, are inspired by the opulent world of 70s and 80s pop and produce a lavish discotronic world. Each album is a mini-universe comprising the artwork, clips, costumes and (raunchy) stage shows, with the band controlling each and every aspect. They people this world with mysterious hybrid creatures, the glam surface hides moody undercurrents. Their new album Supernature is released on 23 Aug and right after Goldfrapp will be showing it off at Paris's answer to Glastonbury, Rock en Seine. The album's single Ooh La La is a dirty, decadent hommage to Marc Bolan and the album a spectacular electro-chic intersection between Berlin, New York and northwest Somerset. Goldfrapp explain.


KvdB Does the title of your new album Supernature reference Cerrone's 1977 disco hit?
W. The title came right at the end, it was the last creative decision that was made. But we were aware of that record.
A. But there's also the book called Supernature: A New Look at Unexplained Phenomena by Lyall Watson, which is a book published in the 70s about the whole idea of the natural world and the animal world, ESP and magic, and I think that was where the phrase was coined. We liked all those associations.

The album was mixed by the producer Spike Stent, whose worked with Björk, Massive Attack and Madonna, among others.
A. We wanted to work with him before but couldn't. He's someone who can really enhance electronic sounds, bump them up that extra notch. He gave the sound extra oomph, a very hi-fi kind of sound.

How did you choose the single, Ooh La La ?
W. It was quite a clear choice that one, because it was up and in your face and it carried on the theme of the glammy, discoey beat from the last album.

It's very T-Rexy.
W. We do listen to T Rex actually, it stands up quite well.

How would you describe the new album, particularly in relation to the last two?
W. Lots of people are saying it seems like an amalgamation of the first two. I think we felt more confident about songwriting, we're more mature about the whole process and I think that shows. We're not so worried about things we were worried about before, like identity; if we want to try something we'll just do it. For example, there's guitar on this album, which was banned from the studio before.
A. I think with Black Cherry we were still discovering how we wanted to use those electronic sounds, how we wanted to use those beats. I think with this album we were a lot more comfortable with that and not so worried about mixing other sounds in. If we thought something was going to work we'd just do it, like the guitar, but marrying that with very syncopated synthesisers and beats aswell. It's a dreamy, almost psychadelic sound. Some of the songs on Supernature are a little bit more reflective, whereas Black Cherry was very basic and direct, the new album is a little bit more sensual than that straight-forward bump and grind.

Goldfrapp is known for creating a complete imaginative world, which includes your clips and stage shows, how does that work on this album?
A. We're still working on the concept. But we just did the photo shoot where we had this girl make us these giant objects, a giant plug, a giant reel-to-reel tape machine. Functional, but also larger than life, fantastical, Romantic, glittery elements.

You're playing Rock en Seine here in August.
A. It's funny with the festival circuit, festivals are either really great or they're the worst nightmare. You're either playing in this dusty old field to about three people or it's fantastic. There doesn't seem to much in between. Rock en Seine sounds really good, there's some excellent bands playing.

What can we expect from your show?
A. We haven't rehearsed or anything yet. But we have a band who we play with live, we know them and we've played a lot together. Charlie Jones plays a lot of bass on this album.

You both live in Bath. Does that inform things in any way?
W. It's a bit annoyingly small sometimes.
A. The countryside is very beautiful. We've both lived in London aswell, I still consider myself as living in London, all my friends live there and I travel to London a lot. But we've always worked outside the city, we don't like studios very much, they're very sterile and rather expensive; it's just much nicer to be somewhere more relaxed, that's got windows. You can really shut the door and focus on what you're doing, which I always find quite hard to do in a studio in London.

Where did you record Supernature ?
W. For the first album we were in a cottage, the second one in a studio space that was kind of cottagey, this one was another cottage.

So the Bed & Breakfast recording experience?
A. Yes, a bit. It was really chintzy, in beige and brown, with plastic flowers in really nasty vases. You can let your environment influence you or not, I'm sure it probably does influence you more that you think it does, but ultimately it's where you go in your head.

Goldfrapp seems a strongly imagined universe, a broader artistic project rather than purely a pop music phenomenon.
A. There's always a part of pop music that's cheesy and aimed at teenagers, but I think good music, of any style, is for adults and can be as creative and interesting as anything else. Good bands have their heart in their creation.

Have you got a clear idea of where you're heading with Goldfrapp?
W. There is no plan. We have tried to plan it and the lists we make from that are usually the things that we don't do.
A. It's nice to think that it's something that evolves and changes, there's always some new thing that we want to try.

Goldfrapp has been very successful; how is that change of status?
A. We don't feel that at all. It's really strange. We're getting quite good at ignoring it actually.
W. I don't think it's true.
A. And I never get recognised. When I'm out in the street I don't wear make-up, I don't brush my hair, I wear dirty old jeans. It's kind of nice, I can remain anonymous, it's quite healthy.

The whole music industry is changing massively with Internet; it's a complicated time to be producing albums. How do you feel about people downloading music for free?
A. It's a difficult one isn't it, because when we were kids we were taping stuff off the radio and you'd give a cassette to your mate, or you'd do your friend a little compilation of your favourite tunes, and that was great fun. But the difference now is that you can do that in a second send it out to a load of people around the planet. I think people have to realise they're going to have to pay for it because otherwise their favourite bands won't be making their own music anymore, because they won't be able to afford to, and that's really quite scary. Obviously you don't want to put those perimeters on things, it's a bit boring, but I think something has to be done.
W. It's difficult, because on the other hand, what's quite good about it is that you've got all these kids searching out the most obscure things, so tiny individuals can get a huge listenership, and that's exciting because it means that there's a democracy of musical appreciation as opposed to it all being controlled by the radio stations

What music are you listening to?
A. We listen to so many different things, I can never remember.

What do you think of the current wave of English pop then, like Franz Ferdinand?
W. They've only released one album, a very good album, and they're huge - and I think that's very tough.
A. We've been quite lucky in that we've actually had time to go at things at our own pace, and try things out. It's like the Scissor Sisters as well. I think it must be really difficult to have an absolutely incredibly successful first album.
W. You must feel like you've got to do the same album again.
A. Or do exactly the same thing for the next 4 albums, like Coldplay.
W. It's a rich seam and they should mine it.

So, what do you think of Coldplay?
A. I think they're very fucking good at writing tunes. But I watched Top of the Pops the other day - I quite like watching Top of the Pops - but I thought I must be watching an old Top of the Pops. Coldplay were playing their new single, and I genuinely thought I knew the song, that it couldn't possibly be from the new album because it's almost identical to older tracks.

How much do you identify with an English musical scene?
W. We identify with the 'eccentric' school of do what you want and do it with great gusto...
A. Make it yourself, be yourself, punky...
W. Kate Bushy...

 
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