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Interview Alison Goldfrapp

ALISON GOLDFRAPP KNOWS what it feels like to be an outsider. The heterosexual singer, who makes up one half of the London-based duo Goldfrapp, is very comfortable with her sexuality. And she believes gays can relate to that.

"Gays are as open about their sexuality as I am," she says. "I have noticed that gays and lesbians confront themselves with where they stand in life, and this makes them very open and tolerant."

Goldfrapp and musician Will Gregory make up England's newest electronica sensation. They are proudly following in the footsteps of other British alternative electro acts such as Soft Cell, Portishead and Cocteau Twins.

The duo recently released its highly anticipated second album, "Black Cherry," in the United States. After their critically acclaimed 1999 debut album, "Felt Mountain," they hope to extend this success to America. They already are very popular in the United Kingdom.

"I hear we have a lot of gay fans in the UK," says Goldfrapp, who likes to keep her age a secret. "I suppose gays like the theatrical, cabaret-esque qualities of our music. [But] I can't really tell who our gay fans are. It is hard to see that from the stage.

"They don't really dance differently or anything like that. I wonder if it matters," she says. "If I am honest, I don't really care who is straight or who is gay. I hate to stereotype people. In the end, we're all sexual beings."

Goldfrapp is not for the squeamish. The duo's music is like abstract art to the ear, with fragmented beats, piercing synths, soaring strings and Alison's delicate vocals. "Black Cherry" has a thickly layered, suggestive quality that creates imaginative landscapes that transport listeners from one sonic mood to another.


SIMILAR TO THE album's surreal artwork, the group's vibe is unpredictable, which might initially create a disturbing momentum but fades quickly after repeated play.

"Black Cherry" has a powerful disco slant. The songs "Tiptoe" and "Strict Machine" are reminiscent of '80s tunes of Giorgio Moroder and Donna Summer.

"I am very inspired by the disco era," Goldfrapp says. "I love the drama and the strings."

The group also revisits Olivia Newton John's gay anthem "Physical," a seemingly odd choice for the offbeat vibes of Goldfrapp. But Alison Goldfrapp shared another view.

"I love that song," she says. "The words, the visuals, it is a great song from the '80s."

"Black Cherry" has a playful sexual undertone, which is a departure from the ambiguity on "Felt Mountain."

"We set out to make an album that is more direct, joyous and spontaneous," she says. "I did not want to stick to the formula that worked before. We both wanted to try something new."

Goldfrapp responds to some of the letters she has received from American listeners who are deeply insulted by the artwork for the single "Train" on the new album.

"The picture features a photo collage of a wolf licking a man's crotch," she says. "It is an artful expression. It was never meant to offend anybody. Perhaps Americans are a bit more uptight about sexuality. I am not sure."

The album's title song is one of the most personal songs on the album.

"All of my world in a grain of sand," Goldfrapp sings, "and I've blown it."

But she prefers not to talk about the lyrics more.

"People can decide for themselves what that is about," she says. "'Black Cherry' is a metaphor for a lot of things. I dreamt about it one night, and I decided it would be the album title."

Alison Goldfrapp is quickly emerging as the leading siren of alternative synth music. She is in full control of the band's creative process and presentation, and even continues her side gigs as a DJ.

"I don't control everything," she laughs. "I don't decide how many records we sell."

March 14, 2003 | Permalink

Comments

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I'm american, and I for one, LOVE the artwork for the Train single. I love the perviness of it. I love the artwork for the whole album and all the singles so far. Some of the best artwork for an album in a long time.

Posted by: aaron at Oct 16, 2003 6:52:43 PM

goldfapp cannot only be seen as synth and electronica. the album felt mountain is very soft and subtle still with Alisons beautiful voice

Posted by: Ayatollah at Jan 15, 2004 9:08:26 AM

Is alison an Art of noise fan?
Her music has the feeling that it's very influenced by them or Anne Dudley. Also she has a stunningly haunting voice. I love her vocals, and that combined with the ambient dub beats are music to to relax by. Black cherry was so good I liked it having only heard the last 33 seconds of it! I had to get onto the net to find out it's title! Lovely head is equally excellent. Can any other goldfrapp fans recommend any other tracks by thr band to listen to in the same vein as black cherry/lovely head

Posted by: ray daley at Feb 28, 2004 7:34:20 AM

Hi Ray

Have you heard Glideascope's stuff, he's from the UK and I saw it on the under review section, excellent stuff to relax too, very mellow!

Dy

Posted by: Dyanne Rossi at Feb 28, 2004 1:15:40 PM

There is something about Alison Goldfrapp, I can't get her voice out of my head. It's a good thing.

Posted by: Josh Broke at Apr 13, 2004 6:16:20 PM

Is Alison single? Is she into Welsh men in a big way?

Posted by: Karl Cleveley at Jul 3, 2004 6:27:33 PM

a breath of fresh air; Alison's music with art ideas are fantastic reminiscent of eighties electro & how synths should be played (depeche mode/art of noise etc). I recently bought "black cherry". Awesome's not the word. You can lose yerself in it. God knows I have! Felt mountain next, roll on......

Posted by: PCM at Jul 15, 2004 3:36:27 PM

I'm french, here Goldfrapp is really loved by people for example who listen to Björk, or that ind of stuff. For me Goldfrapp is what we call in french "classe". It's very elegant, not vulgar, all in a kind of subtlety. I love it, especially a song like Lovely Head, which is a masterpiece. Europe has not been chocked at all by artworks (they are great!) it's just new, but we are used to new things, different things, or stuff that don't respect rules!! (we had a punk wave here after all!!)I agree with Alison, I think Americans might be a bit more upset about sex, but there's really no use.

Posted by: Céline at Jul 29, 2004 6:17:43 AM

I'm french, here Goldfrapp is really loved by people for example who listen to Björk, or that ind of stuff. For me Goldfrapp is what we call in french "classe". It's very elegant, not vulgar, all in a kind of subtlety. I love it, especially a song like Lovely Head, which is a masterpiece. Europe has not been chocked at all by artworks (they are great!) it's just new, but we are used to new things, different things, or stuff that don't respect rules!! (we had a punk wave here after all!!)I agree with Alison, I think Americans might be a bit more upset about sex, but there's really no use.

Posted by: Céline at Jul 29, 2004 6:18:25 AM

I'm french, here Goldfrapp is really loved by people for example who listen to Björk, or that ind of stuff. For me Goldfrapp is what we call in french "classe". It's very elegant, not vulgar, all in a kind of subtlety. I love it, especially a song like Lovely Head, which is a masterpiece. Europe has not been chocked at all by artworks (they are great!) it's just new, but we are used to new things, different things, or stuff that don't respect rules!! (we had a punk wave here after all!!)I agree with Alison, I think Americans might be a bit more upset about sex, but there's really no use.

Posted by: at Jul 29, 2004 6:19:02 AM

I'm from Mexico City where good music never gets played on radio, somehow as a dj i managed to play 3 to 4 goldfrapp mixes on one night at the clubs i dj at, porbably i enjoy it much more than anyone in the crowd. Of course i'm madly in love with here voice!

Posted by: Erick at Aug 7, 2004 12:43:29 PM

I'm from Mexico City where good music never gets played on radio, somehow as a dj i managed to play 3 to 4 goldfrapp mixes on one night at the clubs i dj at, porbably i enjoy it much more than anyone in the crowd. Of course i'm madly in love with here voice!

Posted by: Erick at Aug 7, 2004 12:43:46 PM

...interesting that someone likened Goldfrapp to Anne Dudley.... Ms Dudley's worked on the new Alison Moyet album 'Voice'.... and some of the Goldfrapp musicians worked on Alison's last album, the fantastic 'Hometime' (worth an hour of anyone's time....)... small world.

Posted by: russ t at Aug 17, 2004 7:11:59 PM

I'm from Germany / Bavaria.
I luuuuuuv Goldfrapp. They're gods! Both of them. Alison is kinda kinky in a very cute way. I'm looking forward to have the new DVD. aaaand: I'm very curious what Goldfrapps next album be like. Hurry up guys!

Posted by: the Flo at Sep 23, 2004 9:41:51 AM

I'm from Germany / Bavaria.
I luuuuuuv Goldfrapp. They're gods! Both of them. Alison is kinda kinky in a very cute way. I'm looking forward to having the new DVD. aaaand: I'm very curious what Goldfrapps next album be like. Hurry up guys!

Posted by: the Flo at Sep 23, 2004 9:42:41 AM

just what i was searching for. Best whises for all we live together and we live together http://www.welivestogether.net

Posted by: we live together at Oct 11, 2004 4:15:57 AM

just what i was searching for. Best whises for all we live together and we live together http://www.welivestogether.net

Posted by: we live together at Oct 11, 2004 4:16:25 AM

I was first attracted to Goldfrapp whilst one day looking through the CD's in HMV on Oxford Street. The stunning, eccentric collage effect on the cover made me buy it.... I AM NOW A GOLDFRAPP ADDICT! IT IS NEVER OUT OF THE WALKMAN OR CD PLAYER!

Brilliant stuff....

Posted by: James Brookmyre at Nov 18, 2004 1:38:02 PM

i have been listening to and enjoying Goldfrapp for a few years now and i think alison is a genious!when i heard the black cherry album it was exactly what i had been waiting for....my favourite album of all time,my one and only desert island disk! alison your beautiful, i love you!

Posted by: paul mcdonald at Dec 15, 2004 9:41:07 AM

i must first admit that i was not taken by the "intelectual, Guardian loving, new electronica vibe" of Felt Mountain (entirely my own fault for not finding out for myself first!).however it just goes to show what the power of a total new direction can take on an artists or groups potential fanbase. on first hearing TRAIN.... i swear to god it was true audio orgasm.... i have not heard a woman (or man for that matter!) sing with such innocence/pure filth in her tone. the mixture of how i feel she sung that song combined with the visuals for the video in which she manages to seem so spectacularily disinterested by what shes singing about,has had an everlasting effect on me.... on learning that she is the sole lyric writer and has complete visual control of her art was what drove me to fall completely and utterly in love with this truly innovative artist..... Alison, "hearing u say it, i could die"

Posted by: Kiefer Cooke at Dec 15, 2004 5:50:38 PM

They really are great but who is this kiefer,how gay is he?

Posted by: paul mcdonald at Dec 16, 2004 4:51:22 AM

Felt mountain is a beautiful,inteligent,realised album...then they throw out black cherry...amazing! cant wait for a new album, i cant get enough!!.....
utopia. xxx

Posted by: paul mira at Dec 16, 2004 9:06:19 AM

i love goldfrapp,but who is kiefer?..........sooo gay...GAYLORD!

Posted by: paul at Dec 16, 2004 9:38:00 AM

Happy New Year to all. Even tho i don't have an album of GF as yet, i still and can't forget her haunting voice singing Utopia more than two years ago here stateside on the tv program Conan O'Brien'

Posted by: te at Jan 13, 2005 9:36:07 PM

By the way, here "MTV" stateside is compleat rubbish, they show more "reality tv" than any music, not ever once i don't think they would show anything as beautiful as Goldfrapp.

There's more music on such nightly shows as the aformentioned Conan O'Brien than a full day of "MTV".
Not a wonder that Sinead O'Connor once stated MTV was garbage.I do hope it's better out there in Europe.

"Europe will always be 1,000 years ahead of America culturally" Charles Bukowski
In that vein i do hope MTV in Europe is grand and glorious and not at all like the great deciever it is here.

Posted by: te at Jan 13, 2005 9:54:08 PM

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