March 2003
By Steven M. Housman

In Season: Goldfrapp’s Black Cherry

I was asked by a friend, what’s Goldfrapp? I bubbled over with enthusiasm and answered, “Goldfrapp is the latest-greatest girl musician/singer from London with a fantastic new dance album.” The friend shrugged and said, “oh no, another circuit album.” At first I had to convince him that this wasn’t just another “circuit” album where one track is undistinguishable from the next. This was a mesh of dance and disco and one of the freshest and most exciting CD’s I’ve heard in a long time. Alison Goldfrapp originated all of the material with her collaborator Will Gregory. In discussing her US debut, Alison told me of her fascination with recording Black Cherry: her sophomore effort, as well as her love of the studio vs. performing live, her early influences and what recording artists she enjoys listening to. Don’t take my word for it, listen to the CD and hear for yourself. Instinctively, you’ll find yourself increasing the volume and the music will undoubtedly take you higher. Bottom line: It’s the kind of music that makes you smile.

All of the songs on Black Cherry are awesome- how did you decide on “Train” to be the first single?

Actually, it was just instinctual. I don’t know how these things happen. It just felt right.

Do you have a personal favorite song on Black Cherry?

No, not really. I like all the songs for different reasons. One week I’m really into one thing, then it changes into something else. At the moment, I really like playing “Strip Machine” live. We’ve done two gigs now and that’s one I definitely like to perform.

What draws you to this type of music?

I’ve always been into disco, 70’s covers, electronic. It’s whatever Will [Will Gregory, co-writer and band member] and I are into doing at the time.

Speaking of Will [Gregory], or do you have songs that are solely yours and does he have songs that are solely his?

We always write together. I keep a notebook of stuff and lyrical ideas, but we really get going when we’re together in the studio and then everything comes together. Quite often, I’ll write the lyric but nothing really gels until the music is written.

How old were you when you knew you had a gift for writing music and performing?

Oh my God (laughs), I don’t know when I had a gift but I certainly discovered the voice, as it were, quite young. My Dad played me Carmina Burana and that just gave me goose bumps. I just thought it was so amazing that a person could make such an incredible sound. It was just out of this world, so I was really inspired by that. When I was at academic school, I found singing to be quite spiritual and it gave me confidence. It was a way of expressing myself, it felt quite natural.

Tell me who some of your favorite recording artists are.

Prince and Roberta Flack are two of my favorites.

What is your preference, the recording studio or live performances?

Ooh, they’re so completely different. The studio is a place where you can really let your imagination run wild; it’s a really creative process and sometimes agonizing, but definitely creative. I think playing live can also be amazing because it’s the moment that’s really stimulating and spontaneous emotionally. But ultimately, they’re two different processes that are equally important to me.

Is there anything you’d like to add that I haven’t asked?

Just to enjoy listening to the CD as much as I did making it.

© 2003 Steven M. Housman. All Rights Reserved.