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Digital Subscriptions > MusicTech > June 17 > Goldfrapp

Goldfrapp

There’s been a four-year gap between Goldfrapp’s critically acclaimed Tales Of Us and their recently released seventh album, Silver Eye. Producer and keyboardist Will Gregory opens up on the vintage analogue gear factory that hones their sound and the duo’s perpetual challenge to stay relevant…

In 1999, hustling session player Will Gregory was introduced to backing vocalist Alison Goldfrapp and the electronic-pop duo Goldfrapp was born. Despite their now cult status, initial albums Felt Mountain and Black Cherry only vaguely registered with the record-buying public. Yet Goldfrapp were merely preparing for lift off and have remained an immovable force in electronic pop ever since.

Behind the scenes, they’ve have had to cleverly manoeuvre through the rise of EDM and the record industry’s digital landscape, while remaining true to the ethos that initially made them relevant. Supernature (2005) successfully planted itself in the dance-music realm, while subsequent albums Seventh Tree (2008) and Tales Of Us (2013) shrewdly adjusted by introducing elements of ambient, downtempo and even folktronica.

After a four-year sabbatical – during which self-confessed vintage gearhead Gregory performed a Moog Ensemble of Wendy Carlos’ groundbreaking work – it was back to the studio to rejoin his longstanding writing partner. On Goldfrapp’s latest album, Silver Eye, Gregory once again mines the analogue realms, while exploiting the benefits of digital technology and collaborations to further expand the duo’s sonic boundaries.

MusicTech:We read that, in the 80s, you recorded and toured with Tears For Fears. How did you get involved in the industry and working with them?

Will Gregory: I was a classical bod, really. I used to play oboe and at county youth orchestras. I went to college at York and got exposed to a fantastic studio there; not by today’s standards, but pretty good at the time. It was a tape-based studio and I spent long periods of time just getting used to the whole thing of flashing lights, dials and knobs. I went to America for a year, studied jazz and when I came back, I was a good enough sax player to get myself session work. That’s how I met the Tears, because they wanted a sax player. It was at that time in the 80s when everybody had one; it was de rigueur, which was fantastic for me. We did a couple of big tours and it was great to be around that and see how the whole culture worked. But after playing the sax and doing sessions, I decided I wanted to write. No matter how good a session player you are, you’re not the instigator of what’s happening. The people who were achieving things were the ones writing stuff; otherwise, you’re waiting for the phone to ring. So I got my own little studio together, which was shared with some friends and ended up finding Alison, which was fantastic at that time.

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