This week, the VIVID Sydney music line up dropped and man, does it boast some massive names. One such internationally renowned name that features on the program is Goldfrapp, set to return to Australia for the first time since 2013. Their new album, Silver Eye, is due for released the end of March and already, the group has been honing in on the next stage of the record’s chapter – no laurels are being rested upon at all.
Speaking with synth player Will Gregory, he takes me through the creative place he and Alison Goldfrapp are currently in when it’s come to readying Silver Eye for their fans.
“We’re in the middle of getting the live show together,” he says. “We’re going from one thing to another. I think we haven’t really had time to take stock of what we’re doing or where we are, or anything! It’s been a bit of a mad gallop, but it’s all good.”
Introducing new elements to their live set up, notably the inclusion of new musicians, has meant that Gregory has had more time to immerse himself with the final recorded version of the album, an element of the album making process he admits isn’t usually his bag. However, he’s learned more about how the album has developed and ultimately, how it’s begun sitting with him now as part of this process.
“Getting through writing music, it has its excitement, it has its perils and it has its drama. By the end of it, you’re wrung pretty thin, in terms of enthusiasm. Maybe not enthusiasm, but it’s an amazing thing to have actually finished it. It’s hard to know when things are finished. We’re not in the position where we have deadlines; we have a very tolerant record company and they just say, ‘Take as long as you want’, kind of. We were careful not to put too many tracks on and I’m really hopeful that none of them are runts of the litter.”
“I did actually have to listen to the whole album a couple of times because we were checking vinyl pressings [and] I don’t normally do that. I was actually okay and there wasn’t a point where I got really bored and it was good! It’s not easy to achieve that, I have to tell you. That’s all we ever do, is try to impress ourselves and I was moderately impressed with this one.”
Of Alison’s work ethic on Silver Eye, Gregory reveals how busy the vocalist, writer and synth player has been.
“I haven’t had to shoulder quite as much as Alison,” he admits. “She’s done a lot of the artwork and she’s been photographing as well, not just setting up the locations and clothes and everything. A couple of weeks ago, she was making another video; I think she filmed it this time. She got a choreographer and she’s actually making the video herself. She’s not just getting a director to do it, it’s the first time it’s ever happened. I’m really hopeful that that is the way ahead because a lot of the brilliance from some of our videos has come from how brilliant the directors have been – wouldn’t it be amazing if you actually made your own videos?”
“I think we’re quite work ethic-y people. We’re mutually like, ‘That was good – now on to the next thing’. Now we’re having to listen to it because it’s being played by musicians who have to listen to it. We have to make sure we like otherwise we’re in trouble.”
On the band’s return to Australia (and indeed, the live front in general), Gregory is excited about bringing Silver Eye to these environments, though he admits Goldfrapp is very much a band focusing on being the best artists they can be, away from the stage as well as on it.
“We don’t make it easy for our fans, I think,” he laughs. “We never really give them the same thing twice. I think we have to be quite aesthetic people, able to deal with that. In the things that we have got, we’re lucky to have such a crew of fans, so that’s great. At the same time, we’re sorry, but we don’t really think about it a lot because if we did, we’d be not concentrating on what we’re supposed to be doing! For that reason it is a strange relationship because on one end, you’re connecting with people but on the other end, you’re not. Playing it live is a very rewarding and special; it’s special to witness people physically in the room with you, listening to your music. It’s like a guilty pleasure that we’re allowed to do that.”
Gsldfrapp’s Silver Eye is released on March 31st. They return to Sydney for VIVID Sydney at Carriageworks on June 2nd. For more information, head here.