Alison Goldfrapp

For over two decades songwriter Alison Goldfrapp has continued to push the boundaries of electronic music.

Alison first rose to promience as one half of the forward-thinking and acclaimed duo, Goldfrapp. Alongside her bandmate Will Gregory, the pair built an illustrious career thanks to their unwavering commitment to penning the most gorgeous ambient tunes, combining them with a visually striking aesthetic. As an individual the vocalist and producer has never been afraid to tread new ground. Yet the songwriter has shied away from the prospect of a solo career until now. As of last month Alison Goldfrapp released her debut record, The Love Invention. It’s a body of work that feels quite timely, with the world being in dissaray right now, Goldfrapp has crafted a sonic universe that provides the listener with a much needed dose of pure feel-good escapism. Thanks to the LP’s rich electronic textures, danceable beats, and Alison’s signature enthralling vocals.

If anything this solo endevour has been an excercise which has allowed the acclaimed talent to go out of her comfort zone. She set up a studio within her garden to record ideas and forged new collaborations with Producers Richard X and James Greenwood. The end result is nothing short of disco synth heaven.

In conversation with 1883 Magazine, Alison Goldfrapp discusses The Love Invention, what makes her happy, and more.



Hi Alison, thanks for speaking with 1883 Magazine. Your debut solo album The Love Invention is out now. I know you’ve said previously that you felt you didn’t have the confidence to explore a solo album until recently but now you’ve been able to go through the process of making a solo record and see the positive reaction it’s had from audiences so far, how do you feel now?

I’m very excited about the new music. I’m also very excited about playing live. We did our first gig on Thursday. I was pretty nervous, but the first one’s always a bit daunting. Also, playing in London is always a bit scary. But I’m so excited now to do more. We’re going to be in Spain next week, and I’m really excited now to just get right in there and do it, now we’ve done the first show. So yeah, I’m just feeling very up about having new music out there. Yeah, the response has been amazing. So I’m very grateful for that. It’s been really nice to just read and feel people are having fun with it and excited about it too. It’s perfect. It’s just what I wanted.


Would you mind telling us a bit about the home studio you built during the pandemic as that’s where the album materialised from? Had you always intended to build a studio?

Well, it started out of necessity because of the pandemic really. I wasn’t able to go out and about. But actually, that was a really great thing to do. It’s a very basic studio. In a way, it reminded me of a time when I must have been about twenty-two years old, and I sort of built this little studio in my apartment. I  hardly had any space. It was all there in the living room, all this equipment. And of course, I never used it because I just found it so intimidating that it was just there right in front of me wherever I looked. There was all this gear that I was going to have to learn how to use, and I was like ‘Oh my god’. And so I just ended up not doing anything on it. So slightly roll on more than 30 years later, and I thought ‘Oh, god’ again and it sort of brought back memories. But anyway, so I kept it very basic. I just soundproofed everything and a few bits of really nice kit for effects and things like that. Now there are so many plugins when making music, so that’s actually quite handy not having to take up my tiny little room with too much stuff. So it actually was a very nice place to just sort of noodle about.I did quite a lot of vocals in there, and I had a technician come in every once in a while to help me out with some things. 

But I also used a mate’s studio down the road because I’ve actually now realised I don’t particularly like having a studio at home really [laughs]. I just live in an area where it’s actually not that practical. My neighbours got a bit pissed off a couple of times hearing the same keyboard going round and round in a loop for half the day. So it’s not that conducive really, but it’s all right for certain things, the early stages of writing. Then I spent time at Richard X’s place, and I went to down to Margate where James lives, so I went there a few times. I went to Toby’s place, and he lives in Brighton. So we did stuff remotely, and then also we were in the room together. As much as it’s quite nice to be alone and noodle about to your heart’s content, you can’t beat being in a room with someone, that energy they give, and vibing off each other. Sometimes you can get things done actually a lot quicker when you’re just in the room together. Yeah, but it’s been a really great experience. I’m actually really eager to get in the studio again to do some more writing. 


You’ve always been credited as a forward-thinking artist, and I love the use of AI techniques in the video for the album track, Love Invention. It’s going to be so interesting to see how artists will incorporate the use of AI in their work in the future. But AI also seems like it could be quite scary, people have already been putting out fake songs with artists’ voices generated by AI, what are your thoughts on the whole topic?

Oh, really? Wow. I don’t think I am totally equipped to give a thorough intelligent answer in a way because I feel like I don’t know enough about it. But yes, I mean, it’s so huge. The scope for its use is so huge and kind of scary at times. So yeah, I’m definitely aware of its potential threat to people’s skills, like people who’ve spent years and years mastering what they do, and then along comes AI and just completely takes their place. It is problematic. I mean, I actually heard a makeup artist and hair person talking about how the industry might start using AI models. So there are so many elements to it. I don’t really have a particular opinion. I’m still observing what’s happening and how it’s evolving, But obviously, it’s not just the creatives that it’s affecting. Someone was talking about warfare the other day. It seems endless. 

Who knows what’s going to happen next? There are negatives and positives to all these things, aren’t there, depending on who’s using them.


Thank you for making this record because it’s just so fun and euphoric, I think anyone who’s listened to it so far will be able to use it as a form of escapism and just feel happy sitting in this world you’ve created. And given the state of the world right now, I think it’s important for moments of escapism and happiness from time to time. Alongside music, what makes Alison Goldfrapp happy at this point in time?

I‘m presently sat here looking out of the window with the door open, I can hear all the birds singing, and there’s a beautiful evening light now. That makes me happy, little moments like that. I did my first gig on Thursday, and that made me happy. So I’m really excited about doing more shows. I haven’t felt this excited about going live in a long time actually. So that’s really great. Travelling makes me excited. Food makes me happy. I really want a dog as well.


Good choices.

Good food, good company. Yeah, I’d really like a dog. That would make me quite happy. But yeah, little things, the simple things in life, they always are, aren’t they?


For sure. I think life can be complicated sometimes. So you have to slow it down a little bit and acknowledge the smaller things in life we sometimes take for granted and enjoy them.

Yeah, I feel like our lives get more and more complex really. So I agree.


Since its inception in 1999, Goldfrapp has constantly pushed the boundaries of electronic music. When you’re part of a longstanding working relationship and friendship, like you and Will Gregory, how do you manage to successfully keep a creative spark/chemistry going?

I think you have to be really open and not be scared to try things out. I think the fact that he never came on tour was probably quite helpful in a way. I think sometimes it is probably very hard…because being in the studio and writing an album is pretty intense. Then you have to go out on the road together as well? I mean that’s pretty full-on. So I think perhaps keeping a healthy distance can help. I also think being really open with each other is really important.


Following that, working on this solo project, how did you go out of your comfort zone by working with Richard X and James Greenwood?

I think working with someone you don’t know is a way to get out of your comfort zone. You don’t know how they go about working, how they like to do things, what gets on their nerves or what doesn’t, and what inspires them. It’s just getting to know someone, what the boundaries are. I’m quite a shy person as well. It takes a while to get to work with how somebody likes to do things. But that’s also what’s really exciting about those kinds of collaborations, that new energy, new opinions, new outlooks, and new ways of doing things. So by doing all that, you’re stepping out of your comfort zone because you’re stepping into unknown territory and embracing it. 

Again you have to be open to be able to let that in and hear what someone else has got to say and then just try new things. I did a lot more vocals on this album than I’ve ever done before, in terms of harmonies, a lot of backing vocals and a lot of layers. The style of production was quite different in a way, which is what I wanted. I wanted to do all of that. So I was prepared to try out some new ways of doing things. It all felt quite new really.


When you knew wanted to do this solo project, were you like ‘Okay, I haven’t worked with Richard X and James before, let’s hit them up’ or were you more just open to working with anyone who piqued your interest, if you will?

Well, I was quite open to it. I’ve always really enjoyed collaborating with other people. I think as time went on, I felt that was really important to keep being creative, really. I’ve wanted to make this album and to make this type of music for a very long time, and it’s never quite happened. Will has been off doing his sort of thing [for] various reasons. But when I was able to make this record, it sort of happened quite naturally. I think I heard some things that James had done. I was looking at people’s work and just seeing who had done what on different albums. I just kept picking out things that turned out that James had been involved, and I thought “oh, that’s interesting”. Maybe I should just reach out to him. So I did. So he was up for it. Then someone else actually suggested Richard to me and I thought that might be actually quite interesting. So yeah, it happened quite naturally, you just have to try these things out because you never really know whether something’s going to work or not. So yeah, just give it a bash.


Amazing. It’s interesting that you feel you’ve done far more vocals on this solo album compared to previous records. Is there anything else you think you’ve found out about yourself as a songwriter from making this project?

I’ve learnt just to be more confident because actually I’m pretty good at writing tunes, and I’m pretty good at working on production as well. I really enjoy it. I’ve probably done a lot more of that. It felt very collaborative, which is really nice. I’ve been just learning and It feels like I’m just starting out really. But I think that’s what I like. I like to feel excited. I like to feel like I am treading on new territory. I don’t mean inventing something new genre-wise, I just mean me inventing something new for myself. It’s a very personal thing. I’m just really excited about it.


Fame is such a double-edged sword. It helps artists and creatives continue their pursuits as there will be interest in it from audiences but it can often bring unwanted attention and pressure. From first breaking out in the music industry up until now, how do you think your relationship with the ridiculous concept has changed as someone who’s been in the limelight throughout your career so far?

Well, I don’t feel very famous. I really don’t. I don’t think I’m very famous at all. So I don’t know if all of that applies to me really. I’ve never had the paparazzi chasing me. I mean, I’ve had some slightly weird scenarios, things like a photographer trying to take my picture when I was in a dressing room once, but I’ve never had that kind of attention really. I can’t really give you any sort of insight into that!


When it comes to the live aspects of your solo work, what are your plans for this year? How would you really like to develop the live show?

Well, I feel like there’s a long way to go. I mean, I’ve got a bunch of festivals. Festivals are very particular things. You turn up, get on stage, and hope that it will work. They can be the best thing ever, or they can be quite strange. But I’m really excited about it. But yeah, it feels like it’s going to grow, and there’s room to build it. I’m sure it will change and evolve over the coming year, Especially when we go into theatres and I’m doing my own show because at festivals, obviously, you’re playing with lots of other artists and it’s a very different atmosphere. So yeah, I think it’s just something that I want to grow and develop. I feel like we’ve only just done one show, so I feel like it’s onward and upwards and see where it takes me. I mean, it’ll be interesting to see how it develops over the coming year. 

Yeah, I really hope that I’m going to get to play in some of the places that I haven’t played for, for a long time, like New York and in Europe. But we’ll see because it is quite difficult these days to do that, financially and stuff. So I’m really, really hoping I get to play in all those places that I love going to like Mexico and New York and LA and Germany and Europe—I can’t wait—and Australia blah, blah, blah, all of it.


Finally, what would you like to manifest for yourself and why?

A feeling where enjoy it all. I think that’s really important to me, that I enjoy the moment, yeah that’s what I keep reminding myself. And to feel the love, feel the energy, and enjoy.


The Love Invention is out now. Follow Alison Goldfrapp @alison_goldfrapp

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