Goldfrapp wanted to make its latest album new — and familiar.
Silver Eye, due March 31 — and whose closing track, “Ocean,” is premiering below — steers a course away from what Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory consider the more “pastoral” tone of 2013’s Tales Of Us and recalls the icier, electronic flavor of earlier works, notably 2003’s Black Cherry and its follow-up, Supernature. “We wanted to sort of bring the synths again,” Goldfrapp tells Billboard. “We loved (Tales Of Us) very much, but we felt like it would be nice to introduce synths and a different kind of, sort of a tougher sound, maybe, something a bit like Supernature or Black Cherry.”
“But,” she adds, “we were also quite conscious of not really repeating ourselves. We wanted to do something a bit more minimal than those albums.”
Goldfrapp says that “it took us awhile to get off the ground” with Silver Eye, both for songwriting and sonics. “It always takes about three months to write all the rubbish out of your system before you get something you like,” Gregory explains. The duo found its way with the help of some new collaborators. Goldfrapp and Gregory traveled to Dallas — “In August,” she notes — to work with John Congleton (St. Vincent) and worked back home with Bobby Krlic (aka the Haxan Cloak) and Brian Eno cohort Leo Abrahams.
“I think we’ve always welcomed new heads into our slightly strange headspace,” Gregory says, “but I think we struggled, actually, to find the right heads. So we were casting the next around and were very lucky to find these guys. I think they just synced in with where our heads were. They brought in things to it we can’t do ourselves.”
“Ocean,” meanwhile, was created by the duo during a morning session and built from what Goldfrapp calls “a very small improvisation. I remember coming into the studio one morning and I think we just had a few drums going and it was really basic. Will said, ‘Do you fancy doing some vocals this morning?’ I was really pissed off, in a really bad mood. I was having a bit of a weird time. So I was like, ‘Alright then’ and slightly reluctantly I went into the vocal booth and the words just came out. We tried to re-record the vocals four or five times but never quite had the same sort of atmosphere as that original vocal, so in the end we decided to keep it.”
Goldfrapp will preview Silver Eye’s release with a four-show U.K. run that starts March 20 in Oxford, and the group will also play a pair of dates April 26-27 in Brooklyn along with a trio of U.K. festivals. “We’re going to do a full tour in the autumn, which we hope will include more America and the rest of Europe,” Goldfrapp says. “We’d like to do a big show, too — if someone will give us the funding.”