Disco gal

Introducing a lean, mean disco machine: Alison Goldfrapp of the U.K.-based disco-glam duo Goldfrapp

Solid Goldfrapp
Introducing a lean, mean disco machine

Impressing Madonna can be next to impossible, but Alison Goldfrapp is getting to be a pro at it. As the phenom front woman of the U.K.-based disco-glam duo Goldfrapp, Alison first got the big M’s attention when her group’s debut album, Felt Mountain, hit the airwaves. The queen of pop was so impressed with Alison’s highly stylized sound (a haute hodgepodge of T.Rex, Kylie and Björk) that Madge asked the troop to sound track her then-bomb/now-cult film Swept Away. The duo wisely declined and, instead, opted to work on their second album, Black Cherry, and their recently released third album, Supernature. The result? Madonna told Billboard that the sharp nouveau-disco sounds of Supernature made the disc her favourite in 2005. In the midst of all this hot hype, FLARE spoke to Alison on the future of ’Frapp.

What was the first record you ever bought?
“Chaka Khan’s I’m Every Woman. She is a big woman with a big voice who is very confident. She represented this female power. I also looked up to Grace Jones.”

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The same type of theatrical glamour that disco produced is making a comeback in pop music today. Are you relieved?
“There was a bit of a lull—especially at the end of the ’90s—for glam. At the time, if you wanted to be taken seriously you had to dress in all black and be a bit poo-faced and look like a serious musician. That’s changed quite a lot. There are a few pop bands that are, at the moment, quite dramatic and stylized, which is a good thing. Bands such as Scissor Sisters and Franz Ferdinand are intelligent. Andre 3000 reminds me of what Prince might be doing if he were [current].”

So much of the music and fashion from the ’70s seem to be a big influence for you. Why are you so connected to that era?
“I suppose the ambiguity of it all. I just thought there was something sinister and yet playful about what [glam rocker] Marc Bolan did. His sound and expression was so sexy. The ’80s I don’t feel good about at all. I think they were really boring—politically, socially and culturally. That was not my era.”

Is there such a thing as good or bad taste in pop?
“You should have a good sense of yourself and what is boring or what isn’t. Does bad taste inform good taste? Yeah. They both work together. Bad taste is having an overblown sense of yourself or the world. It’s unimaginative to just put a bunch of designer clothes on and think that’s special.”

—Elio Iannacci

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