“There’s some­thing re­ally sat­is­fy­ing about go­ing ‘er­rrrrrhh­h­h­hhh’ on a syn­the­siser. It sat­is­fies some ba­sic need”

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Music -

full of ter­ri­ble clichés, so it’s an even more per­ilous place to pick your sounds from. But it’s also quite en­ter­tain­ing.”

Record­ing the ma­jor­ity of the al­bum in Gre­gory’s home stu­dio also made a dif­fer­ence to the band’s cre­ativ­ity. While their early days were rife with un­happy record­ing ex­pe­ri­ences in des­o­late cot­tages or, as Gold­frapp puts it, “ex­pen­sive, clin­i­cal” stu­dios, hav­ing the time to de­velop an al­bum makes all the dif­fer­ence. “I sup­pose it’s the dif­fer­ence be­tween sit­ting in an of­fice, and be­ing some­where you can stare out the win­dow for half an hour without think­ing ‘Shit, I’ve just spent an­other £10,000’,” she says with a wry smile.

As in­su­lar and in­tu­itive as their set-up seems, Head First also marks the first time that an out­sider has been drafted in for what Gre­gory calls an “au­di­tion of sorts”. Richard X, the pop mas­ter­mind be­hind al­bums by Róisín Mur­phy, M.I.A. and, er, Lib­erty X, took al­bum tracks Alive and Rocket away to work on last year, al­though it was only his ideas on the for­mer that made the fi­nal cut.

“We’ve had this kind of love-hate re­la­tion­ship with the idea of a pro­ducer, al­most since the beginning,” Gre­gory ex­plains. “I think we felt that it’d be great to have an­other pair of hands in there, but we were never quite sure what those hands should be do­ing. But we kind of feel like hav­ing some­one to tell us ‘Is this a verse, or is this a cho­rus; is this a song, even, or should we just bin it?’ you know, what­ever it is – some­one to just give us a bit of sup­port.

“Ob­vi­ously, we sit in our houses for hour af­ter hour, day af­ter day, on our own try­ing to work this stuff out. And we saw lot of peo­ple; it was quite en­ter­tain­ing, and it was quite use­ful, be­cause we played peo­ple four or five songs, or wher­ever we’d got to – and just get­ting their re­ac­tion was ac­tu­ally quite in­ter­est­ing. Richard X to­tally got what we were do­ing.”

The duo re­cently men­tioned that 2008 also saw them tus­sle with man­age­rial prob­lems, al­though they deny it had any sort of im­pact on the al­bum. Over the 10 years of their ex­is­tence, though, they both agree that mu­si­cians have in­evitably be­come in­ter­twined with the busi­ness side of things – not least be­cause of the boom in il­le­gal down­load­ing. They are some­what re­signed to hav­ing their mu­sic leaked ahead of sched­ule.

“If it wasn’t leaked, maybe that’s more wor­ry­ing, in a way. It’s just a fact of life,” Gold­frapp shrugs. “It makes the whole


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