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Goldfrapp - Embracing the synthesiser

RG Jones provided the stage and control package for the latest Goldfrapp tour for the seventh album Silver Eye.  FOH engineer Simon Honywill gives us an inside view.

  • Goldfrapp - Embracing the synthesiser
  • Goldfrapp - Embracing the synthesiser
  • Goldfrapp - Embracing the synthesiser

There are the artists who use synthesisers, and there are the artists who truly embrace the synthesiser, and Goldfrapp fall firmly in the second camp.  Formed in 2000, Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory have subtly evolved into something of a national treasure, with each album uncovering musical paths that have surprised and outshone the competition and cemented a deep love for the band throughout their worldwide fan base.

No two Goldfrapp albums could be said to follow the same groove.  Within the song canon are pastoral folk, blatant pop, stomping electronica, burlesque and sweeping orchestral love songs, all imbued with a sense of mystery and in many cases a sense of familiarity that is often found in the best writing and arranging.  The latest album, Silver Eye, is massively powerful, combining elements of techno and ethereal soundscapes without ever losing sight of sheer class.

It is my absolute pleasure to be able to mix this band live, supported of course by a stage and control package from RG’s.  It is my second tenure at Front of House, having first got involved after the Head First album before handing over to ‘young’ Steve Carr. The current shows are a thumping romp from start to finish, pulling the greatest songs from Black Cherry, Supernature, Head First and Silver Eye together into a sonic assault that has everyone up and moving from the first note.  Every sound has been crafted by Will Gregory to fit exactly into the sonic picture, often using the cheapest of old Japanese synths as his starting point.  The band use a combination of samplers, synths, electronic and acoustics drums and electric bass, all backed up with some playback tracks to faithfully recreate the studio sounds, with some creative input from me to ensure the maximum live experience.

Alison is a mercurial presence onstage, and her extraordinarily varied vocal styles, ranging from a sensual whisper to an operatic soprano with everything in between, lend themselves to some funky vocal processing with delays, reverbs, chorus and phase, all done almost exclusively live.  This makes mixing the show a wholly involving process, and I revel in the chance to get stuck in with some esoteric plug-ins.  At my age, not much gets me dancing, but every single Goldfrapp show gets me going and puts a big smile on my face.

Goldfrapp will be playing various UK and European festivals throughout the summer, including Glastonbury (John Peel Stage) and Latitude, and touring the US, UK and Europe later in the year.  I can’t wait – hope to see you there!

It is my absolute pleasure to be able to mix this band live, supported of course by a stage and control package from RG’s.

Simon Honywill, FOH engineer for Goldfrapp