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Raveonettes - Interview

  by Anthony Strutt

published: 16 / 2 / 2003

Raveonettes - Interview


Danish duo the Raveonettes seven track debut mini album 'Whip It On' has earned the band favourable comparisions with My Bloody Valentine, the Jesus and Mary Chain, Ride and the Cramps. Anthony Strutt talks to his new favourite band

The Raveonettes features Sune Rose Wagner on guitar and vocals and Sharin Foo on bass guitar and vocals. They have to date released one single, ‘Attack of the Ghost Riders’, which also opens up their new mini album ‘Whip It On’. ‘Whip It On’, which was originally released on the Danish label Crunchy Frog, is out now on Columbia. The Copenhagen duo have also released a two track single, ‘Experiment in Black’ exclusively for their e-mail listed fan base. This sold out last November. Their website can be found at www.theraveonettes.com. I caught up with my favourite new band on St Valentine’s Day in a tavern off Oxford Street in London, prior to a sell out show at the 100 Club. PB : I don’t know much about you guys, but the first thing that I read about you guys was the Time Out preview of your Water Rat’s show, which compared you to Creation’s My Bloody Valentine and Ride. My friend went to that show and said that you sounded like the Jesus and Mary Chain and that you opened with a feedback-drenched cover of Buddy Holly’s’Every Day’. Could you tell me a bit about the history of the band and how long you have been together and how long you have been going ? Sune : Yeah, I guess it started really back in January 1999. I was living in L.A. at the time and I started writing songs and then I moved to New York after that and I tried to find musicians to start a band with, but I couldn’t find anyone . I met tons of people and they all had the wrong attitude, so I thought of Sharin because I had known her back home a couple of years prior to that. PB : Back in Copenhagen ? Sune : In Copenhagen. Yeah ! I had heard that she had started to play bass and that she sounded good. I knew also that she had sung pretty much her whole life. I wanted to do a twin vocal thing and so I called her up and I played her the songs that I had written while I was over there and she liked them and that’s how we really started. Sharin : Yeah, we did a bit of touring together, just the two of us around Denmark, just kind of to try it out and to see if it clicked and it did. It all came together very naturally for us.and the vocals blended together in an interesting way and it all instantly sounded great. PB : Were you in any bands prior to writing those songs ? Sune : Yeah. I have been since I was about 16 or 17 in various bands. It was stuff in Denmark. (Later on that evening I bump into Dave Bedford of This Way Up Records, which was owned by Andrew Lauder, who discovered the Stone Roses, who tells me that Sune was in a band called Psyched up Janus, which was one of This Way Up’s less popular bands. They released an album called ‘Swell ‘. Other This Way Up artists have included Ian McNabb, Tinderstciks and the Warm Jets.) PB : Is there a healthy music scene in Denmark ? I know that Sweden has a good one. Sune : The Swedish scene has always been really good, but in Denmark people are a little lazy. Noone has even broken outside of Denmark. I think, therefore, that people have this attitude that it’s not really possible, so they get lazy and just book tours of Denmark. Right from the beginning we weren’t satisfied with that though. We had a feeling that people in Denmark wouldn’t appreciate our kind of music. Sharin : Which they didn’t. Sune : Which they didn’t. (We all laugh) Sune : You have never seen so many terrible reviews. Sharin : (Laughs). Sune : We always had London in mind for some reason. I don’t know why. And the States, so that’s what we aimed for really. PB : Fair enough ! Okay ! Why the name the Raveonettes. I assume, because of ‘Rave On’ and the fact that you open with ‘Every Day’, that there is a Buddy Holly connection there. Sune : Absolutely. It’s very simple. It’s named after “Rave On’, the Buddy Holly song. We are huge Buddy Holly fans and the ettes is definiterly a tribute to all the girl groups from the early 60’s. It’s really just because of that (Laughs). Sharin : It’s that simple. PB : Your music is very primitive. That’s what I like about it. Musically it sounds like very much like the Velvet Underground or the Jesus and Mary Chain, but the thing that did it for me was that you are very much into 50’s Schlock Sci-Fi/Horror films and B movies. Was that a shared passion ? Sune : Yes, we wanted the music to be very cinematic. We wanted our songs to be like small stories, small movies that people could put their own pictures too. With each track, you would have different pictures in your head about what is going on and you could make up your own movie. A lot of our sounds and stuff are B movie-ish because those films are so simple they are almost humorous. if you see any of those films they are so simple that they are striking. We wanted to add that element to our music. I think we got fed up with music being so serious and so... Sharin : So pretentious. Sune : Yeah, so pretentious. We just wanted to make things really simple. PB : And to put some humour back into it ? Sune : We’ll tell a story, but you put your own pictures to it and you have your own funny little movie right there. Sharin : And, by using something as simple as the atmospherics of the 40’s and the 50’s, it makes it looks great. PB : That’s what I said when I reviewed ‘Whip it On’. I said that there was more colour in your black and white than most bands have in their careers. Sune : (Laughs) PB : Are the Mary Chain and the Velvets an influence ? Sune : Absolutely. We have a lot of great bands that we use as inspiration. Those are definitely two of them. Suicide is another. The Cramps are another. The Everly Brothers, with their vocals and their singing, are as well.. Sune and Sharin : Buddy Holly Sune : There’s a simplicity with each of them. Ritchie Valance. There’s loads of them. PB : They are all basically classic songwriters. Sune : Yeah, totally. We just wanted to do something that was very simply a back-to-basics three chord type of deal and then add our own element to it. We did all the beats. We didn’t use drums on the records. It was all sampled drums. Sharin : Our music has got a party vibe to it. We also consider groups like the B 52’s to be an influence. PB : ‘Whip It On’ is recorded in B Minor. Sharin : B Flat. PB : Why B Flat ? Do you think that it is a dirty sounding chord ? Sune : It was actually just a guitar thing really. It just happened that way. It could have been in any key I guess. PB : And the next album is going to be in the next key ? Sune : In Major. Yeah, B Major. Our intention was to do two mini albums, one in B Flat Minor and one in B Flat Major, but, after we did the minor one, things started to happen for us so quickly that we didn’t really have the time to do anything about it really. We had already written the songs for the next album, but then the ball started to roll. PB : And you haven’t had time to record it ? Sune : We have finished it now. Last month. It was meant to be an E.P., but we have turned it into a full length album with 13 tracks on it, all in B Flat Major. It’s got a totally different vibe to it because it’s in a Major. It’s a lot more accessible I think. More melodic. PB : But direction wise the new album is more full on and basically what are you doing now ? Sharin : Yeah, it still has that Raveonettes sound,as you know it, but it is different as well. There is more space and it’s an album full of hit songs, which is good. PB : You put out an internet single with two tracks on it for people joining your e-mailing list. Are those going to be on the next album ? Sure : No, we don’t like to recycle. Sune and Sharin : (Both laugh) Sune : We write so many songs that we can fortunately give some stuff away. It keep things fresh. PB : What has the reaction to the band been so far ? Sune : Great ! We have been selling out almost everywhere except in Denmark. We have stopped playing in Denmark now. The tour we are doing over here at the moment has just about sold out every day. It is quite amazing. We have played New York many times and a couple of other cities like L.A., but we haven’t really toured that much elsewhere in the States The vibe over there is now very strong, and they are really pulling for us to go back to the States as well. PB : You finished the album in New York, didn’t you, or is that going to be the third one ? Sune : That is the next one, the full length one. We finished that in New York and we then mixed it in London with Alan Moulder (who mixed the Jesus and Mary Chain’s ‘Automatic’ in 1989-AS) Sharin : The overall reaction has been really good, I thinl. It’s been exciting for us too. We did a tour in the UK in December, and to see the progress from then until now, to seeing no faces to actually seeing people out there and showing up for concerts has been great. Are you coming to tonight’s gig ? PB : Definitely, I’ve got my ticket. I went to your NME show a few weeks ago. I thought that you guys were great, but. to be honest, I thought that the rest of it was awful. Sune : Yeah. PB : I just thought that it was terrible. I went to the pub instead. Sune : We thought so too. Sharin : (Laughs) PB : And you have played Wembley too, which must have been nerve wracking. Sune : That was great actually. It wasn’t until afterwards when we sat there and drank champagne and we got drunk and then it was like “What just happened ? Oh, shit ! We just played Wembley ?” (We all laugh) Sune : It was kind of surreal . PB : I know that you’re on Columbia now which is part of Sony. How different is that from Crunchy Frog ? Sune : It’s a lot different. We put out the “Whip It On’ mini album on Crunchy in Denmark first, and Sharin and I wanted to move on. We wanted to, you know, get out of Denmark, so we brought back the rights for “Whip It On’ and then Columbia picked it up. PB : What about your future plans. You’re going to finish off the album, and then you’re going to do some more touring do more touring, and then tour with Interpol in the States ? Is that correct ? Sune and Sharin : Yeah. PB : Have you met them yet ? Sune : We met them at the NME show. They came up and said ‘Hi’. They seemed really nice. They really liked our music. I haven’t heard their music yet, but I hear it’s good and I’m looking forward to it. PB : It’s very Joy Division. It’s very dark. It’s a good double bill. Sune : It should be great. PB : I have only seen you as a support slot. Is your headliner set much longer ? Sune : Not much longer. We like to do as short a set as possible, but as we are headlining we have to do a bit more or otherwise people will be disappointed. We will do 35 or 40 minutes. Sharin : All the songs are in the same key. It would be a bit of a challenge for people to listen to if it was like one and a half hours. Sune : Our songs are also really short. so we would have to play like 60 songs and we don’t want to do that. PB : Britain that has had the Jesus and Mary Chain for 15 years now, so we can handle our noisy bands. It’s not a problem. We like our bands to be noisy. Sune and Sharin : (Laugh) PB : We can handle a 2 hour set of feedback. Sharin : That’s good. PB : That’s it. Thank you Sune : See you later ? PB : Definitely Off interview, both Sune and Sharin say that they have non traditional Danish names. Sharin’s grandfather is Chinese. That’s why her surname is Foo.

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