Thursday, September 24, 2009


Rave On, Raveonettes!
An exclusive interview with The Raveonettes' 
Sune Rose Wagner
Text by Stephen SPAZ Schnee

When an unknown band releases their first EP or mini-album, the general public seldom takes notice until a full album hits the shops. This, fortunately, was not the case for The Raveonettes. When Whip It On hit the shelves in 2002, critics and music fans immediately stood up and cheered. With great press and radio play, the Danish duo was a hit right out of the box. With a fuzzed-out Jesus & Mary Chain backdrop and gorgeous boy/girl harmonies, The Raveonettes were a sight for sore eyes and ears.
With each subsequent release, the duo could do no wrong. Here was a band that was well-versed in Pop music history, combining their influences into one big ball of fire: ‘50s cool, ‘60s charm, ‘80s smarts and ‘90s integrity. From the very beginning, Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo had it all except, thankfully, ‘70s excesses.
With their new album, In & Out Of Control, The Raveonettes take their signature sound to the next level. While holding onto what makes them so unique, the duo have come up with their most accessible album to date. Each song is so sweetly melodic that they melt in your mouth. Imagine taking Jesus & Mary Chains’ Darklands album and having The Shangri-Las come in and sing duets and backing vocals along with the Reid brothers. Then, add some delicious keyboards to the mix and you’ve got The Raveonettes latest opus!
I was able to reach out to guitarist Sune Rose Wagner as the band prepared for their tour and, while he was knee deep in the hoopla, he was still more than happy to discuss the new album and more…

SPAZ: What were your earliest musical influences while growing up?
SUNE ROSE WAGNER: I grew up with a variety of musical influences: RUN D.M.C, The Beastie Boys, everything Hip Hop really, Bob Dylan, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and girl groups from the early 60's.

SPAZ: Do you remember the exact moment when you realized that you wanted to be a musician?
SRW: My parents gave me a drum kit when I was 5 years old, but it wasn't until I saw Dire Straits on BBC that I realized the power and impact you could have in front of so many people! It blew me away.

SPAZ: What was the Copenhagen scene like when The Raveonettes first got together, and has it changed much over the years?
SRW: I had been traveling in the States for years when I decided to go back to Copenhagen to get the band together, so I wasn't really aware of what was happening. The purpose for The Raveonettes, in the beginning, was to get out of Denmark and play… so we only really did a handful of shows there before we played CBGB's for the first time. Don't know what the scene was like and I don't really follow it now, either.

SPAZ: Was it your original plan to form The Raveonettes as a duo?
SRW: Yes. We're a duo but when we play live, we're 2,3,4 or 5 people.

SPAZ: Your debut album, Chain Gang Of Love, was created under a strict set of rules (entirely in B-flat minor, surrounded by only three chords, and each song had to be less than three minutes long). For each subsequent album, did you follow a similar set of rules?
SRW: Only for Chain Gang Of Love. I love working under strict restrictions, it's very healthy and inspiring: more bands should try it. We always have a few "rules" when we record.

SPAZ: As a duo, how difficult is it to actually sift through your material and decide what goes on the album and what doesn't?
SRW: Extremely easy, and that was part of being a duo really: easy decisions and not too many arguments.

SPAZ: Do you have a stockpile of unreleased Raveonettes tracks that might be released one day?
SRW: Hundreds of songs, yes. We'll definitely release them some day.

SPAZ: In And Out Of Control, while retaining the unique Raveonettes sound, is your most consistent album to date (and that is saying a lot!). Did you approach the songwriting differently on this album or did it all come organically?
SRW: We didn't have one single song before we went into the studio, so everything was written right then and there. That was definitely new to us. We worked under strict deadline and there were moments where we didn't think we would finish an album, but we did and we're still very surprised.

SPAZ: How do you keep things fresh and interesting each time you go into the studio? The new album sounds as invigorating and exciting as most bands' debut albums!
SRW: Thanks! I think it was because everything was made right on the spot. I don't even know the songs that well yet cause they're so new to me. I guess the spontaneity adds to the freshness. We basically recorded an album while writing it.

SPAZ: While you consistently evolve with each release, do you ever feel like breaking the mold and just starting all over again with a completely new sound and style?
SRW: Yes. Longevity in bands is a strange thing ‘cause it's very hard for bands to renew themselves.

SPAZ: In And Out Of Control is filled with possible hit singles. Do you have any control over what actually gets picked as a single release?
SRW: Yes, we're in full control of everything we do.

SPAZ: You're just about ready to go out on tour. Is it exciting to take a new album out on the road?
SRW: Very exciting! This tour is gonna be so good cause we have so many great ideas about how to perform the songs and how they should be treated live. We're really gonna take our time getting all the way into the core of the songs.

SPAZ: What's next for The Raveonettes?
SRW: You said it, touring.

SPAZ: What do you currently have spinning in your CD and DVD players?
SRW: “Enola Gay” by OMD and “Gimme The Loot” by Notorious B.I.G.

Thanks to Sune Rose Wagner

Special thanks to Bob Ardrey

Rave on,
Stephen SPAZ Schnee

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