Tuesday, October 16, 2007
“We’re only two days in and we’re already fucking tired,” says Sune Rose Wagner to David Shankbone as he walks into the dressing room at the Bowery Ballroom. Wagner and Sharin Foo comprise the Raveonettes, a group made for “nostalgists who long for Everly Brothers 45’s and diner jukeboxes, the Raveonettes tweak “American Graffiti”-era rock with fuzzed-out surf-guitar riffs,” said The New York Times. They recently left Columbia and signed with Fierce Panda because they felt constrained by their Columbia contract: “The major label system sometimes doesn’t allow for outside “help” to get involved, meaning that we don’t get to choose who we wanna work with. That can be a pretty terrible thing and bad things will surely come of it,” said the band on their MySpace site. Originally from Denmark, both musicians live in the United States now.
Their first EP, Chain Gang of Love, was a critical and commercial success. “Few albums provoke such amazing imagery,” said the BBC. “Pretty in Black is virtually fuzz-free,” said Rolling Stone of their next album, “highlighting the exquisite detail in the Raveonettes’ gift for pastiche: the prowling, garage-surf guitars in Love in a Trashcan; the ghost dance of Red Tan, wrapped in Phil Spector-style sleigh bells.” Of their current album, Lust Lust Lust, set to be released on November 5th (although Amazon says March 4, 2008), Sune told NME that, “There are a lot of songs that deal with desire, restlessness and the tough choices you have to make sometimes.” Fans can hear some of the new material at MySpace.com/TheRaveonettes.
Below is Wikinews reporter David Shankbone’s interview with Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo.
David Shankbone: No, I drank so much green tea today I am worried I am going to need to pee throughout the interview.
DS: I used to. How is the tour going?
DS: You guys played in Southpaw right; how was that?
DS: This interview may be something different than you guys are used to, because although the questions will be about your music, they will be more about the both of you. They are surveys of the landscape. For instance, in the last week I have interviews the proprietors and mistresses of an S&M dungeon; Evangelical Christian Presidential candidate Sam Brownback, the President of the ACLU, Augusten Burroughs, and the High Priest of the Church of Satan, and now you.
DS: A lot of the questions might be a little different than what you are typically used to; maybe that will make it more interesting for you, or less pleasant. One of the first questions I like to ask musicians is about the challenge to be innovative when so much has already been done. How do you not let that affect your output?
DS: Was that your Dogme influence?
DS: You embrace it.
DS: It’s too self-aware?
DS: Since you are so upfront about your influences, you do still have unique sound. Do the constant comparison in the music media grow tiresome?
DS: Did you guys follow the Phil Spector trial?
DS: Knowing Ronnie Spector it must have been an interesting perspective to see it from.
DS: Dogme influenced you guys early on, does it still?
DS: Are you more inspired by things in nature or man made things?
DS: Sure; made by man.
DS: It’s an open question.
DS: Like cities vs. mountains.
DS: Sune, you went through a period where you got really tired of LA and New York and traveled around the United States. What did you find when you traveled across the country?
DS: How did you react to that?
DS: Did you find the blue states more hospitable than the reds states?
DS: Do you think the religion adds an element of beauty or a fearful element to the culture?
DS: The kind practiced here, the kind of Christianity found here.
DS: They just aren’t in madrassahs…
DS: If you could choose your own death, how would you die?
DS: You wouldn’t want to experience it?
DS: What is fearful about it?
DS: Especially at a young age, but if you are creative and have an imagination, it makes it that much scarier.
DS: Sharin, did you ever have a moment where you confronted your own death?
DS: What was it?
DS: [Laughs] That would have made a great end to the interview!
DS: What’s your favorite curse word?
DS: What do you think is the greatest depth of human misery?
DS: Starving to death?
DS: And seemingly so few people are paying attention.
DS: Has the Iraq War affected either of you as artists at all?
DS: How about as people?
DS: How so?
DS: Why do you have such a particular interest in Chechnya?
DS: Beslan was it?
DS: But it was ideology and not oil…
DS: Why do you think it’s not talked about?
DS: You’re forced to choose between having either India or China blown off the face of the Earth, and if you don’t choose, they both go. They are equal in population according to the 2000 census in each country, with each having roughly 1.2 billion people. Which do you choose, and why?
DS: You would go with China too, then?
DS: Really? They’ll all go?
DS: Sharin, you have a choice between either dating a man who is losing it hair and he tries to style the remaining hair artistically to cover it up, or you have a choice of dating a man with man boobs–
DS: Who would you go for more?
DS: Isn’t every question?
DS: You’d go for the hair?
DS: You’d go for the man boobs?
DS: Like a masectomy bra?
DS: Oh! He went through an operation?
DS: When I was in college I had a couple of friends who were rave kids–they also went to my college–and the guy walked around with very large breasts, and our friend Koo would follow him on the street and after he passed people who noticed his large breasts she would go up and say, “Would you let that man babysit your children?” to see the reactions from people. “Do you trust him?” It was surprising, because the people who looked the most uptight generally responded with things like, “Yeah, sure, he doesn’t seem so bad.” But the people who looked the most hippie and free–this was in Boulder–would say things, “I don’t know! What’s wrong with him, why does he have breasts?”
DS: What would bother you more in bed, somebody who is overly flatulent, or somebody who speaks in a little baby voice?
DS: The baby voice?
DS: Creep you out a bit?
DS: Sharin do you find it difficult dating?
DS: How do you try to circumvent those problems?
DS: What traits do you deplore in other people?
DS: Any certain type of ignorance?
DS: Which traits do you deplore in yourselves?
DS: Are you really all those things?
DS: And you deplore that about yourself?
DS: Do you do anything to get over those things?
DS: But I’ve read interviews with you where you talk about the wild party scene in Los Angeles…
DS: Yeah, in preparation for this I read where you talked about that in an interview…
DS: Is that the trait that you deplore in him?
DS: Is there a trait that you deplore in Sharin?
DS: Are you late a lot?
DS: What do you most value in your friends?
DS: Do you keep a large circle of friends or do you tend to keep it close?
DS: How many friends do you have that if you were to self-destruct, they would be there for you?
DS: Close friends like I asked you about?
DS: I keep it pretty close or I find it too overwhelming because I am always working on projects and I need to concentrate. But in terms of self destruct? If I was to self destruct I would say four people that would be there.
DS: No, I didn’t, either. How about you? If you self-destructed how many people could you count on to stay by you?
DS: Did you include Sune in your count?
DS: As your fame has increased, have you found it more difficult to trust people?
DS: Do you guys see an end to the band, a day when you can see yourselves feeling done with it?
DS: You couldn’t imagine being 867-5309 guy?
DS: Are there venues that you guys haven’t played that is your dream venue?
DS: [Laughs] You made it!
DS: Do you have a venue, Sharin?
DS: Are there any bands you guys would love to play with?
DS: Are you more worried about him being intimidating or disappointing?
DS: Do you believe in a higher power?
DS: Do you really?
DS: How do you think that is possible?
DS: Not including any time in the 20th Century, what time would you go back to?
DS: Can you go ahead in your time machine?
DS: What if you walked out and it was Planet of the Apes?
DS: What if you could only use it one time, and once you are there, you’re stuck, would you go ahead in time?
DS: Really? That’s a big ambition there with your time machine.
DS: Just yourself.
DS: So if you could choose one person, who would you choose?
DS: Do you believe in a higher power, Sune?
DS: Did you see your death then?