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The Raveonettes

The Raveonettes

Interviewed by
Courtney Sanders
Friday 15th April, 2011 10:22AM

The Raveonettes are about to release their exceptionally titled fifth studio album, Raven in the Grave. UTR caught up with one half of the band, Sune Wagner, to discuss the record, their love of nostalgia, and why walking across 14 states of the US wielding a giant flag with a raven on it, was problematic.

You guys are on the brink of releasing Raven in the Grave. Tell me a little bit about how the album came to be?

This is first album we've done in our own studio in New York. After In And Out Of Control, we felt a need to take back control and make a truly beautiful and dark album. Sharin and I had an amazingly creative working relationship on this album and we absolutely love it.

Is there any overarching thematic countenance to the record?

Love and death.

Is it a progression from earlier Raveonettes albums, and if so, in what way?

Incredibly cinematic, haunting, almost all songs were composed on the piano meaning we ended up with some pretty interesting harmonies and arrangements.

Tell me about being a musical duo:

We love it every day! We can pick different musicians and spice touring life up quite a bit you know.

What’s the collaborative / creative process / relationship like?

I write all the ideas and Sharin comments on them and we start a pretty intense dialogue. She's a tough one to please but I respect her opinions and she's right a lot of the time.

Do you think it’s more or less limiting than being a larger band? Why?

No limitations in being a duo. We wouldn't want it any other way really. Only 2 opinions and that's more than enough.

What do you think is special about the dynamic between the two of you in the Raveonettes?

We're great friends, we're incredibly ambitious and we share a love for The Raveonettes like no other.

The visual accompaniment to The Raveonettes music is pretty massive. Why do you think the visual and accompanying creative material is an important part of a band?

It's like a movie, everything has to flow into one beautiful sequence.

You’ve released the video clip for ‘Recharge and Revolt’ (see below). Tell me a little bit about the making of the video, how the visual narrative came about, and what you were trying to express?

That song was written about the restless and nostalgic feelings I often get while traveling the US. It was written on a plane from NYC-LA. The video is about a man conquering his fears and learning to cope with the grandness of life, love and death. I walked through 14 states from NYC-LA and trust me, it was no easy walk, a lot of cops out there don't appreciate a Dane walking the backstreets and highways of America in a military jacket waving a huge black flag with a raven on it.

There seems to be an inherent nostalgic element to The Raveonettes? Is this a fair comment? What draws you to the eras you explore?

I'm a very nostalgic person and that's where my inspiration comes from. Not some long gone era but I'm nostalgic about things I experience in my life. I can stay at the shittiest motel and think this is the worst thing that ever happened to me but three months after I'll look back and long for those particular days, go figure.

You guys have been a band for a while now. Since you started the music industry has changed irrevocably. Do you think the way technology has affected the music industry is a good or bad thing? Tell me a little bit about your experience with it?

It's a very good thing. We're reaching our fans head-on. No middle men. People can write us anything and we'll try to find the time to respond. Our fans are everything to us and we respect and love them.

You are both originally from Scandinavia. How do you think your European heritage has affected your creative output? Do you think there is a particular creative philosophy from that part of the world?

I think we tend to have a bit of that Scandinavian bleakness, it's in our blood. Not a bad thing I guess. The winters are long and dark and that makes for some serious life evaluation. The summers, on the other hand, are the best in the world and people flourish and get really excited about life. We haven't lived there for 8 years now but it's still in our blood.

You’re about to embark on a pretty massive tour. What do you love / hate about the tour experience?

I don't like getting up early when you're on the road but other than that I like it. I can't wait to play these new songs to people, they're gonna freak out! We have 2 drummers now and it's insane!

Tell me about the future plans for the Raveonettes, particularly throughout 2011.

Touring and then recording of the next album which has almost been written.

What do you want fans to take away from the latest record?

A very different piece of music. I haven't heard anything that sounds quite like this, we're incredibly proud!

By Courtney Sanders