Annette Brown, Lifetime The story of June Carter Cash comes to life in the…
- Posted on Jul 8th 2010 11:30AM by Shelley White
Lead singer Sharin Foo is as elegant and cool as you expect her to be. Lounging on a white leather banquette at Toronto's Hyatt Regency hotel with a glass of white wine at the ready, the black-clad Raveonettes singer and guitarist is every music nerd's dream date. What's not as expected is that she's also chatty and warm underneath her signature pale blonde fringe and rock goddess exterior.
Foo sat down with Spinner to discuss their in-progress new album, her sometimes tricky relationship with partner-in-crime Sune Rose Wagner, and the band's ultimate collaboration.
You're currently working on a new Raveonettes album -- any hints about the new songs?
No, it's really at an early stage. We had one song we tried out at Coachella, but we're still trying to find the direction, that always takes some time. But I will say we always tend to react against the previous album. So now we're all about going back to the very early sound of our music -- very raw, very minimalistic, not so many choruses as on the previous album [2009's 'In and Out of Control'].
Your music has long been influenced by '50s and early '60s artists like the Everly Brothers and Buddy Holly, and those sounds have recently turned up in albums by bands like Girls and the Morning Benders -- why do you think the music of that era is so appealing?
It's very simplistic songwriting. It makes you feel nostalgic and sentimental inside. It's a kind of innocent melodic sensibility, sort of joyful and celebratory, with a little bit of a fun twist. It's four chords, it makes you want to sing along with the melody. And it's the beat: Dum, da-dum, ding! Dum, da-dum, ding!
How much does current music and pop culture influence you?
It does, but I can't pinpoint anything in particular. On 'In and Out of Control,' when we were recording one of our songs, we were listening to some beats that RZA did for the Wu-Tang Clan and we were like, "We want something like this." Obviously it would sound completely different in our context, but yeah, we do draw inspiration from all areas. And I think there's a misconception about the Raveonettes being a very retro band, because actually we embrace technology. We always find a lot of inspiration in electronic music. So, we're old and new.
There's a dry, tongue-in-cheek sense of humour in your songs that turns up in other Scandinavian bands like Jens Lekman or Peter Bjorn and John -- does this have something to do with a Scandinavian sensibility?
I think it does. I think Scandinavians, we quickly overdose on something. If it's too sweet, it makes us want to vomit, and if it's too harsh, it's intimidating. It's almost like, when we do a song that's very serious, we need to add a little twist to it, a juxtaposition, like having a song that's very poppy but singing about addiction. I guess it's a cultural thing, it's like we can't do one thing full-on, it doesn't feel right, it's too much.
Your song 'Boys Who Rape (Must Be Destroyed)' is obviously about a very serious topic but the song itself is bouncy and almost joyful...
Yeah, a lot of the songs on 'In and Out of Control' are like that -- it almost catches you by surprise. And I think that makes it even more provocative and confrontational because you're not prepared. And I know a lot of people have taken offense to that particular song because they felt like we weren't being serious enough. But we were like, "No, we're being very serious." It's just that we put tragedy in a bubblegum exterior. And for us, that makes it even more devastating.
You and Sune appear very harmonious on stage together. Does that reflect your off-stage relationship?
It's all an act. [Laughs] No, we've always had a good dynamic. We do disagree a lot, but not about the direction of the music. And we have a lot of similar interests. But we are really like total opposites, personality-wise. Sune is really like, super high-maintenance and I'm like, super low-maintenance. [Laughs] No, I just think we complement each other really well because we have really different strengths and we help each other where we have weaknesses. And we've had good times and bad times. We've had some really difficult times in the Raveonettes where we didn't have a good dynamic with each other, and then everything kind of goes down from there. So we also really make an effort to try and be harmonious, because if we're not, we don't make good music, we don't do good shows and we don't have a band.
You are known as film fans, can you recommend a film that you think everyone should see immediately?
The last movie that really made that impact on me was a contemporary piece by a Swedish director, 'Let the Right One In.' It's like nothing I've ever seen before, but it felt like someone who really knew his movies. I could feel Tarkovsky, or even Bergman, and then obviously vampire movies, but then there was so much tenderness and poetry. I thought it was incredible.
I'll tell you something really exciting, we just got an email a week ago from David Lynch's assistant. Unfortunately it's not about a movie, but his art exhibition that's been touring is coming to Denmark. There's going to be a big gala and he wants us to play. We were so excited about that. I mean this is what we've been wanting to do always, to work with someone like David Lynch, who has this incredible combination of history with something completely new and unique.
So do you think that opens the door to working on a film with him?
We would love to do a collaboration with someone like him. That would be our dream, to do a really great soundtrack. I think that would be the next step for us, something that we would be really engaged in.