Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Raveonettes in Amsterdam (now with interview)

Tonight the Melkweg's Oude Zaal is not sold out, not even the balcony is open - a surprise to myself and friends. After enough time to nurse a beer, get a good spot and wall of fuzz from the stage lasting as long as the 'Chicken v Peter Griffin fight', Sune Rose and Sharin of The Raveonettes take the stage and wash the crowd over with distorted white noise and harmonies they've become known for.

Their's is a package that has evolved from a restricted, highly self-aware duo aiming for purity in kitsch with their first two albums (recorded in B-minor and B-major), into a multi-faceted, unrestrained act on more recent records Lust Lust Lust and In And Out Of Control.

Sonically they're star-crossed lovers. A '60s Spector-pop chick coupled with the '50s rock n roller with Rebel Without A Cause disaffection nodding to '80s shoegaze ala Jesus & Mary Chain.

Sune Rose's loose guitar whines and chimes spaciously as the platinum Foo cuts a seductive visage through billows of smoke, the bass rumbles and the floor tom thunders - it's a very Lynchian affair on the slower, moodier songs. None more so than on song of the night 'Aly Walk With Me' (maybe it's just the title reminds me of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me) from Lust Lust Lust, churning out a chugging and hypnotising rhythm until it explodes into wall of noise and the strobes refresh faster than Sonic the Hedgehog, threatening all that don't look away a possible fit. Elsewhere there's the punchy 'Break Up Girls' from fresh album of October,In And Out Of Control.

Electro-rock 'n' roll of 'Love in A Trashcan' from Pretty in Black kicks with surfy, hippy shake and the fuzzed-out twang on 'Dead Sound' from Lust Lust Lust echoes out.

I thought I'd dig up an old (and not so ground-breaking) interview from the archives of travel magazine TNT with Sharin from last year, while she was promoting Lust Lust Lust.

Sharin Foo is in a van on her way to Canada for “work, work, work”. You’d think she had a gruelling job by the tone in her voice but the stunning blonde Dane of The Raveonettes is on her way to Toronto and Montreal to play shows off the back of new record Lust Lust Lust, she’s passing the time watching Twin Peaks.

So who killed Laura Palmer?
“It was her dad, but he was inhabited by an evil spirit,” she says.

The Raveonettes are kinda like the town of Twin Peaks, where clean and innocent 50s rock 'n' roll and 60s pop merges with the darker side of 80s shoegaze sinister. Previous records Whip It On, Chain Gang Of Love and Pretty in Black were influenced by Buddy Holly and The Ronettes with tales of teen rebellion. But on Lust Lust Lust the sinister rises to the surface.
“Lust Lust Lust is probably our darkest album to date. It’s intimate yet noisy and intense.”

Pretty In Black was a homage to ‘50s and ‘60s artists and American, nostalgia. Did you have a theme for this album?

No, not really. I think its theme is more personal, more reflection. I would say it’s a documentary rather than fiction. Even Pretty In Black wasn’t meant to be a homage to the past, it embraced technology which we always do. I guess our inspiration came from people who collaborated with us: Ronnie Spector, Maureen Tucker and Martin Rev (of Velvet Underground), so we were paying tribute to our inspiration.

Your first two albums were recorded entirely in B flat. You broadened your range on Pretty In Black. Do you feel Lust Lust Lust is even more open?

It’s not a conscious decision to do something a specific way. I mean, not for this album, and it wasn’t for Pretty in Black either. I guess Whip It On and Chain Gang of Love had guidelines which were the one key, three chords, stuff like that. For this album there was no specific guidelines but there was a very minimal approach and that’s the very natural approach. That’s just the way it’s turned out.

You have moved from Denmark to the USA. What is it about living in America that fascinates you?

There’s something fascinating about living in a country that is so big, when coming from Denmark. There’s a feeling of space and something spectacular which is unusual when you’re from a small country of five million people in Scandinavia.

You’ve been to Australia before. Did you get to experience the large landmass that is Australia?

The only experience was flying for a long time to Perth, like flying across the US. We were working so hard we didn’t get to embrace the whole travel feeling.

Where was the first place you travelled to without your parents?

I went to China, but with my grandparents when I was 12 years old. My grandfather is Chinese. We went to visit the family.

Any culture shock?

I was still a little girl but I don’t know if I had any culture to get a culture shock. It was very chaotic, but I’ve been to China six or seven times now so I’m used to it.

How do you get a feel for a particular city when you’re travelling?

It depends on what city it is. I like to be able to walk around and get a vibe. Ask people you meet and the people at the hotel where their favourite place to go is.

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