Wednesday, November 5, 2008, 07:11 PM ( 8053 views ) - Interviews - Posted by dagmarsieglindeI talked with Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo of the Raveonettes before their most recent show in Seattle. I wanted to know about what scares these cool people and I had to grill Sune on his Christmas fixation. This is a band I fell in intense love with the first moment I heard them Ė they have held this love now for over six years.
Since the release of the astounding Lust Lust Lust in early 2008, Sharin Foo had her first daughter, Molly, and the band released three more eps: Beauty Dies, Sometimes They Drop By and the Raveonettes Remixed . Plus there's talk of a Christmas ep.
Q: I have some questions that I have never seen asked of you two. What are your earliest memories?
Sune Rose Wagner: That is actually a very good question. Sometimes I think about it and I really donít know. I have a lot of childhood memories but I donít know which would be my earliest.
Sharin Foo: I think some of my earliest are probably from when I was in China Ė when I was three years old. I think that was so intense and different for me. I have some very vivid memories from being there. I was in a village where my grandfather was from and they didnít have any toilets. So my dad had to take me outside and they had these little black pigs that would run around and I was so scared that they would come towards me. And they would Ė they would get into everything.
Q: That would be scary.
SRW: Thatís terrible.
Q: So what are some good memories Ė or bad, I guess?
SRW: I remember burning my hand on the electrical lawn mower once. I couldnít have been very old because my dad was still living at home Ė it was before they got divorced. I remember it being wrapped up in a big bandage and we used to call it the crocodile because it resembled a weird looking crocodile. But I think I was pretty old, like six or seven. I lost all my memories.
Q: Sharin, your dad was a musician Ė what does your mom do?
SF: My mom works in accounting.
Q: Sune, youíve mentioned your parents werenít musical?
SRW: No, my dad was working with antennas . . . an engineer. My momís been a school secretary all her life.
Q: How did they come up with your names, like your middle name?
SRW: My middle name is my momís name.
Q: And they spelled Sharin with an i?
SF: Thatís from my dad, back in those days when he was meditating a lot. I was supposed to be Simon if I had been a boy. I donít have a middle name.
Q: What scares you? Whatís your biggest fear?
SRW: My biggest fear? I think thereís a lot of them.
SF: There are fears on different levels. I mean Iím scared of spiders and Iím scared of the dark. But if you say biggest fear it would be the atomic bomb, or a big world war.
SRW: Iíll quote that guy from that great movie Young Sherlock Holmes ďMy biggest fear is that I never want to be aloneĒ. I think thatís kind of true. I like that.
Q: What frustrates you?
SRW: A million things. Lack of sleep. Being sick. Working too hard.
Q: Is this the first cd youíve produced on your own?
SF: No - Whip It On, too.
Q: Is it easier to do it all yourself?
SRW: Weíve never really worked with a producer in that sense. With Richard Gottehrer [producer of Chain Gang of Love] he was our friend, so it was more based on friendship and wine. Iíve never tried to work with, you know, Rick Rubin so I have no idea what that would be like. Weíre not a regular band Ė we donít have a drummer and a bass player and we donít write songs together. Itís very natural to do stuff at home.
Q: What are some of your scariest or best drug experiences?
SRW: Scariest drug experience? I donít think Iíve ever had one of those.
Q: Thatís good.
SF: I had a bad experience with ecstasy. I was hyperventilating. And then one time I was smoking weed . . . hash is not my drug because I get too stoned.
Q: I was reading that you edited the video for You Want the Candy Ė do you want to do more of that?
SRW: I hope not, no. We [Sharin and I] werenít in the same place together and we needed a video. Someone had to do it.
Q: I just thought maybe youíd found some new love.
SRW: No, it would probably be fun if you had time to do it.
Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo in Seattle, March 2008 - photo by Dagmar
Q: Was the new cd difficult to make? It seems like the vocals are very complicated.
SRW: I donít think in that sense it was hard but it took a little bit longer to find out what we wanted. Thatís actually the part I donít like about starting a new album. It seems very exciting at first but then once you get started you hit on dead ends. One day you like this and the next day you like something else. It just seems so confusing. I like it when you know what you want.
SF: It wasnít more difficult than the other albums in the recording process but like Sune was saying, it was a longer time coming.
Q: How did you decide The Beat Dies was going to be just Sharin? And Blush is mostly Sune?
SRW: The Beat Dies just sounded really great with her voice on it. It just fit the song really well. With the Blush thing, I think I had just recorded a vocal on it, so I had it but I just ended up liking it. It seemed very passionate, so we liked that. Both of those songs were very hard songs to harmonize to.
SF: Itís also nice to utilize the fact that we have two different voices. Oftentimes when we sing together they sort of melt together. Itís hard to tell whoís who, and I think it makes it more multi-faceted Ė the different personalities in the vocals.
Q: I was reading something in Filter about Sune liking Christmas a lot and having Christmas trees up all year round.
SRW: I like all the lights. I think itís nice ornamentation. Itís just a nice place for me to relax and feel comfortable. Itís not something I really think about, it just makes me feel comfortable.
Q: I can understand that. There are a lot chimes and bell sounds in your music Ė do you think thatís where it comes from?
SRW: It could be. When I was a kid I was alone a lot and I liked being alone. I used to sit in my room Ė in the old days it used to snow a lot, it doesnít snow that much anymore Ė and I just remember sitting in my room. It was all nice and warm and it was dark and snowing outside and I had the lights on. It was just a nice place for me to be Ė I felt inspired and very happy. Maybe itís just something thatís stuck with me over the years. I do like a lot of old Christmas music that I think is very beautiful. Even some of the tacky stuff like Perry Como. Nat King Cole, Phil Spector, Bing Crosby, Dean Martin and Sinatra Ė thereís a lot of good stuff on it. And obviously with the bells and chimes and stuff, some of it came from there for sure. We used to use the jingles a lot in our music. We donít use it on this album but even from Whip it On there are a lot of jingles on there. That Great Love Sound has jingles.
Q: I love that.
SF: We do listen to Christmas music. Maybe we are sort of brainwashed.
Q: What do have dreams about?
SRW: I have nightmares all the time. Everything Ė killing people, shooting people . . . at least four times a week. I think Iím just growing through a change and my dreams reflect that. I need to get rid of a lot of bad things, apparently.
SF: I dream about my friends a lot Ė and my family.
Q: Hereís kind of an open question, what do you find sexy?
SRW: I like women who have jobs. I like women who are very determined and have a goal. I like career people, people who strive for something, who burn for something. I think thatís very sexy. I never really liked people who didnít want to do anything or who were lazy. That does not appeal to me whatsoever.
SF: People with strong personalities Ė people who have a strong sense of who they are and what they want. Sweetness, intelligence and humanity. Things like that.
Q: I asked Sharin about this in our earlier interview, but Sune do you like shopping for clothes?
SRW: I do. I donít do it very often but Iím good at speed shopping for clothes. I like vintage shopping when I know the stores are good, like in Portland. I always find great stuff there.
Q: I read somewhere that you called this your Doors album? Do you like the Doors?
SRW: I love the Doors. I meant in the sense that we have a keyboard bass on the album which the Doors used to have. If you listen to Black Satin, that rhythm is typical Ray Manzarek style playing like he does in The End and all those great songs. Thatís very typical in playing the piano Ė you would play the bass like that. It also has a mystifying, California feel to it that I think the early Doors had, when they used to make music out on Venice Beach.
Q: What do you do in your downtime to relax?
SRW: I watch movies, I walk a lot, I go out to restaurants and I sit at home and write music and read. I go to the shooting range, actually. I really like to shoot rifles. I just try to do fun stuff. I go to yoga sometimes. I want to go play golf Ė Iíve done that a bunch of times and I thought it was relaxing. Maybe Iíll even go take a swing at a baseball, why not?
Q: Youíre really open to trying different things.
SF: For me itís really, like Suneís saying, to enjoy your life when youíre home. I just really love having my home and my family Ė the books and the movies Ė I love cooking. I like my every day life when Iím home. Itís very exotic to me because I donít get to spend much time there. I go hiking in the mountains around Los Angeles. I like to go to the Pacific Ocean.
Q: Have you seen any cougars yet while youíre hiking?
SF: I havenít. I havenít seen rattlesnakes yet either. Iíve seen possums. Thereís lots of little animals around. Skunks.
Q: Do either of you have pets?
SF: A cat.
Q: Sune, you should have a cat too.
SF: He had a dog but he didnít like it, so he sold it.
SRW: I made a profit on it.
SRW: I should go into business.
Q: What kind of dog was it?
Q: I have a question thatís probably kind of impolite. How did you hurt your tooth?
SRW: It just fell out one day.
Q: Did it hurt?
SRW: No, it was just an old tooth. I used to have a lot of accidents as a kid so most of my teeth are fake or half fake.
Q: Itís charming though.
SRW: Thatís what some people say. My mom doesnít think itís very charming. She thinks I look like a thug.
I took photos of their show that night and you can check out their tour dates here.
And I recommend listening to Aly, Walk With Me.