An interview with a musician can go very bad, very fast. The artist can show disdain for your questions, you in general, or have more interest in consuming drugs than actually talking.
That’s why it was such a relief to talk with The Raveonette’s Sharin Foo. She is genuinely nice. Now based in Los Angeles, while musical partner Sune Rose Wagner is based in New York, the two exchanged preliminary album work through files over the internet. Although it was challenging to create with so many miles between them, they never allude to a struggle on their latest, Lust, Lust, Lust.
An expose of sorts, their third album is full of their signature sound, but far more vulnerable and intimate than previous work. The album is out now in the U.K., as is the first single “Aly, Walk With Me,” which is laced with haunting vocals and intense, dissonant shredding. Fans of this oufit won’t be disappointed with the new material, even as the band attempts to reach new depths.
I spoke with Sharin about the new album when The Raveonettes stopped to play in Glasgow at King Tut’s.
How is the tour going so far?
It’s going well. We’re only a week into the release so people are starting to catch up on the new songs and they get excited when we play our single. I think we really nailed the live set up this time.
You just signed to Vice in the states and Fierce Panda in the UK. How are you hoping that these labels will differ from the majors?
The main difference for us is to have people in all the different countries who are genuinely excited and enthusiastic and engaged. I mean I don’t have a lot of bad things to say about being on Columbia, but really there were a few times when we felt like maybe a territory or a country were sort of forced to work with us and they weren’t really dedicated. Everyone that we signed with, we signed with them because we can feel that they are genuinely fans of the music.
What would you say are the best and worst aspects of touring?
The best aspects are playing the shows.
The worst are all of the traveling and the monotony of it. It’s not like we’re traveling and exploring, we’re driving to the next venue. I like to be home with my books and my movies in my little world. I miss that when I am away. I feel like its a very restless, rootless way of living.
How do you think Lust, Lust, Lust differs from your previous work?
It differs a lot from Pretty in Black. I think it’s actually more similar to the early work. The new album is very noisy which is similar to the older stuff like Chain Gang of Love but it’s very different from all of those albums. I think it is the darkest album we’ve made and I think it’s more intimate and personal. It’s got some moods on it that I think we’ve never really explored.
You’ve worked with Ronnie Spector and Moe Tucker. Are there any more collaborations in the works yet?
What we’re really looking at right now is giving it over to the remixers. We want to work with Trentemoeller (Danish DJ who recently collaborated with David Lynch), and we’re working with Nick Endo. I would love to get some of the guys from LCD Soundsystem to do something. We want to sort of pump it up, to be big and dance-y and just hear a different approach to the songs. I would like to do all kinds of other collaborations like soundtracks to movies.
Which lyric or track on the album are you most proud of?
I think the song ‘Lust’ is really the centerpiece in many ways. That was the song that paved the way for the rest of them – the one that became the direction of the sound and mood and the theme.
I love ‘Aly, Walk With Me’. It’s nice to do a song that’s so long, which is unusual for us. It’s really fun to play because it goes on and on. But then there’s a song like ‘The Beat Dies’ which I love because I sing it myself and I really love the sort of Twin Peaks mood of it. ‘Dead Sound’ and ‘Blush’ are really great to play live, very strong sort of powerful songs.
Are you interested in experimenting with different genres?
Sune and I have talked about doing a country album, in the sort of Gram Parsons vein. Or Hank Williams, something like that. Then we could go on tour and sit down and get really comfy and sing great country music harmonies.
How important do you think the visuals aspects of your band are?
When we make artwork for an album it’s something that we invest ourselves in a lot. It’s very important for us that it ties in with that music and emphasizes what the music sounds like. It’s a natural interest. We’re both big fans of art and movies, and art books. It’s another creative outlet. It really is important for us to have our fingers in everything.
Are you still in contact with David Fricke? (Fricke was instrumental in their initial success.)
We feel very grateful for the way that he supported the band early on. We just invited him to our show in New York. It’s very admirable the sort of excitement that he really has about music, going out and watching shows for the past I don’t know how many years. And he’s not jaded! He gets so excited about music. That means a lot to us that he came out and really loved it. We respect his opinion a lot.
Your holiday song, ‘The Christmas Song’ is featured in a Dobbies commercial (the garden supply shop). How did that come about?
They asked us. They keep wanting to have it every year. We’ve done everything from Kmart commercials and movies (‘Christmas with The Kranks’).
Are you concerned at all about backlash from using your music in a commercial way?
No. We got some reaction from the Kmart commercial in the U.S. It’s so difficult to get any kind of exposure. The radio doesn’t really play our music that much, especially not in the U.S., so that’s become another way to get our music out there. We would love for everybody to know our music.
If you weren’t a musician, what would you do?
Well, it’s difficult to say. I would’ve studied at university, maybe sociology or something like that, and probably had a job – a lot more stable life.
What would you like to see in The Raveonettes future?
Mainly I just want us to stay creatively inspired and make good albums. Obviously it would be great if we had huge commercial success. We wouldn’t mind that. Mainly just still enjoying it and staying motivated and creative.
Lust Lust Lust is out now.