The Raveonettes blend confrontation and sweetness
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Since 2001, the Danish duo of Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo dished out reverb-heavy doses of Buddy Holly crossed with doo-wop that could be as sexy as it was straightforward. Although The Raveonettes never gained the kind of mainstream saturation Columbia Records was hoping for in the mid-2000s, the duo has enjoyed much critical success, especially with 2008’s Lust Lust Lust. The recently released In And Out Of Control shifts to lighter, more electro-inflected numbers, but the tight two-part harmonies, blistering guitars and biting lyrics remain strongly intact. In advance of The Raveonettes' show Sunday at Metro, The A.V. Club caught up with Foo to talk about lightening up, and smooth over the rumors of feuding with their Control producer, Danish pop star Thomas Troelsen.
The A.V. Club: How does In And Out Of Control fit in with the rest of your discography?
Sharin Foo: It feels like we're always having a reaction to the previous album by doing something different. [In And Out Of Control] is a reaction to Lust Lust Lust in that way. We sat down and we talked that we wanted to do something more celebratory, we wanted to have choruses and we wanted to sing, we wanted to put that out to the world, out for the world. We didn't want to have so much reverb-drenched vocals and do something more innocent. We also wanted to have a producer: someone who could be constructive, maybe someone who would challenge us, to help shape the outcome, someone who could be the opposition to us. I mean, Thomas [Troelsen] is kind of a pop-head, you know, he's got his ways of making things catchy. Which goes back to wanting to make something celebratory, and make that part of our aesthetic. We are in fact quite fun, happy people.
AVC: The press release for In And Out Of Control makes it sound like working with Troelsen was a frustrating struggle. Was it?
SF: Well, no. I guess it's like a self-imposed struggle. We obviously could do whatever we wanted to do, and we wanted to put that kind of time constraint on ourselves. We'd always been demoing and putting things together by ourselves, but we wanted to have the pressure of studio time and a release date so we could go by intuition and see how that would work and maybe play around. It was a struggle because it is not easy to have a complete vision and be filling in parts, trying to find some common ground between the three of us.
AVC: How do you balance that desire to make something “celebratory” with the serious subject matter of songs like "Boys Who Rape (Should Be Destroyed)"?
SF: We've never liked going all the way with something; sweetness in music, sweetness in vocals, sweetness in words, sweetness in everything, it’s just too much. So I think it is our way of finding a balance. Even when there are some serious parts there is still a certain innocence. I'm sure some people don't like that we treat a serious topic like rape, treat it with that music that sounds real light but I think for us that makes it even more confrontational. I think we've always had that juxtaposition, that certain contrast and dialogue. You can digest things better when it has to be fun and serious at the same time.
AVC: What do you get from touring the U.S. that you don’t get touring elsewhere?
SF: I'll tell you what I love about here, which can also be the worst thing, but I really love the grandness of it, driving around and the space, the variety and the bigness of it. I don't feel like you get that the same way in Europe. But it's also a pain.
AVC: Especially if you are trying to go across the country. Do you reach a point of tour exhaustion?
SF: I feel like what we're actually doing is making sure we don't reach that point by not doing seven-week relentless tours around the U.S. We sort of do the East Coast, then the West Coast, the space in between. We know that we're not kids and we don't want to do the ongoing touring forever, and we're working so we don't get to that state.
AVC: What has changed most for you in your eight years as a band?
SF: It's not us against the world anymore, that's changed. I think we're more whole, we're not so scared of being the things we never wanted to be before.