Artists and Bands

The Raveonettes’ Sharin Foo talks touring, nerves, being a duo, and opening for Iggy Pop

The Raveonettes are, by far, Denmark’s coolest export. The alt-rock duo is comprised of Sune Rose Wagner (who juggles guitar, vocals, and an array of other instruments, as needed) and Sharin Foo (who reigns over bass, guitar, and vocals.) October of 2009 saw the release of their fourth full-length album, In And Out Of Control, which was then followed by a string of live shows (and now, worldwide festival gigs). I caught up with Sharin in Toronto, during the NXNE festival, on the morning of The Raveonettes’ rocking gig, which saw them open up for Iggy and the Stooges in Yonge-Dundas Square.

Q: You’re scheduled to play a bunch of summer festivals all around the world, do you enjoy the traveling, or does it get tiring?

A: No, I like it actually. I actually do like playing only one, or two, or three shows; it’s really exciting. The traveling can be a little tiresome, jetlag and that kind of stuff, but I find touring can be a little harder sometimes because it’s so monotonous. You have to play five, six shows in a row and it’s harder to find that sort of excitement. So, actually, I do like doing the [dispersed] shows. It can be a little more terrifying because maybe it’s like a week or two since we played, and you’re like “oh, okay!,” but yeah, it’s fun.

Q: So do you prefer being in the studio, or on the road?

A: I prefer in-studio, and the creative process. I mean, I like playing shows, but touring can be hard and tedious, and I find it to be a difficult lifestyle … And I have a child so that also makes me want to be home more. But I like the different environments. I like the festivals, but I like to mix it up. I like playing a club too; it’s got a real sort of intimacy about it. And then playing tonight at Dundas Square is so big, and public, and a lot of people, and you’re out underneath the stars…

Q: And opening for Iggy must be a real treat?

A: We played a festival where he played, years back in New York, and it was just incredible [to see] the energy that he has in his body! Before he goes on stage, he’s like this on the spot [Sharin begins to move her feet as fast as she can, as if running in place] and then he just runs off. He’s a whirlwind.

Q: Do you have any pre-show rituals like that?

A: No, just try to feel good. I sort of like to internalize a little bit. I’m not a high energy person [so] it’s more about feeling really comfortable. So I just try to not have a lot of nerves around me. Just try to be with the band and focus.

Q: Do you get nervous before you get up on stage?

A: Yeah, most times, but not so that I can’t handle it. I’m not an anxious person by nature, but I can definitely get like, I’ve had too much coffee or something. That kind of feeling.

Q: So can you tell me a bit about The Raveonettes’ song writing process?

A: I’m actually not the songwriter in the band, Sune is the songwriter in the band … I give my feedback [when] he sends me a lot of little fragments, ideas, melodies, lyrics. He’s in New York, I’m in L.A., so we email a lot. Our thoughts, ideas, and inspirations; what we’re thinking about. So it’s just trying to find a common focus of sorts.

Q: Does being so far apart make it hard?

A: It does get hard. It would definitely be better to be in the same city because every time we’re together, it seems like there’s so much to do, but just never the space and time [needed.]

Q: Are you critical of your own work?

A: Yeah, especially in retrospect, when I look at stuff that we’ve done because you always develop, and the album we did a year ago, we’d make it completely different now. So some things I really still love, and some things I’m like, “Okay, yeah, we should have maybe done something differently.” There’s definitely stuff of ours that I think is not great, and then I think of it as, you know, a process. I think we’ve always been like that in the sense that we work fairly fast, and we sort of like to have that sort of immediacy of things, so that we also make mistakes. And we sort of like, put all of our mistakes on display, and we’re like, “Okay, this is a process, and we have to go and experience whatever we’re into.” But then I also rediscover things like, I listened to something we did six or seven years ago, and I’m like, “Wow, that’s so brilliant!”

Q: What are the benefits/downsides of being a duo?

A: Everything is easier when you’re less people; less opinions, less egos. I don’t know if there’s any downsides, I think it’s all positive actually. And it’s also nice being two because I don’t like being alone [laughs]. Actually, every time we make it bigger and bigger we’re always like, “Lets bring it back down again, because that’s the essence of what we are.”

We recently played some shows with just the two of us, out of necessity, because the band was stuck in Europe during the volcano. We were gonna play the Coachella festival, which is a pretty big festival, and like, a day before it’s like, “It’s not gonna happen, they’re not gonna come! Okay, what do we do?” [We played with] just the two of us and it was actually really great. We got some really amazing reviews … it was really raw, and vulnerable, and honest.

Q: What’s been the greatest Raveonettes moment so far?

A: There’s a lot [laughs]. Well, the first one that kind of came to my mind, I don’t know why, was we were touring with Depeche Mode and Martin Gore, he came on stage and sang a song with us.  [There’s also] the first time we played David Letterman. I remember sitting in the hotel room, watching it on TV, and we’re probably one of the only Danish bands ever on Letterman, and it just felt, we were so proud of ourselves [laughs]. It was an honor.

Q: What’s one thing fans might be surprised to find out about The Raveonettes?

A: They might not know that we’re actually really fun people [laughs].

More The Raveonettes at:

In & Out of Control