Transformation is key for Danish merchants of reverberating gloom The Ravonettes.
“It’s important to change your sound,” said guitarist and songwriter Sune Rose Wagner. “You’re always in a different place in your life. You don’t want to repeat myself.”
It’s early August and we’re chatting over waters on a rickety bench with a view of the Montreal skyline. A few hours earlier, Wagner and his bandmate Sharin Foo played a big and loud set to enthusiastic crowds at Osheaga Festival Musique et Arts.
“I thought it was a really amazing gig,” said Wagner. In the past he’s expressed his enjoyment of playing in darkened clubs, today he’s ready to fit the mood. “You just get into a different setting.”
For 11 years, The Ravonettes have made their name on inventive rock and roll that borrows from just about every genre you can think of. Wagner’s output is prolific. The band has released six albums since their debut Chain Gang of Love in August 2003, along with his own solo project.
“I have hours of material (for an EP). I make little snippets for ideas and then when I have maybe eight hours of small ideas I take out the ones I think I like.” It’s a whittling down process that takes him time and much self-reflection. “I’m very harsh on myself. I’m not going to put out anything that I don’t like.”
Their new album, Observator, hit shelfs on Sept. 11 to favourable reviews. It’s lead single “Observations” is a dreamy but powerful track that complements much of the album. AV Club critic Matt Schild noted in his review that The Ravonettes “set them[selves] apart from most of their reverb-worshipping contemporaries [with] solid songwriting and an understanding that effects don’t make a band.”
Wagner’s looking forward to touring the new record.
“I don’t like to be creative on the road. I just want to have fun and hang out with the band.” But his mind is always thinking about new creative ventures. He recently had a lot of input on the video for “She Owns the Streets,” starring the subject of the song, performance artist Loan Tran known for dancing in the streets.
“It didn’t take a genius to figure out what to do,” he said. “Let’s just have her dancing in the video.” He recruited photographer Peter Kaaden to shoot the video after seeing his work in Dazed and Confused magazine.
He’s also begun producing albums, working mostly with American noise rockers Dum Dum Girls. “Dee Dee [lead singer and songwriter] is a really talented songwriter. I connect really well with her songs and I can give her ideas that she respects from me.” It’s an opportunity for Wagner to work with another songwriter to help them reach their full potential.
But the focus will always be on The Ravonettes for both Wagner and Foo.
The Ravonettes play The Magic Stick in Detroit this Sunday, Sept. 30 with Parisian break out artist and purveyor of kaleidoscopic psych rock Melody’s Echo Chamber. Tickets are $14 and doors open at 8 p.m.