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Sune Rose Wagner of the Danish rock-duo The Raveonettes told the Danish newspaper Jyllands-posten about their source of inspiration for the newly released album Raven In The Grave. Wagner and his musical partner Sharin Foo has been the front and back of one of the most successful rock bands out of Denmark. Personally, Wagner first made a name for himself in the 1990s with the band Psyched Up Janis, but has since 2001 influenced the indie rock stage with The Raveonettes’ hard-edged electric guitar and dark lyrical content. As a musician, Sune Rose Wagner explains that he finds inspiration in other musical contexts and art forms; “A lot of the tracks on the new album reflect classical music in the sense that they were written from a piano. We never really did that before.”
Wagner has his own piano at his Manhattan apartment in New York and takes classical piano lessons – just as he did when he lived in Brighton, UK and later in Seattle. “I’ve been able to read notes since I was a kid and am perfectly capable of playing any pop song on a piano,” he says. “But I’m just as interested in classical piano music in order to enter different directions in the music. You discover alternative harmonies which leads to completely different ways of constructing a track. On the new album we have tracks which, inspired by classical music such as Richard Wagner, never returns to the point of departure which denies the listener the deliverance you usually get from a pop song.” However, the duo still insists on recording the tracks with a guitar at their studio in Brooklyn.
If you listen to the repertoire of The Raveonettes, you cannot help but notice the cinematic touch of their sound. The musician admits that he has personal ambitions of writing songs for a movie in the future: “For years I’ve had the desire to create a soundtrack. However, I don’t think I will actually do it before I feel ready to deliver a soundtrack in the classic sense – I mean, a sound which is founded in the classical genre. It’s not something you just do. It demands a great insight into compositions and theory.” So far, it has just been the mood and lyrics of the Raveonettes which has benefited from the songwriter’s fascination of film. He tells Jyllands-posten that the song “Attack Of The Ghost Rider” from the duo’s first album Whip It On was inspired by the opening sequence of the classical Alfred Hitchcock movie Psycho – while David Lynch’s Blue Velvet greatly influenced much of the material from the early years of The Raveonettes.
“I’m not sure if other’s notice these sources of inspiration. But I was guided toward the mood of a track – or a sentence of the lyric – because of the atmosphere of various movies” Wagner explains. The new album is inspired by the 1983 American drama Bad Boys starring Sean Penn. “It’s a tough story with love and criminal behavior as the main ingredients while the songs in the movie give off a good portion of longing and hopelessness which I found extremely inspiring.”
Since 2005, the band has been responsible for their own releases after breaking with their record company Columbia Records. According to Wagner, this has been made possible because of the duo’s tour schedule – but he still believes there’s an industry in releasing albums.