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Members include Jakob Hoyer, drums; Sharin Foo, vocals, bass; Manoj Ramdas, guitar; Sune Rose Wagner, vocals, guitar. Addresses: Record company--Columbia Records, 2100 Colorado Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90404. Website--The Ravonettes Official Website: http://www.theravonettes.com.
The Raveonettes are a garage-rock duo from Copenhagen, Denmark. Formed by Danish musicians Sharin Foo and Sune Rose Wagner, their sound embraces the three-chord subtlety of Buddy Holly with twists of crunch and attitude lifted from dark early-1980s rockers like The Jesus and Mary Chain. The duo was formed when guitarist Wagner teamed with glamorous singer/bassist Foo in 2001. Although the two met on Copenhagen's music scene, it took them a while to decide to join forces. Within two years the Raveonettes had captivated audiences on both sides of the Atlantic.
Wagner was born in a small Danish town near the German border and was initially exposed to pop music when his mother mistakenly took Bob Dylan's Before the Flood for an acoustic album. As a youngster, he was interested in American culture, absorbing everything from the beat poetry of Jack Kerouac to a pop music, listening to such diverse sounds as 1950s icons like the Everly Brothers and experimental distortionists like Sonic Youth. In the late 1990s Wagner spent some time in America, visiting the major music scenes in New York, Las Vegas, New Orleans, and Los Angeles, before finally returning home to Copenhagen.
Sharin Foo striking is a six-foot-tall blond who has been compared to Warhol chanteuse Nico. Rolling Stone described her as having "the old-fashioned allure of the classic American movie stars, especially her favorites, Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly." Looks aside, Women Who Rock explained Foo as "at once imposing and inspiring, a role model for young girls simply waiting to happen." Her grandfather is an immigrant that came to Denmark from a small village in China, and her father was a rock guitarist. She was born to parents who belonged to a hippie enclave in the 1970s. As a result, Foo grew up in a very free-spirited community. "I was always going on tour with his band," she explained to Rolling Stone, "They always had songs on the radio." Foo spent six months in India studying the ancient musical traditions of dhrupad and qawwali, but when she came back to Denmark she gravitated to the punk scene, playing bass, until she joined Wagner.
The two felt an instant musical connection. As Foo explained in the Raveonettes' online biography, "It felt right. And that was it. Singing together came so easy for us, it was pretty magical. If you remove one or the other, it's definitely not the same. We add up to more as a whole." It was obviously right for music executives as well. The Raveonettes signed a recording deal with Sony Music in 2001 and booked time in a Copenhagen studio in December of that year to begin work on their debut, Whip It On.
Despite only a rudimentary knowledge of studio technique, the duo handled all production. They also followed a rigid set of self-imposed rules: All songs would be recorded in B-flat minor, there would be no high hats (a pair of cymbals on a drum set that are operated by a foot pedal), and all songs had to be under three minutes in length. The result was 2002's critically acclaimed Whip It On, which proved the duo's eclectic formula a success. The album, a dark six-song garage romp, evolved into a highly lauded debut that went on to win a Danish Music Award (Denmark's equivalent of the Grammy).
Propelled into the public eye and riding a wave of success, the Raveonettes quickly added guitarist Manoj Ramdas and jazz drummer Jakob Hoyer for their live shows. They played one of their first public performances at the Spot festival in Aarhus, Denmark, where they caught the eye of Rolling Stone magazine critic David Fricke. His endorsement gave them an important buzz on the other side of the Atlantic. In July of 2002 the Raveonettes booked themselves at infamous New York punk dive CBGB, cementing their reputation as a formidable new act. In the audience that night was famed producer Richard Gottehrer, writer of such rock staples as "I Want Candy" and "My Boyfriend's Back" and producer of seminal new wave and punk acts like Blondie, Richard Hell and the Voidoids, and the Go Gos. He was duly impressed and agreed to work with the Raveonettes on their next record.
In late 2002 Wagner and Foo went back into the studio with Richard Gottehrer and recorded their follow-up, Chain Gang of Love, which was released the following year. The album ditched some of the group's more rigid rules, even though it, like its predecessor, was recorded entirely in a single key--B major. Unlike their debut, however, Chain Gang of Love expanded the Raveonettes sound by retaining some 1950s flair but putting more emphasis on melody. The record was almost unanimously well received by the critics. According to Rolling Stone, "Here is one of the most delicious thrills that rock & roll has delivered this year: thirteen songs of love, heartbreak and erotic ambition sent to cavernous guitar feedback and drums that throb like Ronnie Spector's hips." Apparently audiences were impressed as well; the Raveonettes' freshly angled retro sound made the group one of the most-watched bands of 2003.
by Nicole Elyse
The Raveonettes's Career
Group formed in Copenhagen, Denmark, 2001; signed to Sony Music, 2001; released Whip It On, 2002; Chain Gang of Love, 2003.
The Raveonettes's Awards
Danish Music Award, Best Rock Album of the Year, 2003.
- Blender, September 2003.
- CMJ New Music Report, September 1, 2003.
- Complex, August/September 2003.
- Entertainment Weekly, September 5, 2003.
- Guitar One, November 2003.
- Interview, August 2003; October 2003.
- Los Angeles Times, September 7, 2003
- New York Observer, September 8, 2003.
- Q Magazine, September 2003.
- Rolling Stone, September 4, 2003; September 18, 2003
- Spin, September 2003.
- Stuff, September 2003.
- Venice, September 2003.
- Women Who Rock, September/October 2003.
- "The Raveonettes," All Music Guide, http://www.allmusic.com (March 1, 2004).
- The Raveonettes Official Website, http://www.theraveonettes.com (March 2, 2004).
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