My current favorite all-format album is the Raveonettes’ Raven in the Grave (Vice), which sounds smoky-fab whether I’m listening to it via CD, MP3, or LP. I asked Raveonettes co-founder Sune Rose Wagner, 38, how the band (Wagner and co-conspirator Sharin Foo) corrals the backbeat for its 21st-century-cool Wall of Sound. Read on for his answers (and for a listen to "Forget That You're Young," a track from the new album.)
MIKE METTLER: There are some different feels on this album than previous ones; for one thing, you use more ethereal keyboards. And overall, I’d say Raven in the Grave has a Twin Peaks-meets-the Cure style to it.
SUNE ROSE WAGNER: Yeah, exactly! A cinematic influence.
Feels like it’s a soundtrack in the making, in a way.
That’s how I look at it, for sure. I watch movies more than I listen to music, and I love soundtracks and film scoring. I think the new album was inspired a lot by Bernard Herrmann. [Herrmann is best known as a composer for Alfred Hitchcock movies like Psycho and Vertigo, as well as early Twilight Zone episodes.] His idea of coming in with something suspenseful was very inspiring to me. He’s an undisputed genius, and my all-time favorite composer. And there you have it.
At 35 minutes, I think Raven in the Grave is the right length for an album.
We’re old-fashioned; I still like making an album of 9 or 10 songs that sort of go together and give a listener a great experience like a soundtrack, with a beginning and an end. That’s really what I prefer.
We spend a lot of time figuring out the track listing and the order for the people who still want to listen to an album from start to finish. It’s an artform in itself finding the sequence for an album, so we do spend a lot of time on it.
And we try to make different albums every time. This one is the first one we recorded in our own studio in New York, and we were very happy with the results. We were inspired.
What were the specific requirements for setting up the new studio? Your personal Wall of Sound approach remains quite distinct.
We’ve collected a lot of gear over the years, so when it came time to set up the studio, we basically had everything we needed. And everything is set up with a patch bay, so if you want to go from one thing to the next you can do it really fast.
We tried to have everything set up and ready to go so we could go in and churn out ideas. Because we tour a lot, it’s nice to have it set up for whenever we feel like it. That was the main goal with the studio. And we needed to have the kind of equipment in there to make recordings that will stand up with big-budget records.
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