by Bree Roberts
I perch precariously on a cardboard box by a window overlooking the busy streets of the fashionable Chelsea district in West Manhattan, and light up a cigarette. The walls around me are freshly painted a rich chocolate brown, and I'm surrounded by Francoise Hardy albums, Tim Burton collectibles and just about the coolest '50s style record player I have ever seen. It's a bachelor pad from heaven. Its long legged, dark haired, pale skinned Danish resident sits opposite me and promptly apologises for the mess. He’s just moved in, he explains by way of explanation. His previous East Village apartment was apparently too small and the neighbourhood changing too much too quickly for his personal taste.
Sune Rose Wagner is what you would call a very busy man. Since releasing The Ravonettes sordid third full-length album, Lust Lust Lust (Vice Records), in the US in February to rave reviews, Sune has been touring the globe extensively, including a brief sojourn to Australia in April.
"I thought it [the tour] was a lot better than the first one we did, because we were just a lot more prepared this time... I thought we did really, really good shows, and I thought the crowd was really into it, there was a lot of press coverage and I don't think it could have been any better actually."
A fan of Australia in general, Sune laments his lack of time to explore its major cities due to his hectic schedule. Scheduling did allow for a day’s worth of exploration in Melbourne, of the gastronomic and fashion-appropriation kind. Sadly, once the band ventured north of the border, time became more restricted and, for the second time, no urban exploration ensued.
Growing up, Sune admits to having wanted to be a tennis player, then a musician and a skateboarder. As an adult musician Sune had relative success in his native Denmark with his indie-pop foray Psychic Janis, and 1950s throwback surf party band The Tremelo Beergut (who recently released a new album, minus Mr Wagner). Then Sune met platinum-haired beauty Sharin Foo in Copenhagen in 2001, and rest is Raveonettes history.
Their latest release Lust Lust Lust has been internationally heralded as their best album to date. When asked as to how the new album differs from the band's previous releases, Sune confides that he thinks it might be a little bit darker than some of the other stuff the duo have released before. Then there is the groovy element because of the addition of break beats, which Sune reveals is a new direction for the band. As far as the overall sound goes, “It's very minimal and very intense I think in an atmospheric kind of way."
You might think break beats would be a strange thing to feature in the music of a man who regularly cites The Everly Brothers and Buddy Holly as two major influences, but as proven with the sombre single 'Ally Walk With Me' - it works.
It's a diversion in style that Sune attributes to a childhood spent listening to hip hop, break dancing and writing graffiti. Sune had always harboured a desire to incorporate the hip-hop tempo into The Raveonettes' music but always found it difficult. That was until, he tells me, "I thought if you just make the music more dark and more menacing and more tense then it actually works really well just having a break beat underneath it." Eureka.
While previous Raveonettes recordings have featured such musical heavy weights as Ronnie Spektor, Maureen Tucker and Martin Rev, the new album holds a noticeable lack of outside contributors. This doesn't mean that Sune isn't looking forward to the idea of involving others in his future releases - quite the opposite. He cites Nick Cave as one artist he would love to work with, as well as Lux and Ivy from the Cramps and Kim from Sonic Youth.
We light up our last cigarettes before Sune has to travel back to the East Village to clean his old apartment, before packing suitcases to fly back to Denmark for an extensive European tour from which he won't return for several months. Like I said, he's a busy man. I ask him what he loves about New York, what keeps him returning to our beautifully dirty city, where he has now lived for five years.
"What is there not to like about it, you know? That's why you live here! I love that there's so many possibilities to have fun everyday, and to go to nice restaurants, and to go for nice walks, and to go museums, and whatever you want to do, everything is here. There's not one thing that you can't do here pretty much, so I like to just have everything at my fingertips... I think. I like that."