Rave on with the Raveonettes
(CNN) -- Mix three chords and one key for less than three minutes. That's the Raveonettes' musical recipe.
Danish duo Sharin Foo and Sune Rose Wagner followed this formula for every song on their debut EP, "Whip It On," and critical response indicates that it's a recipe worth trying again.
Shifting from B-flat minor to B-flat major, the garage-rock combo teamed up with producer Richard Gottehrer (Blondie, the Go-Go's) to make their first full-length album, which will be released later in the summer. The Raveonettes have been touring in North America and Europe, bringing their pared-down sensibility to new audiences.
"I was just getting tired of music getting too complicated and too overproduced, so I thought that I would go back and make songs that were really simple again," said songwriter Sune Rose Wagner.
TMR caught up with the pair during their first North American tour to talk about the concept behind their recordings and how frustration with Denmark's music scene shaped their desire to introduce their musical vision to the world.
TMR: Tell me how you started the band.
FOO: Sune and I met -- we actually knew of each other from the Danish music scene, which is not very big, especially if you are into alternative music. And he was traveling around the States at the time, and really trying to find musicians to work with. He was writing all the songs for "Whip It On," and he couldn't really find anyone that shared his same vision. And then he finally thought of me, called me up and we hooked up. It's not a particularly interesting story.
It was really kind of simple the way the whole band is. He just called me up and we started working together and it just instantly sounded really good when we sang together and so we just figured we would just start working and make the Raveonettes.
TMR: There's not much of a music scene in Denmark, so for you to learn about music you had to go to the library?
WAGNER: I started getting interested in music when I was around 16, I think. I didn't really know anybody that was into music at that time. I'm from a very small town and music was not a big thing there. So I had to go to the local library and leaf through encyclopedias. I had to learn everything from books.
I would read about certain people -- for instance, Jimi Hendrix or something. And it would say, "greatest guitar player that ever lived." And I would say "are you sure?" Let's check him out. And I would borrow a record with Jimi Hendrix and I would be like, "Wow." And then I would just go through books and I would discover music that way. A different but very interesting way of discovering music.
TMR: Tell me about the album. I understand there's a formula for the songs?
WAGNER: "Whip It On" was made as a reaction to the music I heard at the time and the time must have been around 1999. I was just getting tired of music getting too complicated and too overproduced, so I thought that I would go back and make songs that were really simple again. I would go back and get inspiration from Hank Williams and Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens. And just do three chords -- very short songs with nice catchy melodies. And to take it one step further, I thought I would write all the songs in the same key. Because it really doesn't get any more simple than that.
TMR: Tell me about the first single, "Attack of the Ghost Riders," and what it's about.
WAGNER: We like to say that the first single is about old people on the highway driving in the wrong direction on the highway. But it isn't really. I guess it's just about sleazy motel rooms in the States. Right? It's about what people do in those sleazy motel rooms. Really that's what it's about.
TMR: What's the background behind the video?
FOO: We were just naturally really into the whole aesthetics of the '50s and the '60s and B-movies and films noirs. So if you see the cover for "Whip It On" it has that Hitchcock feel to it, and we just kind of wanted to bring it further into the video and we made a B-movie. It's really hilarious. It's funny and Sune, he gets electrocuted. It's funny. The video was banned in the UK because they thought it was too controversial, but it's a lot of fun. It's a B-movie -- it's hilarious.
TMR: How do you work as a duo?
WAGNER: I write all the songs -- all the lyrics to all the songs.
FOO: For us it works really well to be a two-piece. When you are a duo, it makes things really simple. ... We kinda like it that way. No drama. It's easy and smooth.
TMR: How do the audiences differ between the U.S. and Europe?
FOO: I think there is actually a huge difference between the audiences in the States and in Europe. Somehow in Europe, people are more subtle. Sometimes it's difficult for the audience in the States to get what we are about because we're very introverted. And we are very subtle on stage. We don't jump around and shout. It's more like mellow, sophisticated, really intense, mesmerizing, appetizing -- but it's not stage diving.
TMR: Are you surprised at how enthusiastically your music has been received?
WAGNER: It's great, very flattering that people enjoy something you worked on. But to be quite honest with you, we never had a doubt in our minds that people were going to like this music outside of Denmark. Because when we finished "Whip it On," we just thought it was something that was so fresh and original and sounded so good that people just had to get it. But it was surprising to us that it went so fast 'cause we probably thought we were going to make a couple albums and then try to do different stuff. But then it really took off fast and that was just great. Why waste time? Just do it.
CNN.com's Marnie Hunter contributed to this report