Interview with Tegan & Sara

Tegan and Sara

By Logan Lenz

(As published in Rag Magazine)

For these two Canadian identical twin sisters, music has always been the only option. Since 1995, the two siblings have become one of the most unique and beloved independent acts in North America. This year not only birthed the group’s fifth full length record, The Con, but also will spawn a major fall/winter tour; the duo’s grandest to date. RAG spoke exclusively with Tegan Quin, one half of the creative brilliance behind Tegan and Sara.

For anyone unfamiliar, how would you describe Tegan and Sara?

Quin: I don’t know. I typically don’t describe our music. When I meet people at random parties or something and they ask me what I do, I tell them I have a band. When they ask me what it sounds like, I just tell them to check out our mySpace page. So, I don’t know if I am getting lazy or if I just don’t know how to describe us.

Aside from your early cassette releases, Tegan and Sara have released five CDs; the first of which, Under Feet Like Ours, was originally released uunder the name Sara and Tegan. I have heard that the CD has become a hot commodity. How can a fan obtain a copy?

Quin: We negotiated with our record label for us to be able to sell it live. I saw online that our fans were buying it for a couple hundred dollars, and I thought that that was pretty unfair. We started manufacturing it again so now you can buy it straight from us at one of our shows.

Why switch the band name after you had already released an album?

Quin: When you say “Sara and Tegan,” it sort of all blends together. But, when you say “Tegan and Sara,” you have to annunciate everything.

What is your favorite track off of the latest record, The Con?

Quin: To play live, I love “Are You Ten Years Ago” because it’s such a massive beast. It took us a while to figure out how to play it live, but we have managed to make it even bigger than the recording of it.

The Con was produced by Chris Walla of Death Cab for Cutie. How was it working with him?

Quin: Chris was great. He really wanted to “create an arch” and make a record that is worth listening to from start to finish. He loves to sequence records so that everything fits and you know what is coming next. He had this meticulous nature that I easily responded to.

Who are some of your main influences?

Quin: We listen to all sorts of stuff. Growing up, we listened to the 70’s and 80’s classics like Bruce Springsteen, U2, The Police, and the Pretenders. In our teens, we got more into punk and alternative music. Now, however, it’s a combination of all of that stuff. I like a lot of electronic music. I think we infuse a lot of different styles into our music and it comes out as a pop fusion.

How did you end up pairing up with Northern State for the tour?

Quin: I met Northern State a few years ago. I knew a little bit about their music. We met up with them in New York and just thought they were so cool, so hilarious, and talented. Coincidentally, they were working on their latest album while we were in the studio doing The Con. Their record turned out perfect and I thought it was in-line with a lot of the subjects we were talking about. I told them to hurry up and get a record deal so that we could take them out on tour with us. They got the deal and it happened.

I have read that you and Sara live in different cities and that you do not get along all of the time on the road. Is it just sibling rivalry or do you guys really get sick of each other often?

Quin: Sara and I actually get along pretty well. I think people project their own ideas about being on the road with their siblings and they are horrified by it. When you spend as much time as we do together, you will have arguments. But the same goes for anyone in the band, not just Sara.

I heard about a side project with Hunter Burgan of AFI. Can you give us any insight into this?

Quin: We have been writing together for the last year and a half. I don’t know what is ever going to happen with that. He was touring while I was off, and now I am touring while he is off. We are both very creative and into a lot of the same styles of music, so we started writing material and sending everything to each other. I don’t know when if and when it will surface, but I hope it will eventually. It’s good stuff. I wouldn’t want it to disappear completely.

At only 27 years old, you have released a great deal of music. What do you still hope to accomplish, that you may haven’t had a chance to yet, at some point down the road?

Quin: Having a side project was always something I wanted to do, and I am getting to do that right now. I look forward to exploring that further. I think that we are getting to the age where we don’t need to tour all of the time. I don’t want to be a superstar that is selling millions of records. Because of that, I think there will be longer spaces in between our records. I don’t want to just pump out music just to make more money.

What is to come for the future of Tegan and Sara after this tour ends?

Quin: We’re definitely going to tour a lot on this record and then take a break. We’re hitting Australia in December, Europe in February and March, and back to the States in the spring. We also have a

new video coming out for “The Con” in a couple weeks.

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