Tegan and Sara Quin are twin lesbian sisters from Canada with an ear for indie rock that creates an unforgettable live show. Born in Calgary, Alberta they began writing songs and playing guitars at the early age of 15. They have released albums independently ever since with new record Heartthrob coming out in January. They appeared this year on the television show 90210 performing “Closer” the first single from this album.
On their down time the duo expanded into the dance world a bit working with Tiesto, Morgan Page, and David Guetta on various tracks.
We tracked down Tegan to chat a bit before their upcoming concert in Chicago.
Jerry Nunn: Hi, Tegan. I interviewed Sara for the album Sainthood back in 2009 so I am excited to talk to you about Heartthrob now.
Tegan Quin: Oh, sweet. That’s awesome!
JN: First off, where is your name from? Do you know any other Tegan’s in the world?
TQ: I meet a million Tegans now. I meet a lot of babies, dogs, and cats named after me but when I was growing up I never met another Tegan.
My parents named me from an unusual baby names book. It is a Welsh name.
JN: Is life a whirlwind for you both right now?
TQ: It is not so bad. Luckily we have thirteen years of foundation. We are used to traveling, touring, and living our lives all at the same time. We just finished a nice seven-day break at home. We are heading back out before Christmas. I’m feeling good about it. We have been off for over a year and a half so we are very excited about Heartthrob and all the great stuff that is happening. When I’m feeling tired I just give myself a pep talk like, “Everything is awesome. Get out there and don’t complain!”
JN: Heartthrob is a love themed album about relationships?
TQ: Yeah, I like to think so. In the past we have featured love but more in the devastated-rejected-unrequited part of love. I think that Heartthrob is different. Songs like “Closer” “Drove Me Wild” and “Love They Say” are actually written about meeting someone and falling in love. Before you actually close the deal while staying close to the person you like is what these songs are about, not moving into together and arguing about taxes or retirement savings accounts. Love before complications.
There are those songs on the record, there is still heartbreak and rejected songs, but I think the direction of thinking is more empowered and strong. Sara has been joking that when she wrote “Now I’m All Messed Up” and “How Come You Don’t Want Me” these songs are almost like power ballads. She says she was writing these for singers like Alicia Keys. She is speaking in a way that she has never spoken before. I don’t think we held much back. I think it is still in the same universe as past records but I think it’s definitely a fresh start.
JN: Things must reflect that you are both doing well in relationships right now. There’s gay marriage in Canada…
TQ: Are you asking me if I’m getting married? [both laugh]
TQ: Gay marriage has been Canada for a really long time, Jerry, so stop pressuring me, okay! Did my girlfriend call you and tell you to ask me this? Just kidding…
JN: She tweeted me.
TQ: She did? Because she hates marriage as much as I do. No really, Sara and I are at a time in our lives where we are beginning to think about the rest of our lives. I do what I do because I love to write, travel, and reach people. As cheesy as it sounds, I love that we bring such purpose and understanding to our fans. We have a kind of fringe type fans that find a lot of solace in our music. I think our music, goals, and career are now changing because we are in out thirties. There are different things ahead of us than when we were in out twenties.
JN: Your live show is an experience and not just a typical concert.
TQ: It is an experience. Sara and I knew from very early on in our career that in order to survive and make a living we would have to tour. This was before record sales in general had dropped and everyone had to tour. We just needed that because we were not a mainstream commercial band. We had to tour and that meant we would have to be interesting. That hour and a half onstage is not just for us. We want to make everyone feel special. So thank you for noticing.
JN: Will there be a video for “Closer” coming out soon?
TQ: It leaked yesterday so it should be out a week from now. In the next couple of hours it will be announced officially.
JN: How did the shoot go?
TQ: It was really neat. The video is exactly what I have been talking about with the time before real romance, when you have a different kind of crush everyday. So the video is trying to capture that peaceful nostalgia of our youth.
It looks like we are all having a great time and it was a cool autumn evening but it was actually 110 degrees and we were in the valley of Los Angeles. I’m sure all the extras hated us plenty, “Those fucking bitches should have booked a house with air conditioning!”
JN: After working with Morgan Page and David Guetta is there some dance influenced work on this album?
TQ: There is a little with one track fitting in the same realm. We are definitely wary of saying dance. We are not a dance band. Even “Closer” has a rocking vibe. Our influences are more pop and rock based. It is definitely a pop record out of everything we have ever done but at its core it’s still quintessential Tegan and Sara. It is love songs, heartbreak, emotion, and romance. I think every single song on the record could be stripped down to an acoustic guitar. It is a current record with ‘80s and late ‘90s elements thrown in as well.
JN: Fans will get to hear it at the concert.
TQ: Chicago is one of my favorite cities in the world so I can’t wait to get back there.
Tegan and Sara open for The Killers at UIC Pavilion, 525 S. Racine Ave. on December 21 at 8:00 p.m. For more on the two try www.teganandsara.com.