Date: February 1st, 2000
Author: Kieran Grant
Headline: Feet Take Twins Places, Tegan and Sara Quin's Folk Stylings Hit Right Chords
It's wintertime in Calgary and Sara Quin is talking about her wading pool.
"I've just spent the morning in the backyard kicking ice off the thing," the quick-talking, whip-smart 19-year-old says over the phone recently from the home she shares with her twin sister, Tegan, and their mother. The sisters make up the rising musical duo Tegan And Sara.
"The pool's been sitting there since my mom bought it for us last summer. We filled it up and looked at it. I never got in it, but Tegan did and she wrote a song about it."
These are the first words Quin says to me and they go a long way in describing how she fields a question: She's upbeat, all-over-the-map quirky, outspoken and friendly, but ultimately it all comes back to the music.
The pool, it seems, will be featured in the upcoming video for Tegan And Sara's new tune "Wading Pool".
That's just, er, a drop in the bucket compared to the recent career developments for the pair, who play a much-anticipated gig at Ted's Wrecking Yard Thursday.
They've left audiences gaping with wise-beyond-their-years folk-rock tunes, and came to prominence out west after spots on Calgary's Lilith instalment and Vancouver's Under The Volcano festival.
They signed on with Toronto-based Panyamonium/William Tenn Management -- home also to Hayden, and, more recently, local pop wunderkind Hawksley Workman -- before releasing an independent CD, Under Feet Like Ours.
But even the seemingly unflappable Quin was knocked out by what followed: Through their manager, they caught the ear of Neil Young and his Vapor Records label.
The ink is drying on the contract as we speak.
"We were really nervous about it," Quin admits. "We'd already decided that at 18, we weren't ready to sign a record deal. What record companies would want from us, we weren't ready to give yet. We were more interested in developing, in touring, writing, even our own image, 'cause we weren't sure what we wanted yet.
"Vapor saw what we saw -- a career, not just a quick flash-in-the-pan. They expected us to take time to make our way, and they stand by that.
"I just assume in my own ignorant way that with small labels, and especially with a guy like Neil Young and his past with record labels, they would be more geared toward a grassroots thing, not just getting hits and spots on MTV. I assume they would be more centred on developing artists. The return will ultimately be greater."
Quin also says that she and her sister aren't precious about their music, but rather are excited to see how it develops.
Released six months ago, Under Feet Like Ours fits neatly into the Ani DiFranco school of percussive, acoustic agit-folk. But Tegan And Sara's songwriting smarts are their own, and there's something irreverent about the album, a self-deprecating charm and musical inventiveness that suggest it's just a glimmer of things to come.
The duo are also prolific enough that instead of re-releasing Under Feet Like Ours on Vapor later this year, which was the plan up until last week, they'll re-record seven songs from it and add five new ones, including "Wading Pool".
In a move that suggests much adventurism on the part of Vapor, Hawksley Workman will produce.
"The two songs we've already done with him are just so different than anything we've done before," Quin says. "Hawksley is crazy and he has a cool recording style. He hears us as a pop band with huge drums and keyboard parts."
She adds: "I feel like we're just starting, and artistically we could go anywhere. Our ideas aren't any more mature than what any other 19-year-old is feeling. It's just your way of getting them across. I still feel like we're writing 19-year-old's music.
"If I wasn't me, I'd think I was cool. No, I'm just kidding around."