Saturday, July 15, 2000

Mighty Quins keep their cool


Tegan and Sara Quin want to meet at a Starbucks near their northwest family home.

 They say they're not big coffee drinkers, though -- strange considering you might assume their chatter and their alt-folk-rock songs are powered by one hell of a caffeine buzz.

 The 19-year-old Crescent Heights high school grads speak a mile a minute, picking up and elaborating on each other's thoughts, leaving only a sliver of silence for an interviewer to squeeze in another question.

 Then again, they have a lot to talk about. On Tuesday, their major-label debut CD, This Business of Art, will be released throughout North America -- on Universal Music in Canada and on Neil Young's Vapor imprint in the U.S. They're in the process of leaving home and moving into their own place in downtown Vancouver.

 (Explains Sara: "Tegan and I need our space and my mom is like: 'Get out of the house.' ")

 But they won't have a lot of time to settle into their new pad. Throughout August, they'll be touring the U.S. on a bill with Young and The Pretenders.

 Not bad for a duo that burst upon the Calgary music scene just two year ago after winning a Garage Warz competition.

 These might be the most exciting days of their lives, but you couldn't tell from talking to them. They think Tuesday's release date will be "anti-climactic." They don't talk about being rich and famous stars, but about the work ahead of them.

 "I think we're just trying not to get too carried away with what's going on in our lives. I'm keeping myself grounded," Tegan explains.

 That's not to say they're not excited about the upcoming tour.

 "Being on the show with The Pretenders is weird to me," Sara says, "because I grew up with them.... But it's an honour and it's a great thing for your resume. It's like a notch on your belt. You get to be onstage with legends and maybe even hold your own."

 They'll be OK. They've got a great onstage rapport and a bunch of fine, funky, folk-ish songs that fire off ideas and images in all directions.

 Tegan and Sara admit their songs -- niftily produced on CD by Hawksley Workman -- are a little on the wordy side.

 "It's like learning to talk," Tegan says. "It's like being a kid. We're not sure how to say it yet, so we'll just put in everything that we're thinking and maybe if you dig through all the words, you'll get what you want."

 "We're self-absorbed," Sara confesses matter-of-factly.

 But only in the most charming way.

 Not everyone agrees, of course, and the twins have recently had to deal with their first negative reviews.

 They're OK about the criticism. It's mom they're worried about.

 "Some guy said the whole thing was just a joke, it sucked, everything's crappy and called us Ani DiFranco wannabes," Tegan says.

 "It's been hard on my mom because mom wants to protect us ... and she doesn't know how to protect us right now."