By: James McGarry
Tegan and Sara are two Calgary-based sisters whose music is starting to create a bit of a buzz around town. They've recently signed to Vapour Records run by Neil Young and his manager, with Warner Records handling promotion and distribution. "We sign a record deal so we're sell outs, but doesn't that just mean that mean that we're going to be able to play our music and get more people to listen to it?" Tegan Quinn is a formidable presence, despite being only nineteen years old and quite petite. Above and beyond that, her force of will and her indomitable passion for music are obvious, as is her industry savvy, "and of course its about money, fuck, you know what, I'm not stupid, they say everything you want to hear and its sweet talking you big time, but they have back up, They have these artists who I think are really great who don't sell millions of records. And so, that makes me feel good " Its that sort of grounded sanguine sentiment that forces you to take Tegan and Sara seriously, I mean, when you aren't chuckling at their on-stage banter.
Is all that back and forth just something that happens on stage? "I think that's just our real life. We get up on stage, nothing's different we're always like, "blah, blah, blah" at each other. We play off each other all the time. Sit with us on stage or sit with us for coffee, we're always making jokes off each other. Everyone tries to make it a little more serious than it is, every article is 'Twins going to kill one another' and we're just sisters, imagine you're with your sibling. We banter, and it is part of out job, 'cuz we don't hate each other we're funny, we're like, 'I hate you. You frustrate me. We look the same.' You know, its funny, its part of the selling feature. You've got to get over it, hopefully people will get bored with that soon, they're bored with the Ani Difranco comparison, they'll get bored the twins thing."
The record itself, Under Feet Like Ours, seems political at times and in many ways, certainly "Our Trees" seems to address an environmental concern. "Environmental stuff is so funny because its like half honest worry about the earth and just people and the other half is we all know we're too lazy to actually care, its the almost the acceptance of it. The album to me is the acceptance of who we are and what we are and to me the tree song represents the fact that it isn't that cool and it isn't that exciting to go out and save the trees so we just don't do it. It's like that with anything Its a bad thing yeah, but in a sense its a good thing too, because I think I've accepted it and I embrace that and embracing and accepting something about yourself I think you encourage yourself to change it. So maybe that CD is about change. Maybe our next CD will be about how we did grow and finally do something or we figured out how to do it and then the third album will be about how we did it."
Speaking doing things, they're taking the big plunge into a record deal and yet this seems somewhat incongruous with songs like "Superstar" and "Hype". "I think a lot of it is, again ...half and half, I wrote Superstar not only about the industry. I was playing with some artists who we loved. Who we thought we were just amazing. After we played with them, I think a common theme was how they were all signing record deals They were complaining but at the same time, they were indie artists, women, who were basically saying that even though the industry fucks you, you have to work as hard as you possibly can to show them that your worth more than their gonna give you and that the record industry isn't as bad as everyone makes it out to be, that sometimes you do have to take that leap and delve into that area, because you need to get help. Its a huge industry [and] for all the complaining that everyone was doing they were still signing. And I thought that was really, really cool, because now we're in a position where we're gonna sign, granted we're signing to a low-key, more independent [label]. so half of it was all the bad stuff. We complain about the record industry but at the same time we're all pretty eager to sign a good deal, but the other half of it is that the way that everyone else perceives you Here are people who are proving, or hoping to prove, that you can actually take what everyone says is so bad about it throw it out the toilet and make something good about the record industry. I mean who else is going to give you a loan and gamble away all their money and hope that you succeed."
And succeed they will. Very solid tunes, very solid management (their with Toronto's Pandyamonium), a very liberal label and a savvy, sanguine attitude all add up to a formula for success. They're around for a few shows on and about Canadian Music Week. So, if you missed the Opera House show and the more recent solidly packed outing at Ted's Wrecking Yard, don't miss this one. They are at a time in their careers where you can still say, "I saw them when..."; Mark my words.