Date: March 22nd, 2001
Author: Justin Solomon, Cindy Howes contributor
Publication: The Berkeley Beacon
Headline: Double your pleasure with Tegan and Sara
Rock. Folk. Country. Pop. Jazz.
While most bands can be classified as one of these, Canadian twins Tegan and Sara don't seem to fit in any particular musical category.
"We are left out of, by definition, the rock category, and we are definitely left out of the folk category cause we are not folk," said 20-year-old Tegan, who performed at T.T. the Bears in Cambridge last week. "I think between this record and our 15th record I'm sure we will figure it out."
The record that Tegan is talking about is their debut album This Business of Art, released on Neil Young's Vapor Records.
The album, which took under two weeks to record, is a complete package.
The fact that the album isn't the best sound quality doesn't take away from the girls' voices that complement each other very well-Tegan with a low, raspy tone, and Sara with a much higher, sweeter sounding voice.
Singing about their lives, family and experiences, their voices are accompanied by guitars, drums, bass, and the occasional sample.
Hearing their album and then seeing them play live may be a shock, though.
Tegan and Sara (who prefer not to give their last names) may sound like they are a part of a complete band on This Business of Art when accompanied by drums, bass and guitar-but they tour alone.
The two take the stage with just their voices and their guitars.
"We tour like this because it's the cheapest way to tour," said Sara. "We want people to hear our songs, not necessarily the delivery."
Many in the mainstream media have compared the pair to singer Ani DiFranco, but Tegan and Sara take the comparisons with a grain of salt.
"It's flattering, it's nice that people compare us, but it's just a reference point," said the more modest Sara-while Tegan sees it as a way to become more known.
"Bring it on man, if you compare us to Ani Difranco, if you mention her you are going to sell records, just bring it on," Tegan said. However, they are far from the typical angry girl singers.
The two sing with a sense of sincerity that makes the listener feel close to them.
As Tegan explained, "I don't think we are that angry. We are pretty nice. I like our fans. I like our job."
Liking their job is something that shows when they perform live.
Telling stories to their audience and often laughing at one another while on stage bring their fans closer to them.
"You get to be in control, you get to create, invent, travel and be in front of an audience, so I guess when you break it down it sounds nice," said Tegan.
Tegan and Sara are far from today's popular female singers such as Britney Spears and Mandy Moore.
"How are my songs different from Britney Spears'? I'll tell you. Mine don't have a boppy beat and I don't have a boob top on," jokes Tegan.
Just because teen pop artist Spears differs from Tegan and Sara doesn't mean the twins wouldn't mind meeting up with her.
"I'd like to open for Britney Spears on her tour. I'm not lying," said Sara. "I think she is doing a great job at what she does…she does a great job with tits and ass. Why should we criticize that?"
The duo may not be joining any Britney Spears tour in the near future, but they have already toured with heavier rock legends.
Just last summer Tegan and Sara opened for Neil Young and the Pretenders.
"It was awesome touring with them. They seemed to really like us," Tegan explained. "They were incredibly supportive to the fact that we are 20 and are feeling the struggle."
It's an uphill battle for the two as they criss-cross the country in their rented car, bringing their music and stories to music fans that are eager to hear their songs.
"There are hard days," said Sara. "And then there are days when you play in front of 500 people, they know the words to your song and they want your autograph."
Tegan and Sara's This Business of Art is available at records stores everywhere.
For more information, check out the duo's web site at www.teganandsara.com.