What happens when the music industry gets wind that you are 19-year-old songwriting identical twins from Calgary who play piano and guitar and perform your songs with the power of a speeding bullet while holding your own on stage?
Why, you make a record in the comfort of your own home, shop it around, sign with Neil Young’s label Vapour for outside-Canada distribution and stay on your own label, Plunk, for domestic distribution. Then, you fly to Toronto a lot, drive around a lot, do interviews a lot and, last but not least, play shows a lot. At least that is what Tegan and Sara Quin have done.
There’s been a lot of hype but when it comes right down to it, their music is all that’s needed to explain why they’ve done so well.
“Sometimes from listening to our CD I think people get the wrong impression of who we’re going to be, and when we play live, I think they get to see the full picture,” says Tegan. “Ninety per cent of the press that’s been written about us is about how we’re twins and we sound like acoustic rocker Ani Difranco, and then people come out and first off, you can hardly tell we’re twins, and secondly, we don’t sound like Ani Difranco live.”
Both girls give answers to questions efficiently with little filler, as if they’ve answered them a million times before. And if their music is any indication of their success, they’re going to have to face the same questions for a long time to come. Even without mainstream radioplay or a video on “the Nation’s Music Station,” Tegan and Sara have done well enough to land gigs with the likes of Hayden, 54-40, and Andy Stochansky as well as being invited to play MusicWest and Lilith Fair.
“Music has offered us a lot of opportunities that we didn’t think school would give us, and that’s been the biggest plus,” says Tegan. “We’ve been able to see all of Canada, and we’re going down to the U.S. in a month or so, and we’re going to Europe in the summer. It’s more than we could have hoped for.”