Date: September 2, 2003
Author: Paul Cashmere
Headline: How Tegan and Sara Ended Up On Neil Young's Record Label
When the bidding war started to sign Canadian twin sister act Tegan and Sara, they opted out of it all to sign with small indie Vapor Records, the label owned in part by the legendary Neil Young.
The story behind how they signed is detailed so without further adieu, we had it own to Sara Quin from Tegan and Sara to tell. "Well there was this artist named Hayden who in the late 90's had a bidding war" she tells Undercover News. "He was just coming out and one of the labels that approached him was Neil Young's label and he ended up not signing with that label. When we started working with Hayden's management and we started shopping for a record deal, Tegan and I didn't want to sign with a major, we wanted to sign with a smaller label and they suggested that we send something into Vapor because of the association with Neil and because it was a small label and they had really enjoyed working with them and Hayden. We sent them a package and Elliot Roberts who manages Neil called us and said "We want to come down and see you guys play, we think its great and we love it and we just have this feeling about you." Elliot is great, he's been working with Neil for thirty years, he's like a mogul in the industry."
As a result of that visit, Elliot signed Tegan and Sara to Vapor. "A few months later when the deal was going through and whatever, Neil was totally into it, he asked if we wanted to open for him. When we were signing the record deal we spent a lot of time with him and it was a very cool first experience for us. It was like a family thing because we'd just signed and we were out on the road… there wasn't a cold sign that was just about money or whatever, it was like 'Welcome to the family, now you can come on the road with us!'"
For Tegan and Sara, small has been big for them. "I think it's better to be on this label where it's smaller and it's not necessarily about money" she says. "I mean they still want to make money, but they've invested a lot of money into us and not got anything back yet, but they're still willing to put more money in. I think they have a lot of patience, because they don't have twenty acts doing this that they're putting thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars into… they have us. I think they're willing to be a little bit more patient. It's more old-school for sure".
The great thing about Elliot Roberts past is that he remembers the days when accountants and marketers didn't rule the corridors of the record industry. "Elliot talks a lot about 'Back in the day when I started working with Neil…' I think their goal is to couple some of the old ideals from the sixties and seventies and remain consistent with today's market and then try to develop us" she says. "That didn't mean selling millions and millions of records, it's sort of like making good music and being genuine artists".
Shock Records have just released Tegan and Sara's second album If I Were You in Australia.