Date: September 2003, Issue 36
Publication: Chik (Australia)
Headline: Tegan & Sara
Although their sounds are just beginning to reach our shores,
Canadian twins Tegan and Sara Quin have been around for a while. At
they won a battle-of-the-bands competition in their home town of
Calgary and soon after got signed to Neil Young's label, Vapour
They've built their fan base from the ground up, touring extensively
driving thousands of miles in a minivan to bring their music to the
Like any siblings trapped in a car together for any length of time they have a love/hate relationship, and their onstage squabbling has become as much a part of their gigs as the music. "We talk almost as much as we sing," explains Sara. "When we first started out we only had five songs and were playing 45-minute sets so we had to chat to fill the gaps. Now our audiences expect us to talk. We think we're really funny comedians ... even if they don't."
There's no shortage of songs these days. Their album 'If It Was You' provides plenty of material. Tegan and Sara share singing and songwriting duties, and although they are identical twins they have very different voices that harmonise beautifully. And yes, they play their own instruments too - these girls are damn good with a guitar. It's angsty, accoustic punk-pop with a faint folky flavour - it's the kind of music you want to sing along with at the top of your lungs and strum your air guitar to. I ask Sara if she ever indulges in such behaviour and cranks her own album. "No, definitely not," she say. "It's not like I'd be embarrassed, it's just i sing those songs every day on tour. We have demos and other things we've been recording and I listen to them all the time. But not the album, that would be overkill."
Read the lyrics and you'll see that a lot of Tegan and Sara's songs deal with the darker side of life, fear, anger, guilt, rejection - and music is their way of working through it. "Sometimes I fell like I'm not so much working through them as just indulging in them," admits Sara. "But certainly it is some sort of release or distraction to keep your mind off things when you're down. It certainly helps you look at yourself."
For such an original act, Tegan and Sara have been likened to Ani Difranco because they're angsty, Avril Lavigne because they're Canadian and T.A.T.U becuase they're gay. Both sisters are lesbians, but you won't find them using their sexuality to market their music. In fact, they keep it fairly low key becuase they don't want being gay to define or limit their image or their sound. "There's some pretty distinct differences," Sara points out. "a) We don't make out with each other, b) we write our own songs, c) we don't have a really expensive record deal, d) we don't make out with each other."
Probably the biggest difference is that the Quin twins want to sell their album on musical merit alone. Fame is not on their wish list, in fact Sara is repulsed by the idea. "Ewww, no. Success for me is if I can pay my rent. If I can pay my rent and put money in my savings account I feel like I'm doing pretty hot." Whether they like it or not, these girls probably are going to be famous, but they can rest easy in the knowledge that it won't be markteting or their image or the hype that got them there - it willl be talent.
But there's one more comparison to be made. Are Tegan and Sara ever going to do the Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen thing and bring out their own range of clothes? "Yeeeeeeeh, no," say Sara. "We do have Tegan and Sara merchandise but we stick to T-shirts, hoodies and hats. I don't think there'll be a Tegan and Sara adventure colour book or anything like that."
*Sara and Tegan have toured with Ryan Adams and Bryan Adams. Wierd coincidence!
*"(Women are supposed to be) just shy, sexy, singer-songwriters," says Tegan. "And we are all of those things, but we're also obnoxious and sarcastic, and intelligent, and, at times, downright overbearing."
*Tegan, whose labret (just under the lip) piercing makes it easy to tell the identical twins apart, is the older of the two by eight minutes.
*Their music have been dubbed "rawk", as in raw, accoustic rock. A term as unique as their tunes!