Date: October 15, 2003
Author: Kym Patrick
Publication: dB Magazine
Headline: Tegan and Sara
"I think we are starting to figure out what we want to do with our lives; I think we're getting it together. I don't know if that means we're getting better or we're just getting docile in our old age!" Tegan Quin of Tegan & Sara laughs. At just 22 years of age, the possibility of becoming docile any time soon seems highly unlikely, especially for a pair that have a reputation for talking non-stop, telling stories and occasionally having a bit of a bitch at each other on stage. Not only is this Canadian pair known for their animated personalities but they are constantly put under the spotlight and questioned about being young, female... and twins.
Quin sighs. "The only thing I hate about being talked about as a twin is that it feels like they don't use any imagination at all. There's this automatic response to go 'who cares, let's talk about the music', but the fact that we are siblings and that we deal with independence and wanting our own identity plays into our music so I think that it is relevant. I just think maybe the approach people take isn't very interesting."
Despite the Quin sisters' disinterest in talking about their twin-ship I just couldn't resist asking the odd question. Maybe it's because because it plays such a significant role in their music, or that being a twin myself my approach passed the interesting test, but she talked openly and at length about herself and her sister.
"When that whole blackout happened across the states Sara got stuck in Montreal and we had a show the next day, so I had to go alone. It was so scary. I had to get on stage without her and everybody was trying to hype me up," she recalls. "Even my mum phoned and said 'you're special and people will like you. You have to do the show.' I thought it was going to be horrible. It felt really weird for sure. I don't think I will be rushing to do it alone any time soon. It definitely made me realise why I enjoy Sara."
Like most identical twins, Tegan and Sara are constantly made aware of their similarities and differences which at times makes dealing with your individuality quite difficult - after all, aren't twins freaks of nature?
"Before I started playing music I felt like the only thing special about me was that I was a twin. Then when I started playing music I had this whole identity crisis where I thought that if I wasn't a musician nobody would care about me. Last year was the hardest, just letting go of the fact that if I wasn't a twin or if I wasn't a musician I am still special. It makes it hard when one of the first things that people say to you is, 'oh, my god, you're a twin!' and then with us it just goes into 'you're a twin - and you're a musician!' I started to really think that there was absolutely nothing cool about me except that I'm a twin. I can't even help that, it's not something I created!"
She says it light-heartedly, but seriously. On the other hand, she adds, "I take comfort in [being a twin]. There is something really exciting about the fact that there is someone in this world that looks just like me, who's made up of all the same things as me. That's really cool."
Both Tegan and Sara share in writing the songs but in the past Tegan has been known to pump them out one after another. "When I was writing a lot I had just gotten out of a relationship and moved into an apartment all by myself. I had no furniture and no friends and I felt really lonely so basically that's all I had to do. It was like me and my guitar." Recently, though, the tables have turned: "I think Sara just experienced that when she moved up to Montreal alone. She started sending me song after song after song and suddenly I felt all this competition and thought 'holy crap! I better start writing again!'"
'If It Was You' shows that the pair write a diverse range of songs, from the hard hitting opener, Time Running to the slow folkier track, Living Room, but I was particularly intrigued with City Girl.
"I don't really remember writing the lyrics for it," explains Quin, "but I remember writing the song and later on sitting back and listening to it, hours after I had recorded it in the back of my stupid, lonely little apartment. It just summed up exactly how I felt: I moved to the city and all of a sudden I was alone and a nerd and I had no friends and I felt really lame. Even Sara didn't want to hang out with me! I felt like such... a city girl! Just like another one of those people you see on the bus and you think 'that girl looks so sad, I feel bad for her.' I was like one of those people."
Tegan and Sara may have already produced quality music with a spirited and outgoing attitude but ask them about what's to come and your guess is as good as theirs.
"We're fuckin' 22 years old! We don't know, we're just starting to figure it out. I mean, I'm still trying to figure out what shoe size I am. I think I'm a seven but it feels a little tight. I don't know - we'll see what happens!"