Publication: Desire Magazine
Headline: Tegan and Sara are Jealous of Everyone
Tegan and Sara should be a walking, talking musical gimmick. They got started, entirely unintentionally, while they were still in highschool. 17-year-old twin sisters, there were hints of the tags that record labels were itching to try using on them. Tegan was the edgy, punky one, Sara was the sweet one. Sara was the lesbian, Tegan wasn't telling. Tegan liked her piercings, and Sara was more conventional. Young girls in their hometown were already preparing to align themselves accordingly ("I like the punk one"; "I prefer the sensitive one").
Bands with perilously gimmick-prone aspects usually respond to the media in one of two ways. They either exploit the gimmick for all it's worth, or they have their publicists inform the writer beforehand that 'so-and-so doesn't answer questions about such-and-such.' Polite testing for okay and not-okay questions just elicits a gentle snort.
"We don't have questions you can't ask," says Tegan, speaking over the phone from her home in Vancouver. "Really, we're so socially awkward and inappropriate, there's no point trying to pretend there are boundaries like that."
They've somehow largely escaped the trashy short-term attention that can plague bands with flavour-of-the-week appeal and 'alternative' lifestyles. In the intervening six years, despite the fact that they sound like a cliché waiting to happen, people seem to have learned better than to try and pigeonhole the sisters.
"When we were looking for a label, we knew we were very unconventional people, unconventional writers and musicians," Tegan continues.
"We knew we weren't going to be able to go to one of those labels that throws a big sack of money at you, and then dumps you in two years because you didn't sell a million records. We knew we weren't going to fit into that cookie-cutter kind of world, and that we'd better not try.
"We deliberately chose labels that didn't pressure us into making ourselves a gimmick. I feel the pressure to do that more than ever when we tour in Europe. The last time we were touring there was right on the heels of Tatu's album, and the number of times we had to say, 'we're sisters, so no, we're not going to make out onstage' was crazy."