Date: Februay, 2005
Author: Steven Hill
Publication: Whistler Question
Headline: Twin powers on the rise
Tegan and Sara visit the GLC on Friday night Special to The Question If you’re unlucky enough not to have yet heard the names Tegan and Sara, don’t worry. Canadian identical twins Tegan and Sara Quin aren’t quite household names yet in the Great White North, but the 24-year-old singer/songwriters have so far shared the stage with such Canuck musical notables as Neil Young and Rufus Wainwright — not to mention non-Canadian acts such as Ryan Adams, Paula Cole and the Pretenders, to name a few. They’ve also released three, full-length albums over the past few years and toured both the U.S. and Canada extensively. For the legion of fans who do already know their names, Tegan and Sara are Canada’s answer to Ani DiFranco, Pat Benatar and Gwen Stefanie — all wrapped up into one neat… er, make that two, neat packages. The Calgary-born duo released its third CD “So Jealous” in September and is currently touring to support the album with a stop in Whistler at the GLC on Friday, Feb. 4. Taking time out from rehearsals in Vancouver for the tour, Sara said that although the sisters now live in different parts of the country (Sara in Montreal and Tegan in Vancouver), the songwriting process for “So Jealous” was essentially unchanged from when they lived in the same city and made demos in their bedrooms. “Before, we would each write our own songs and make demos and exchange them,” Sara said. “We would give feedback and criticisms of the songs and work off of each other like that. Now, we don’t have to exchange CDs, we just exchange MP4s over the Internet.” And although Tegan and Sara are identical twins and similar in some ways, Sara said their songwriting styles have always differed. “I think we have always sounded different,” she said. “There is something about the way Tegan writes a song that is not familiar to me and yet our songwriting styles are complementary. “What I add to her songs kind of fits the holes and vice-versa,” she said. “Like, yesterday I was jamming with the band by myself and I could hear that there was just something missing.” After the sisters had sent and critiqued each other’s songs from opposite ends of the country, it was time to put the album together. “For this album, we sent stuff back and forth for four or five months and then I came back out to Vancouver and we got together with the same drummer and bass player who we worked with on “If It Was You” (2002). We all got together in a room and started flushing out the songs, working on bass parts and drum parts and the songs then kind of formed and warped into a finished sound.” But Sara admitted the process wasn’t without its ups and downs. She said drummer Rob Chursinoff had a bit of a hard time adapting to Tegan and Sara’s “bedroom demos” technique. Chursinoff was forced to rehearse his drum parts alone to the sound of the twins’ demos, much to his chagrin. “I didn’t have as much of a problem with my material, but Tegan’s songs were very dynamic and complex,” said Sara. “When we started working on them in the rehearsal spot, a lot of them were starting to sound like only one dynamic. Rob sort of got frustrated and said things like ‘Listen, this is the kind of drummer I am — I am a rock drummer.’ “We just wanted him to think outside the box,” she said. “Tegan’s solution was for Rob to play to her demo. It was really frustrating for him, and rightly so — and it was a frustrating process for all of us, but I think what came out of it was really, really great.” Although it was an unorthodox technique, Sara said the end result was worth the frustration. “One of the first days we were laying down the tracks in the actual studio, he was thrilled by what was coming out,” she said. “He’s already a fantastic drummer, but I think he was pleased to hear something coming out that wasn’t his ‘standard issue’ drumming. “The whole thing was initially very scary, especially to self-produce, but when you listen to the finished product you realize it was all worth the growing pains.” With lush and stylish harmonies, strong vocals, tantalizing lyrics and a powerful, but decidedly more pop sound, the growing pains seem indeed worth the frustration. Whether you’ve heard of Tegan and Sara or not, the fact is the two musicians put out music that is beyond their biological years. Tegan and Sara bring their considerable talents to the GLC, Feb. 4.