Date: August 26, 2005
Author: Andrew Murfett
Headline: The Mighty Quins

Canadian twins Tegan and Sara Quin have an overriding need to entertain, Andrew Murfett discovers.

APART from the usual catcalling that comes with being female in rock, Canadian twins Tegan and Sara Quin also experienced, courtesy of their fans, some bra tossing a couple of weeks ago in California.

"The truth is," Sara says, "we get lots of catcalling, or people saying that we're hot or whatever, but if I hear people telling us to take our tops off, or throwing bras at us, it's usually pretty good material for me to turn it back on them."

The openly gay Vancouver-based duo boast chic hairstyles and raspy, nasally vocals. Their quick-witted on-stage banter and faux bickering is augmented by guileful playing.

The Quins began playing together at 15, as Plunk. Their first major Australian release was 2002's If It Was You, an intriguing mix of delicate, precocious guitar-pop.

"I love that record," Sara says. "I think of our career in two parts, and the stuff we did before that record is almost like a different band.

"Instead of reforming and becoming a new band, we decided we would play a more concentrated type of rock music.

New record So Jealous has delivered the duo their biggest audience so far. Thanks to airplay on some of the most influential US radio stations, it also secured the band an opening slot on the Killers' victory march through America this year.

Sara says the acerbic banter between herself and Tegan is something that occurs on and off stage.

"Whether we're standing in front of 200 or 2000, we feel an intense need to really entertain people. We like to close the gap between the audience and performer. I've been to a million shows where it has felt there is a brick wall between the audience and the band. I would hate to think that anyone would ever leave our show and not feel like they had made any connection with us."

Both women are in long-term relationships, and Sara says her partner tours with the band sometimes.

"She comes out sometimes, but we're well-behaved these days. I'm pretty good with calling and emailing and flying people out when they need to be here. Everybody in the band is in a relationship, so that environment makes it a lot easier.

"I meet bands who meet groupies and are always drinking and partying, and there's no way you can maintain a relationship doing that."

Tegan and Sara play the Hi-Fi Bar tonight with Bob Evans.