Date: October 2005
Publication: The Life
Headline: An Hour With Tegan
I had the privilege to sit down with Tegan of the duo Tegan and Sara before their October 11th show. We talked about everything from fan sites to social change. The first thing that strikes you about Tegan was the honest openness she exudes when she talks, and the fact that she has a very good grasp on the English language, which so many people these days seem to lack. We started off chatting about why she wanted to do this interview in particular, which led us to the very interesting subject of fan sites. For one, she is a big fan of The L Word and second she is a fan of fans. I was surprised to find out that she had actually been to our site several times.
"I appreciate being a fan of something. I appreciate a site devoted to supporting something, especially something I like." She got into the The L Word through being a fan of The Murmurs and Leisha Hailey. So after a friend told her about Hailey's involvement with the show she started watching and became a fan.
"My mom got me the box set for Christmas and then watched the whole thing in a week and felt like they were my friends so when I got back to Vancouver and was walking around thinking where are all my buddies! Where's the girls? So after I finished watching it I called my mom and talked about that when I watched The L Word I could understand why people could be obsessed with us because I felt obsessed with the show. I get it now, when you finally find something you can relate to it was like I want to know these people or I do know these people. Itís neat to see these roles and relationships played out on TV. It isn't stereotypes, but it is stereotypes. Itís taking the piss out of the stereotypes. How many queer kids get to grow up watching hot gay characters?"
When I asked what her favorite character was she couldn't pick, but I did get her to give me that her favorite couple is Dana and Alice because she could relate to the younger story lines. We all know a big controversy surrounding the show was the type of characters it depicts. People within the community were worried about all types of lesbians and bisexual women being represented, so I asked Tegan's thoughts on the oft brought up opinion that the show only represents glamorous femme characters.
"I feel like people say that there are only femme characters, but they're not there are some butchy characters in there. Just because they are cute or good looking doesn't make them femme. Yeah, they don't have shaved heads and they don't wear flannel, but can we let go of the stereotype of the late 80's early 90's lesbian please? They're out there still but there are other people. Times are changing and yes the show does have a lot of really hot people but so? No one complains about Melrose or Friends. Why can't everyone on the show be cute? I think all my friends are hot so there you go. People are looking for everyone to be represented, which is fine because it's the first show for lesbians. People do that to us sometimes. They want us to be those hard core stereotypes, but I am not going to get up on stage and talk about sex or gay rights if I don't want to or don't feel it. I would never talk about sex on stage anyway, but that isn't the point of it. It's about our music. I think people feel the same way about Ilene and The L Word. Give them a chance. There are going to be a lot more shows now so we can represent everyone. We're all as a society a little hard on artists."
We moved on from talking about the show in general to talking about the impact of it and other shows and media outlets like it for the queer community.
"With the expansion of queer arts in the mainstream we're going to see a lot more support within the community, in all the different communities as well as the queer community. They're taking down all the stereotypes, or at least expanding on the perception of the scene in the community, which is great because I feel like in our age group itís not as easy to peg who is what."
She gave us something else to look forward to in the new season when she told me that she and Sara had just shot an episode of The L Word and had worked with Kate Moennig and Erin Daniels. If we weren't all waiting impatiently for the new season to begin before, we certainly are now. She told me that there were rumors that Leisha will have more of a central character this year, which could be mighty interesting for Alice fans and the show in general.
Do expect a new album soon. The girls are wrapping up work on a new record and when asked what the feel of it was going to be Tegan said, "I think itís going to be a Tegan and Sara record. I don't know what its going to sound like. It could be the same, it could be different." The girls moved across the country (Canada) from each other, which apparently is working out fine. "This industry allows for us to have that space. We travel so much that itís really nice to be able to go home and not have to hang out with each other. She has her side of the country and I have mine. We fly in and have the middle ground. I am definitely a west coaster. I don't like shoveling show, I don't like it when its cold, and The L Word tapes in the same city as me so what more can a girl ask for?"
We went on to my favorite part of interviews; the favorites and least favorites list. I asked her what the worst thing about doing press was.
"There's never anything in the moment. It just when people are jerks and I think, well, that was a waste of my twenty minutes. Generally, I really like doing press. I like people asking about what we're doing. I like having the opportunity to express clearly what our objective is. I think the only thing I don't like is that sometimes people come in with an angle instead of using our angle, which is to be really honest and up front about how much we love playing music and how excited we are to be doing what we're doing. It turns into something totally different and that sucks."
Then I asked what her favorite word was.
"Well, I swear a lot so I have to go for my favorite. Fuck. When I started dating my girlfriend she doesn't swear and she said that it was an ignorant word and that it made me seem unintelligent. I was like, fuck what am I supposed to say?"
I continued with my Inside the Actor's Studio-esque line of questioning by asking what her favorite sound was.
"Nothing... Just quiet. I just like things to be quiet."
We spoke about the rigors of touring. Sleeping in a cubby on a moving bus, being bored waiting for show time, and stress. She talked about everyone thinking it was a glamorous life, but stressed the fact that they have a lot of time to do nothing at all while on tour.
If you are in Florida then look for Tegan and Sara to be coming your way in November. If you haven't seen them live then buy your tickets now because you are missing out on a great experience. Not only is the music fantastic, but the interaction with the audience, which they are known for, is entertaining as well. Just a few words of advice for future Tegan and Sara attendees; don't just sit there holding a drink, make a lot of noise and clap above your heads. They love that.