Date: December 18, 2008
Author: Sarah Thomas
Headline: Tegan and Sara
INTERVIEWING Tegan Quin is exhausting business. One of the fastest talkers Metro has spoken with, following her non-stop stream-of-consciousness flow in our 15-minute conversation is hard work.
Speaking over the phone from her home in Vancouver, Quin is polite, enthusiastic and interested. But it is like dealing with a Canadian, hyper-speed Juno without the "fo' shizzle" affectations and trying to introduce a follow-up question feels like butting in.
Talking 10 to the dozen, Quin easily snaps from one topic to another: California's Proposition 8 ballot, which recently banned gay marriage; MySpace blogging; the Canadian Government; and the Brisbane band An Horse - she's a huge fan and will be touring with them when she and her twin sister, Sara, perform in Australia.
In a funny kind of way, Quin's telephone manner is a neat reflection of how she and Sara approach their creative output. As indie-rock-pop-singer-songwriting duo Tegan and Sara, it's not just a matter of churning out albums but about doing things to the full and in as many different ways as possible.
Their last album, last year's critically acclaimed The Con, is crammed with complex layers of vocals, guitars and catchy pop melodies. They also created a DVD about the making of the album. At the moment, the sisters are working on a similar documentation of their lives - a series of three books of photography, journals and essays.
The sisters have just started writing together for the first time in their 14-year songwriting careers to see what would spawn for their next album, due out late next year. "I think I write more traditional songs and Sara's kind of weird and 'out there' and the demos for this record are reflecting that even more," Tegan says. "We thought we would get together and turn our two sensibilities into something different."
As well as touring North America and getting stuck into songs for a new album, the twins have been campaigning against Proposition 8.
Tegan says it's a civil rights issue and the right of a minority should never have been considered by popular vote.
Both the twins are gay and Tegan says her partner is from the US and it would be good to have the same rights there as she does in Canada, where gay marriage is legal.
At the same time, however, she says it's not as easy to galvanise people behind matters such as Proposition 8 as one might think. There's a danger because the hipster culture that's part of her generation has experienced a relatively easy life - that complacency has seeped in, she says.
"We're part of a culture right now, the hipster culture that's kind of eating away at anything that matters or is important.
"People our age, we haven't been through anything dramatic like a depression or a war that's really affected us here at home . . . It's easy to get caught up in your own day-to-day and forget that there is tremendous grief and horrifying acts of violence happening everywhere and there's just so much of a fight left."
MySpace remains an important link with their fan-base while the Quins are shifting around. "We are very vocal people and we obviously can't be everywhere at once, so it's a nice way to keep connected with your audience," she says.
"It's also a form of expression and we're narcissists right at heart and we need to be constantly communicating, even when we're not making new music."