Date: October 19, 2000 @ 10:30 p.m.
Author: Andrea Chiu
Headline: Tegan And Sara: A Family Affair
Tegan And Sara are known for their onstage banter and outspoken personalities. While on their busy tour with Neil Young, the guitar-strumming twins took the time to sit down with ChartAttack. Talking fast about everything from family to fans, one thing was made clear in conversation with Tegan And Sara: they're in full control of their lives and career.
You guys recently moved to Vancouver from Calgary, why did you decide to go there?
Sara: When we were kids we spent lots of time there. Every summer we went to Vancouver, so for me, it's like no matter how many times I play there, no matter how much I play there, it's not Calgary and it's definitely not foreign to me at all, it's very familiar. I like being there for personal reasons, not professional, whereas I like being in Toronto for professional reasons.
So were your parents cool with your moving away?
Tegan: Oh yeah, they were like "Bye!" A year ago, they were like, "Time to move on, huh?" But they love us. We fight because we're siblings and then we have to work together. They were like, "If you guys move out, you're gonna get along a lot better, so why don't you move out?" My mom is really independent. I mean, we've been gone for two years anyway; we just basically came home to go to bed, y'know? So she was just like, "Y'know, you guys just gotta figure out where you wanna go. Whether you live here or Vancouver. Do what you wanna do."
My parents have always been, like, "School is always first, no matter what comes along the way." Have yours always been supportive?
Sara: My mom just finished high school and married my dad and had kids. When my parents got divorced, she went back to university and got a Masters in social work. When we told her that we were gonna take a year off, my mom was really upset and was like, "I don't want you to do what I did. I did it the hard way and it's not fun being an adult student." It was a failure in her life and she didn't want it to be one in ours. I was just like, "I'm not going to school for different reasons than you, I want to be there and I want to want to go." When she realized that we weren't going to slum around and that we were going to try to do something with music or even if we were just happy, it quickly settled in with her that it was different. She had been stuck into a life because of having a kid and getting married. We were choosing our life. I think that she realized that was attributed to her strength. She liked that, so she's cool with that.
Is it weird for her now, seeing her daughters in the media everywhere?
Tegan: She used to make funny comments. One time she was in the mall and saw someone wearing a Sara And Tegan T-shirt. She was like, "I really had to think if it was a good thing that I called you Sara and Tegan," because she had lots of different names to call us, and she was like, "I had to think about if I'm glad now that your name is on the T-shirt and if I'm happy with my choice." My family is really excited that we're doing something. We have a really weird but intensely really close [relationship]. I think my family was genuinely excited and they are incredibly supportive about it.
Would you ever think of returning to school, even if it's 10 years from now?
Tegan: Oh yeah! We've been talking about it just for fun, taking a course, a correspondence thing through university just on the road. I mean, we're constantly reading, we read three books a week. We're obsessive about learning still. We're really trying to keep ourselves educated. Given the opportunity to go back to school, I think we'd take it, absolutely.
What would you do?
Tegan: Well, [laughs] that's why we're not there yet... Sara: I think if I had gone to university after high school, I would have been under this sort of impression that you have to do something, you have to become something, you have to be going to school for something. I think that if I go back now, even now knowing what I do, I think I would just be going back to learn. Sometimes I feel starved for any kind of brain [activity]. Sometimes I sit and I can't even read anymore. Like on this tour, I just stare out the window. I look over and it's been two hours and I just feel starved for anything interesting to talk about, to read. I just feel so bored and so stagnant sometimes that I think I just miss being at school. I really do. School seems so cool again because I'm so often in situations where no one knows me. Nobody knows me, so sometimes that's lonely. Like, what's it about? It's social things like lunch times, after-school activities and drama. There's so much to do, so I'm starved for attention sometimes, which is funny when you're onstage all the time getting so much attention.
But it's a different attention.
Sara: Very different, sometimes it's not good attention.
Is it weird for you now because you have all these fans who want to take your picture and meet you because you're Tegan And Sara?
Tegan: It's nice, I'm glad they're there and I'm glad they're supportive.
Sara: But still, it makes you shy away a little bit.
Tegan: We have been taught by the media lately, that to show your support for a band, to prove that you are the best fan ever, you have to come out and stand outside MuchMusic and scream. But every other day of the week, are you that big of a fan? Are you out there with a fuckin' sign 24-7 going, "Backstreet Boys! Backstreet Boys! Backstreet Boys!' No, just when they're in town and you know they're gonna be there and you know that there's a venue where you can prove to yourself how big a fan you are. So these people, I don't question why they're there, I know why they're there because they're like, "I like them so much, I'm gonna go stand out in front of MuchMusic." Whether they want to admit it or not, it goes no deeper than that to me. If they just want to go down and be, like, "I like them, I'm going to support them," I think that's really cool.
So you're happy with where you are now.
Tegan: Yeah well, I mean we put ourselves here.
Sara: If I wasn't, I'd change it.
Which brings me to the CD. Why did you guys decide to call it This Business Of Art?
Sara: We're happy with what's going on in our career and it's sort of a statement. We're not saying everyone should have to be involved in their business because they're a musician, but we're saying that we like being involved in our business and that we're making decisions for us and that no one can say, "Oh well, you worked with Hawksley [Workman], so you made it sound too pop," or "You did this and blah, blah, blah" or "You're being pushed around because you signed with a record deal." It's not true, we take control of everything that goes on in our lives and so we're really proud of being involved in that.