Date: October 17, 2004
Author: Josh
Publication: tegan_n_sara live journal community

Josh: See, before doing this, I decided I wouldn't write these down.. Because you always read interviews with people and it's always the same thing, and people's responses get so automatic and you can tell they're bored, so I only wrote down a few questions, so we'll do those first...

Tegan: Yeah, totaly. That's true. Great observation. Usually I ramble on and on and on so I'll probably just answer any question you had anyway.

J: Did you ever think that you two would be where you are today? Be able to have your backdrop up there, and tour, and people are coming here tonight to see you.

T: Did I think that would ever happen? I hoped it would happen. We did the opening thing for a long time, we still do it, you have to do it. Until you can fill a house and make a name for yourself. In Canada we do okay, but inside the states it's a little…

J: Well you started there.

T: Yeah, we did, but, that's what we're working toward, I suppose. It doesn't have to be a four-thousand seater venue, just a really cool place, and we get to come in and do a good show. Obviously that was our goal when we started, but…

J: Does it surprise you that you got here?

T: No, because we were working towards it. But parts of it do... It is a lot of work, but it is a lot of fun to be up there. I'm surprised at how nice some people that have been touring for years and years are. There are elements that are surprising, but we worked really hard to get here.

J: Obviously, there are packaged artists. People like.. Britney Spears.

T: Poor Britney, man.. She's really taking a beating.

J: Yeah, she really is. But her whole career was basically set up for her... But she's still classified as a musician/artist/performer. So, do you feel that it takes away from the music industry?

T: Oh, yeah, well not Britney herself, but what major labels did when they realized how big they could get. When your goal is to sell ten million records in the first week, that's a lot of work. That's big. That means you have to grease a lot of palms, you have to do a lot of promotion to get the record out to that many people. And I think that by creating something that was so easy to get that they did cheapen music. I don't think it was Britney's fault, or P!NK, or NSYNC.. There are lots of bands out there, Avril Lavigne, bands that are selling tons of music... I don't think everyone in the organization is terrible and I don't think that they are terrible, or even that their music is terrible, most days. It's just the vibe around it that cheapens it.. Because we write our music and we play our music and we love our music.. And it's not all about money. It is kind of depressing. I feel like we've created this bad relationship with music buyers, me included, because I'm a music buyer, because there are record companies that I don't trust. When I hear about a new band, I want to hear the whole record before I buy it, because you're so used to buying a record for one song and having it suck. And, I think we're repairing that relationship.. I feel like that's part of our platform, is re-building the connection with the audience, giving them what they're looking for, and that is about music, not about record sales. They can try to make it about record sales, but it's not.

J: You go through a lot of songs that don't make it on the records.. "C'mon Kids," "Love Type Thing.." How hard is it to omit songs?

T: There are songs that aren't on the record... There were like, twenty songs.. "Love Type Thing" was just one that we had a lot of trouble omitting... But there are lots that we got rid of.

J: So, it was hard to not include that one, particularly, but how do you decide which songs are best going to convey the message you want to send?

T: Well, we have friends and family listen to the music and help us decide for sure. But when it comes down to it, you become attached to certain songs. Before rehearsals, we had 20 songs. When we got into rehearsals, there were 18. When we finished rehearsals, there were 16, and then when we started recording there were 14, but there was the extra one we couldn't let go of. So there's all these songs that now when I listen to them, they're really weird to me, because I don't think they represented where we were at, so I'm glad we didn't put them on there, because you better like your songs. Sometimes it's hard, because there are songs on the record, like "Wake Up Exhausted" and "I Won't Be Left" and we're really, really not relating to them, so we're not playing them live right now. You have to be aware of the fact that you better like your songs and you better connect to your songs, because you have to be up there and I have to be selling the music, I have to really be into it.

J: The only song on "So Jealous" that I don't really.. Not that I don't LIKE it, but I don't really get, I guess, is "We Didn't Do It."

T: Some people really love that song, and other people don't... Our label, Sanctuary, really loved it.. But Vapor didn't, and…

J: What's the story behind it? Is it... selling out, is it…

T: No, no no... It's Sara's song, but my interpretation of the music... Sara got into this pattern, I'm sure you've seen it on the record, "So Jealous", "Walking With a Ghost," this repetititiveness.. I think the lyrics maybe came from, actually, being lazy, on her part... She got this idea, but what her meaning is behind it, I don't really know. We haven't talked about it; I just figure that she has some story for it. This record, in part, was an exploration on our part to be more experimental with our guitar parts and layering our vocals a bit more, and not being so conventional, like, 'This is my song, and here are the lyrics, and this is the meaning!' it was more like, "This is the sooong.. And here's the guitar parts.. And then there's all this shit on top! Isn't it cool?!" I really enjoy that song, but it's another hard song to re-create live, we're still working on it. But, I love it. I don't understand it at all, but, when the, "Get in my car, it's too full", and the drums come in, LOVE it. I'm a lover.

J: I do, I love the sound of it, I just didn't... get it.

T: Didn't get the song? Yeah. Good question. We'll ask her later.

J: Even though the states isn't your best audience, where do you like playing most?

T: Oh, I like playing the states... But I love playing Canada. Of course, it's our home and we've played there so often.. It's so familiar, and I know where my favorite place is to eat, and we have a great audience there, generally playing for six and seven hundred people. They're bigger and they're crazy and they have five records at home, not just one recent one, and so I like that a lot. We haven't done a lot of our own touring in the states, we've really done one massive tour, and we've done a bunch of west coast tours, basically, so this is our first undertaking for an extensive tour. I'm excited, I like touring here, because it's so big, it's such a beautiful country and there's a lot of interesting dynamics about it from state to state. Obviously being Canadian, we're really wrapped up in the political atmosphere as well, so we get to pretend we're American and say, "Damn, George Bush!" We get to get right in there and get involved. It's a really interesting place, and there's so much great music, and we've always been really well supported here, we've always had a good time touring, and this is where our label is, and our agents are from.. And I really admire the hard work they've put in in the last few years. It could have been really easy for them to say, 'Eh, they're not selling enough, see ya later.' But they keep working with us, and I really like touring here. The first time we went to Spain and played it was amazing, and I love all of Europe, it was so much fun. We went to Australia last summer, it was unbelievable. Truly, every place on this earth that you go, it's really different, and we have really different experiences wherever you go... I love touring everywhere.

J: So, I spent time trying to decide how to word this.. So I hope it isn't offensive or that it comes out wrong or odd... All the reviews, or most of the articles, the opening lines so often have 'Tegan and Sara: Lesbian Twin Sisters' in it somewhere early in the article. Do you feel like you two are being pigeonholed into that?

T: I think that there has been an attempt to do that, I think it's good that they say it, but then they spend the whole article going, 'But that's not who they are, don't let that scare you away!'

J: See, if it was me, I wouldn't understand why it had to be at the beginning of it. Especially as a teenager, I don't think that sexuality is not who you are.

T: No, it's not who you are, it's a part of who you are.

J: Yeah, and so many people use that as a classification..

T: Sure, yeah, that's the industry, to be honest with you. If you're not throwing around a sexual term, or what country you're from, or what relation you are to the people in your band, then they're telling you what kind of music you are, and I think that's part of this industry. I think it's laziness, on journalist's part. And I think that it's the laziness of the industry again that's become so saturated with drama and unspecific prolific rumor garbage trashiness... I think it's starting to be really hard to come up with something. So, I look forward to the day when they get past that, because it is really annoying sometimes when I read those articles, annoying mostly because I think each one of those journalists thinks that they're coming up with that for the first time, and it's like, every time I read it, I'm like, '..what do they think they're doing?' Unless it's a game that we don't know about, where journalists are coming up with a new way to say 'Twin-Lesbisn-Folk and Canadian' all in one sentence. They must be looking for a new way each time. In fact, now, in this interview, I've come around and I think it's really interesting, so I'm going to start collecting the first line of news press we have and put it in a book and release it. I'll give you co-writing credit.