Author: Lou Durham
Headline: SISTER ACT
TEGAN AND SARA, THE LESBIAN IDENTICAL-TWIN-SISTER SINGERS, ARE BACK WITH A BRAND NEW ALBUM.
Tegan and Sara are currently taking the US by storm with their latest CD So Jealous, which was one of Rolling Stone magazine’s “best albums of 2004” and is released in Australia on 25 April.
They’re certainly making their mark, partly because of their ability to write catchy, clever pop songs, but also because they’re lesbian identical twins.
We caught up with the Canadian 24-year-olds to talk family life, fighting and flashing.
Did your parents bring you up wearing the same clothes?
God, no! Our parents were quite young when they had us so they were pretty liberal about the whole experience.
As soon as Tegan and I could dress ourselves it was like, “You pick your outfit.”
My mum had us cooking six-course meals for her when we were five. Well, we said it was progressive. Probably she was lazy, I’m not totally sure.
Were you best friends when you were growing up?
Well, we were never like Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, who are like, “My sister’s my best friend.”
We’re definitely a little more edgy than that in the sense that we do have conflict and we do spar about a lot of things. But I think it’s just because we’re both emotional people.
Have you ever slapped each other?
Sara has definitely been aggressive with me! (laughs) But we’re definitely not that way any more.
Do you live together?
No, Sara lives in Montreal and I live in Vancouver, which is about 4,000 miles apart.
Why so far apart?
In a sense it’s like forced exile.
We have a lot in common and a lot of the same friends and interests so sometimes when we come off the road when we’ve been away for months and months and months, we’d hang out with each other, and that was like never having a break from one another, so I felt like it was really important to have this break.
You’re on Neil Young’s label. Did you think, “Oh, god, granddad!”?
Granddad! No, I have a lot of respect for him.
Has he ever said, “I need you to wear these boob tubes”?
All the time!
We tell him that! No, he doesn’t really give a lot of criticism about the direction.
Do you have groupies? Do you get knickers thrown at the stage?
Yeah, people throw underwear but usually it just feels really weird and kind of gross.
The whole show I’m distracted by them and I just want to kick them off.
We were playing in Cleveland and these really hot girls in the front row kept flashing Sara. I don’t even think they were gay, they were just really excited.
We have hug groupies, people who don’t necessarily want to have sex with us, or at least they would never tell us that.
They just want to hug us, or guys will be like, “Do you want to marry me?” I don’t think we really give off a “All right, everybody, let’s fuck” vibe. I don’t think we’re gross or slutty.
So when did you find out that you were both lesbians?
There wasn’t an “Oh, my god!”, hand-flapping kind of moment.
I fell in love, I was in a relationship. I’d always been attracted to women so it was very easy for me to say, “Well, I’m in love and this is who I want to be with.”
I think people are fascinated about us being twins or being gay but it really is quite normal and pretty standard for us.
Were your parents in crisis?
No, not at all, I mean they’re pretty cool. It’s like with anything, like when we decided not to go to university, there’s a certain amount of apprehension.
There’s always that moment where it’s like, “Okay, you’re going to be musicians? Okay, you’re going to date a girl?
Are you going to be the happiest that you can be?” They’ve been so supportive.
Was there a coming-out moment?
Mmm, no coming-out moment. People always talk about, with people who are gay, they’ll be like, “So when did you realise that you didn’t like boys?”
And I’m like, “That is so heterosexual to say that.” I didn’t have a moment where I knew I didn’t like boys, I had a moment where I knew liked girls and that’s when I knew that I was going to have something a little bit different than other people, but I wouldn’t change who I am for anything.
Did it make it easier that you were both in the same boat?
Well, I think if Sara was straight and I was gay, I think it probably would be a little bit harder for both of us because you’re always socialised to think you are a partnership.
You’re always together, so the fact that we both happen to have the same sexuality probably was really beneficial.
If it wasn’t it would probably be constantly talked about, like, “One of them is gay and one of them isn’t.”
That could be really tough, so I think we’re very lucky to have one another, for sure.
Have you faced much prejudice within the industry?
They do it in a different way, I think. It’s not like anyone’s ever written, “Oh, I really like this record but I hate them ’cause they’re gay.”
They objectify us, they talk about the record in such a sexual way that it takes all the relevancy out.
We’ve had people write, “Oh, I love this record but you just really want to fuck them.” It’s like, how can you say that in one sentence?
It’s just a different world that men and women live in.