Date: February 15, 2008
Author: Jacqui Swift
Publication: The Sun
Headline: Lesbian Twins Coming to UK
IDENTICAL twins Tegan and Sara have been making music together since school.
The Canadians have earned international acclaim but, until now, the UK has largely remained off their radar.
Now with the release of The Con, their fifth album, Tegan and Sara, 27, plan to change that with a UK tour starting later this month.
Here they talk about their most personal album to date and why being lesbian twins is anything but a gimmick. ARE you hoping The Con will finally earn you recognition here?
Tegan: We definitely are excited to be touring more internationally. I know for our fans it seems to be a feeling of “it’s about time” and for us it is very much the same.
Sara: We feel positive about the UK. The internet has helped build a passionate audience.
WHY is the UK special to you?
Tegan: It is a great place to tour. We have a loyal and devoted fan base and we are intent on touring anywhere people are interested in seeing us tour. We were in the UK last summer and had an amazing time.
Sara: The UK feels like a metropolis of many different bee hives. There is so much happening. It’s always a challenge for us to stand out somehow; staying underground, relying on the support of word of mouth has been our best bet. But we’re ready to surface.
YOU record separately? Is there a twin-ESP thing going on?
Tegan: I wish we had enjoyed some ESP over the years. Sadly, we don’t. Nor do we enjoy writing together.
YOUR writing styles are very different can you tell us about them?
Tegan: Sara writes a little more out of the box. She is a little less conventional. I feel I write more basic structures and melodies.
Sara: I have a tendency to create many layers around my ideas. Tegan is much more bare bones about it. She will have an amazing hook and just push it forward.
HOW do you cope with each other’s criticisms of your songs?
Tegan: If she doesn’t like a song I don’t take it to heart. I move on and write something better.
Sara: We rarely disagree about music, I try to be gentle with every creative idea Tegan has.
THE Con is deeply personal . . . can you tell us what happened to you both to influence it?
Tegan: We were writing about long relationships and the anxiety and confusion that comes with that. Also Sara was writing a lot about love/marriage/death.
We had suffered a loss in our family while we were touring So Jealous and we didn’t have time to grieve properly.
Sara: I was in a very serious/longterm relationship, buying a house, dealing with immigration issues (my partner was American).
I was feeling very stressed out and thinking about being an adult. There was anxiety and I was writing from a darker place.
CHRIS WALLA worked on The Con? Are you Death Cab For Cutie fans?
Tegan: Yes, big fans, and he’s helped us keep our sound very much alive in a way that we had never had the ability to do before.
We also spent nearly a month recording our parts (guitars, keys, pianos, vocals) and then added drums and bass. He made it our very first cohesive record.
A LOT has been made of you not enjoying touring. How true is this?
Tegan: This was a quote that was blown out of proportion. We love touring. We always have.
ARE there any “fighting sisters” episodes on your tours?
Tegan: We got in a brawl in a hotel room once. I pinned Sara between a bed and a wall and pulled her jacket over her face.
WHAT is it about Canada’s music scene that makes it so healthy?
Sara: There is a vast support network through government-funded programmes that reinforces art as a rewarding part of our culture.
YOU’VE toured with Neil Young, Rufus Wainwright and Bryan Adams. Who was your favourite?
Sara: We’ve been fortunate to have played with Neil a number of times over the years and through that experience we witnessed the inner workings of a very special, family-oriented, respected and inspiring project.
WHAT’S the worst song you have ever done – and who wrote it?
Tegan: SuperStar. Tegan. Yuck.
Sara: My Aunt Julie told me to stop speaking negatively about my old music. I think she’s right.
For somebody, those songs really mean something. I’m not doing them any service by criticising them now (but there are a LOT of them I cringe to hear).
AS twins and lesbians, does it annoy you when people focus on this?
Tegan: I think the media and our labels in the past have tried to turn it into something gimmicky.
But I think we’ve grown out of that. I think we’ve also proved we’re genuine songwriters who are talented and have the support of many great people and a legion of lovely devoted fans and so I think that period of our life is over.
We’re happy and proud to be out and known as queer artists and we are also happy that people pay much more attention to the music these days.
Sara: I think there have been times when journalists have treated it in a gimmicky way.
Perhaps from a lack of awareness or education about homophobia or sexism.
I know most people don’t intend to be cruel or ignorant. I’ve become more patient but it is upsetting when it feels like the music is lost behind a headline.
THE White Stripes covered your track Walking With A Ghost. Are you fans?
Tegan: Yes we are, we loved the cover. It’s a real mind trip to have someone so talented interpret your music.
Sara: It was amazing to hear their version. We were thrilled.