There are very few-to none bands, that I would hop-a-plane to Australia two consecutive years for... and absolutely none-bar-one, that I do delight in picking the brains of more. So to, speak (slow! + over-head hand-claps).
Like you can't hurry love, my most-anticipated album of 2009 is another eight month test of curiousity-killed-the-cat-and-all-unicorns patience. To save us through impending winter-gloom and that R-to-the-N word, Tegan Quinn promises a New Zealand tour on the TEGAN & SARA to-do list... only fourth behind world domination.
"There is a dark side to our society. Ignorance and hate is everywhere under the surface."
COUP DE MAIN: New Zealand, cannot pretend that it is anything less than heart-broken. Will you ever return? TEGAN & SARA - TEGAN QUINN: Definitely. We've never had tour support overseas and so any excursion and tour we take outside of North America, we have to pay for ourselves. It's a shame that we have not been able to justify or afford to fly over. I promise though that our next record will be released there and be HUGE and we will tour. Now you New Zealanders just need to get on promoting it!
CDM: Why did you decide to write the songs for your new album together, instead of apart as is T&S tradition? T&S: We haven't written every song together but so far of the fourty we've submitted, about twelve were collaborations if not written in the same room together. It's an interesting feeling to start doing that after fourteen years of not doing that. But it's good to try new things and I think we feel confident enough about our abilities that we could try something like this now. The songs themselves are not my favourites that we have written but I definitely see a future for collaborations like this.
CDM: Was it difficult writing together, or did it come naturally? T&S: Very difficult. I don't think it was about Sara either. I just think I'm used to being alone. I've tried writing in the past in a room with someone and it didn't work very well. I like to write alone in my house. I devote a full day to writing and recording generally and I don't think the self consciousness I felt was very natural.
CDM: What's the status on the new album? T&S: Chris Walla has agreed to produce. We have asked another Tegan and Sara alumni to come on board and co-produce as well as engineer. Howard Redekopp who did So Jealous has agreed to come back as well. So we are looking at a May/June/July time period to make the record. It will be released hopefully some time in October.
Chris Walla once told me that you are his "favourite people on the planet". Is this mutual? T&S: Definitely. He is a treasure we hold dear to our hearts.
CDM: What are your thoughts on how 360 deals between artists and their record companies, are changing the music industry and affecting how artists earn their living? T&S: I'm not a fan of the 360 deal model. I think it's unfair for a band like us. We would never sign a deal like that. For younger bands starting out, it makes a bit more sense. But I think once you are off the bottle (i.e. tour support), the label should no longer get a piece of your merchandise revenue or the show revenue. If they are lending you tour support for touring and for your merchandise production, it does make sense to get some money back that way but... I think bands should try to be more self sufficient than that. It's like being an adult. Live within your means. Bring two guitars not thirteen. Don't take a tech for everyone, when you're playing to 500 people a night. Share hotel rooms. We kept our budgets low, so we didn't need a lot of tour support. It's why we are still making records ten years later, even though we don't sell millions of them.
CDM: You've been pro-active in protesting Prop 8. Do you wish you could be participating in the Defense of Marriage Act protest on January 10th? T&S: I do wish I could be there. I have a lot of friends who got married in California and it obviously upsets me that so much of the world is still so behind us in Canada. It's a question of equal rights and not God or the Church. It was good to be there during election time. It made me feel like I could help make change by marching and being involved. A lot of people felt really upset they couldn't be there to support.
CDM: Do you think that Barack Obama will make good on the promises he wrote in his "Open Letter To The LGBT Community"? T&S: I hope so. It will only change the world for the better if he does.
CDM: Does it concern you that the youth of today have manifested complacency over basics of society, such as civil rights and opening their eyes to corporate consumerism? T&S: Of course. But every generation goes through that. We are more and more distracted and complacent. But we are also more informed and more capable of making change than ever before and I think that makes up for a lot.
CDM: In I Was Married, you have the lyrics "now we look up in, into the eyes of bullies breaking backs". Why do you think humans have developed so that they are able to obtain pleasure from other people's pain? T&S: That lyric is in reference to an incident that happened while we were in high school, in another city at a high school. A bunch of kids attacked a girl that was sort of a friend to the group but not well liked and very much bullied and had her back broken and was thrown off a bridge into some shallow water. She couldn't swim out as she was so injured. There are still stories about some of the girls who were involved in the local news in Vancouver. Our friends when we heard about it all cried. We were deeply moved. There is a dark side to our society. Ignorance and hate is everywhere under the surface. It's shocking to think someone would ruin their life by taking another. I can't understand it. I don't think most people can.
CDM: When can we expect the first tome of the Tegan and Sara book series? Is there a theme throughout the books? T&S: The books are going to be released simultaneously. It will be a three part series. Each one will be focused on the band and different aspects. The first, touring in America. The second, writing in New Orleans together. The third, touring in Australia. The third focuses on the band perspective of touring, in their own words and photographs. The second relies more on interviews and questionnaires, as well as photos of our experiences. The first, a very in-depth look at life on the road in America. It will include essays and interviews from Tegan and Sara, the band, crew, other bands we have toured with etc. I would look for them in the Spring (May/June).
CDM: What are your best and worst memories, of being nineteen? T&S: It was a tough time for me personally. I was in a very long distance relationship, not to mention dealing with the pressure of the band. We were making our first record and so we had borrowed a huge amount of money and we were touring but very economically, which was also very hard. I moved away from home at the end of that year. Also hard. The best memories were a lot of the same things. I had so much fun in those days touring. It was all so new and exciting. The record was a really satisfying experience and I realized quickly how much I liked being in the studio and being creative. Then moving to Vancouver away from my family and friends, was really hard but it also felt like I was finally a grown-up. Plus I loved Vancouver. Jumping in the ocean which was only a few blocks from me, is one of my favourite memories.
CDM: Touring, has allowed (or forced) you through a wide-range of interviews. The modern paradigm of music journalism seems to be in attempts to gain readership by asking taboo questions. Is it worrying that journalism is becoming more and more about shock-factor than real substance? T&S: I think that there is always substance and good credible journalism, in a day of shock and taboo interviews. We generally ignore the questions we don't like, or give boring answers. Chrissie Hynde told us once... "they print your answers not the questions", so I keep that in mind. Be smart and interesting, even when the journalist isn't.
CDM: Favourite tour/T&S anecdote of late? T&S: Hmm... When we were boarding our plane in Vancouver a few weeks ago en route to Australia, the women checking tickets yelled after us "OMG are you Tegan and Sara? I love your music you guys ROCK!". So loud, so embarrassing, so busy in the airport. We slunk off after waving and saying thanks. I was mortified and told Sara not to walk near me. We generally only get recognized next to one another. We had a pretty big laugh about that.
CDM: Future plans for Tegan & Sara? T&S: 1. Finish the books we are working on currently. 2. Finish writing and record the new album. 3. Take over the world. 4. Tour New Zealand.