Interview: Tegan and Sara

Tegan and Sara - Photo courtesy of Tegan and Sara

Tegan and Sara – Photo courtesy of Tegan and Sara

As is the case with many bands, long-time, overzealous and somewhat overprotective fans of Tegan and Sara can accuse the group of being too mainstream these days, but they certainly can’t claim that the Canadian duo – made up of twin sisters Tegan and Sara Quin – hasn’t matured over the 18 years since its founding.

And with the release of the pair’s seventh studio full-length and first in four years, “Heartthrob,” Tegan and Sara did what they are so good at, which is moving the music forward while staying true to their roots.

Out of all the albums the two have released, their favorites vary. For Sara, “The Con” is her self-proclaimed favorite, and the one to which she has the most emotional attachment.

“There’s something about [it] that will always be really special for me,” she said. “It was a huge time in my life and it was a big record for us. I loved the experience of making it.”

Yet at the same time, because of its lyrical content – dealing with the tail-end of a relationship and ultimately, a breakup – Sara said it’s also difficult for her to digest.

“The album feels really heavy,” she admitted. “It’s hard for me to listen to that record.”

Listening to the demos of their music works in the same way for her, requiring her to distance herself from the material emotionally. This task is particularly tiring because Tegan and Sara often have to listen to the newest album repeatedly for inspiration while working on concepts and branding of artwork, photoshoots, and designing merchandise.

“I almost actively try to go to this place of ‘it’s not me,’” Sara explained as her way of approaching a completed album. “It’s sort of like going to the bathroom and staring at myself for awhile. I usually have to be drinking.”

Another reason why Tegan and Sara generally won’t listen to an album after it’s out is due to how the songs evolve from a recorded to a live format and take on a new life all their own. Yet the two have songs they each love to play or, conversely, dread playing.

For example, Sara doesn’t like to play “Walking with a Ghost” and “So Jealous,” songs she likens to being “kind of like the sprint at the end of your run.”

Currently, Tegan and Sara are on a European tour promoting their new album. And, as usual, there always tend to be some potential creative projects in the pipeline, such as recent musical collaborations with Astronautalis and David Guetta and songwriting for pop artists Lisa Loeb and Carly Rae Jepsen.

Additionally, in the past, the two have talked about soundtracks they would like to have songs appear on, with “Twlight” at the top of Tegan’s list.

“I certainly support Tegan [and] her enthusiasm for wanting to write songs,” Sara said with a laugh. “Tegan loves ‘Twilight.’ I mean, I don’t know what to tell ya.”

Tegan and Sara play tonight at Astra in Berlin. The show begins at 20.00.

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