Saturday, January 16, 2010

Twins' tour Ottawa-bound

Indie rock duo Tegan and Sara are not new to the music business. They’ve been releasing studio albums since 1999, and have collaborated with many big artists, including Against Me! and TiĆ«sto.

In fact, their latest release, Sainthood, is their sixth studio album. It also marks the twins’ first attempt at writing songs together.

“It was quite challenging to sit in a room and watch someone else write and give suggestions without hurting each other’s feelings,” Tegan said on the phone from Vancouver, where she currently lives.

Sara lives in Montreal, which is why Tegan says the Internet has been particularly useful over the years when they were simply collaborating on songs, as opposed to writing side by side.

In the end, only one co-written song, “Paperback Head,” made the cut for the album, but Tegan says the writing experience was an interesting one.

“Considering we’ve collaborated with each other on records for 14 years, it was really nice to try something new, and I feel a real attachment to those songs,” she said.

Both women write their music first, adding the lyrics later, Tegan explained, citing their classical training as the reason for this process.

Although they were trained on the piano, Tegan said she is more confident writing on the guitar — the instrument on which she wrote her first 100 songs.

“I think our band is pretty all over the place,” she said, explaining that some songs are predominantly guitar-based, while others focus on the keyboard. “The song really ends up calling out for what it wants.”

The cover art for Sainthood comments on people’s expectations of them because they are twins Tegan said.

“We’re constantly being analyzed as a partnership and people are always talking about the way we look,” she said. “We’re very different. We live in different cities, and I don’t think we look much alike at all, but we decided it might be fun to play with this idea of being identical.”

The album cover shows Tegan sticking her head through a cardboard cut-out, with Sara, dressed like the figure, in front.

“We were playing with the idea that part of me was real, but part, I’m projecting,” Tegan said, adding that some people might not notice that it’s cardboard. “I’m doing such a good job at projecting this image that you may not even know that I’m projecting an image. You might just think it’s me.”

The band is currently playing sold-out shows across Canada, performing 27 songs per night, according to their Twitter feed, with Australian band An Horse — a band they have been planning to bring on a Canadian tour for years.

Tegan said Sara has been highly involved in An Horse’s career, ever since they met at a record store in Australia.

“Besides our personal relationship with them, I think they’re fantastic writers,” Tegan said. “Everywhere else in the world where we’ve toured with them, they’ve done so well and I just felt it was the right fit to have them for the tour.”


Originally published in the Charlatan, Carleton University's independent student newspaper