Tegan and Sara | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Tegan and Sara

Opening a New Chapter

Mar 12, 2012 Issue #40 - In the Studio 2012 - Grizzly Bear, Dirty Projectors, and Twin Shadow Bookmark and Share

“I think this is going to be a very door-opening record,” says Tegan Quin, one-half of the Canadian rock duo Tegan and Sara. “I feel like we’ve hit on something that’s going to allow people to connect to it and get into it.” She adds, laughing: “Just like Ace of Base.”

Tegan and Sara spent the better part of 2011 close to their homes on opposite coasts, playing few shows and only writing music when they felt inspired to do so. As the pair enters the studio to record their seventh album, it will be under less pressure than in the past.

“We’ve got 36 songs written,” says Tegan. “Our big goal was to spend just as much time as possible at home, so we could write as much as possible. It’s like any other skill, it kinda gets rusty when you’re not using it.”

The sisters once again find themselves writing separately, something they’ve done through most of their career.

“As much as we’ve become open to working with other people, we still seem pretty resistant [to writing together]. I feel like we’re so close to each other’s music, it’s hard sometimes to feel a real sense of clarity and the confidence to say, ‘Oh, you should change it,’” says Tegan. “A big challenge on this record [has been] how to get more depth into my music, and how to get more immediacy into Sara’s music.”

This time around, the band is collaborating with a variety of producers, each working on separate songs.

“[It’s] more of like a ‘pop’ way of working, where you send songs to different people based on their abilities,” Tegan says. “One of the producers is more of what you’d probably call an indie guy, one of them is more a mainstream guy, and then the other two are more in the pop world and doing really cool stuff.”

More than a decade into their musical career, the two still find it important to take a fresh approach to their work.

“After this point, with 12 years and six records behind us, we have to do something else or we’re just spinning our wheels,” says Tegan. “We’re not those kids on the Greyhound, playing sports bars in 1999 with spiky haircuts. We’ve grown up. We’re adults, and the things we’re thinking and feeling, experiencing, it’s important for that to be in our music.”

The new album, which is projected to arrive in the latter half of 2012, does not yet have a title, but a theme is coming into place.

“Sara and I are both in stable relationships, we’re both at a very stable part of our career,” says Tegan. “We have achieved more than we ever thought we would. In a weird way we’re quite content right now, so I’d say the theme of this record is really different than our last records; it’s not heartbreak, but one of much more empowerment and also a lot of reflection.”

The duo have had good reason for reflection over the past year; last November they released Get Along, a career-spanning live CD and documentary project.

“The main thing I took away [from it] was just how massive our career’s been already,” Tegan says. “Just how much we’ve done, how many years we’ve been out there, how many experiences we’ve had and lived through, how many changes our band has undergone. Yet at the end of it all, here we are. Most bands don’t last 10 years, and we’ve hit the 13-year mark and, ifanything, it’s getting better, and we’re getting better.”


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