He might ask us to play something in a different key or faster. Your first single is "Boyfriend." How did he help you with that one? It really started 12 or 13 years ago, when I moved up to Montreal. A lot of this album is thinking about that time: who I was, what it really meant to be on my own, the insecurity that came with it. Am I a freak of nature now because I'd just spent 17 years touring? When I brought that one in, I thought it would be scrapped. It was the first time in my life that I'd ever lived without Tegan. Another song that deals with relationship insecurities and feeling helpless is "Hang On to the Night." What inspired that? I'm in my mid thirties, and I'm starting to think about mortality a lot.
As out lesbians, Tegan and Sara have allowed themselves to be used as veritable poster girls for attractive, talented and successful gay women who have no qualms about their sexuality, even bringing girlfriends on the road with them and participating in the True Colors Tour and the OUT Magazine 100 in 2008.
Besides a booming merch line, designed largely by Sara’s ex-girlfriend Emy Storey, Tegan and Sara have released a DVD, It’s Not Fun, Don’t Do It, and are preparing for the publication of three books: On, In, At.
I don’t understand why the world can’t relate to a song written by a queer woman.
I’m writing about the same shit everyone is writing about.
When he stripped back the demo, I realized it had a really strong arrangement and a strong melody, and the lyrics were great. I made friends and started a romantic relationship. We've lost a lot of people in the last few years.
There's a relaxing of these old-fashioned ideas. So our goal is to make that performance feel and sound as good as possible. I hate going to shows where I'm like, "Uh, this sounds terrible." Or "Fuck, this doesn't sound like the record." Because there are only four people onstage making it, where the record has a hundred tracks on one song.
After more than a decade of making indie-rock hits, the Canadian twin sisters largely traded guitars for synthesizers, focused on hooks and became even more of a success. I don't think we would have said, "I guess we have to get the old electric guitars out again and write more indie-rock songs." You worked solely with producer Greg Kurstin, who worked with you on , on this one. Tegan and I work best with producers who work almost like editors. Some of them may already have 60 tracks [of instruments] on a song. Now I'm like, "Fuck." If I could just get up onstage with just an i Pad, I probably would.
Their 2013 album, that after working with several producers and songwriters – including Jack Antonoff, Rob Cavallo and Mike Elizondo, among others – they realized they had invited too many cooks into the kitchen. Together, the Quins and Kurstin crafted strong, thoughtful, catchy songs like "Boyfriend," "100x" and "U-Turn," all of which explore various forms of relationships, from romantic ones to their own sibling dynamic. We really need someone who can dig through all of that and pick the strongest parts and elevate them. With this whole record, I was looking into who I am as a person.
They went to therapy at one point and are finally at a place where they can listen to each other before reacting.