Sisters are doing it for themselves
After 10 years in the music industry, Canadian twins Tegan and Sara have performed all over the world, graced the pages of almost every music publication and, most recently, released their sixth album, Sainthood. On Jan. 8 and 9, the duo will return to their roots and hit the Jubilee Auditorium to enthrall hometown audiences, relive childhood memories, and reunite with old friends.
The Reflector managed to catch up with Tegan Quin to chat about time in Calgary, life on the road, and what she’s currently listening to.
Reflector: With Calgary being your hometown, what’s it like to come back here during your tour? Does the atmosphere differ from other cities?
Tegan Quin: I love coming back to Calgary on tour. It’s always such a fun show. It’s nerve-wracking in a different way to get up in front of people you grew up with, your family and friends from the olden days! Which I love!
R: What is your favourite Calgary memory from when you were growing up?
TQ: Oh God, that’s hard. I love all my memories from my childhood. I think Calgary was super fun to grow up in. We used to ski on the weekends at Sunshine and Lake Louise. I remember ice-skating in Marlborough Park outdoors in the winters when we were kids. Our teenage years, we lived near Crescent Heights, so we used to frequent Peters’ Drive-In and Eau Claire Market. As little kids, my dad used to take us to the river in the southwest and make us walk on the ice. There was a tire swing in Devonian Gardens I loved too.
R: When it comes to your songwriting, you both obviously have different techniques, but what do you think is the best thing about your sister’s style?
TQ: Sara is a very patient writer. I like to blow through songs quickly. I love the process of recording and listening more than anything. Sara takes a lot of time to work out lyrics and structure. It’s very impressive. I think our yin and yang approach is what makes our band so interesting, so I don’t feel pressure to change, but I think our last writing trip in the fall of last year definitely inspired me to take a LITTLE more time with things.
R: Have there ever been instances where you write a song and then send it over to your sister and she really dislikes it? Do you guys ever fight about what songs go onto the record?
TQ: I love every song Sara sends. I definitely think some are better than others. In a lot of cases great songs are passed over because they don’t fit the vibe of the majority of selections. I don’t often take this personally. I really see Sara and I as each other’s producers and I take her opinion seriously and never personally.
R: What’s your current “tour bus soundtrack”?
TQ: I’ve been listening to a lot of talk radio. It helps me sleep on the bus. The other night I listened to the entire Gaslight Anthem record ‘59 Sound, and then the last Astronautalis record.
R: What’s one of your favourite tour memories?
TQ: There are way too many to even get close to picking a favourite. We love to recount stories of past tour managers. Sadly, we have been through quite a few over the years. One of our best tour managers left to go work with Michael BublŽ and we still talk of him fondly, almost nightly. We were in Paris once, lost as hell, late for sound check and he went running into a gas station with a map of Paris and apparently said, “Je m’apelle Craig, how do I get here,” and then he passionately stabbed at the place on the map we needed to go. That cracks me up every time.
R: Do you ever play practical jokes on your sister? If so, can you remember an instance where the joke went too far?
TQ: Sara and I and the band play jokes on our crew or each other a lot actually. Mainly we stick to locking each other out of the van, pretending someone is lost to (the) crew over the radios backstage pre-show, or making the bus leave any stragglers who are a few minutes late behind…so funny.
R: Calgary is always changing, so it must feel different every time you visit. Are you keen on checking out any new hot spots or favourite childhood haunts while you’re in town?
TQ: The last time I was in Calgary I actually stayed in a hotel downtown. It is SO different there these days. It looks like a different city to me.
When I go back to the northeast, especially, I feel like it hasn’t changed at all though. I love going back and visiting friends and my grandparents.
There are definitely better options every time we go back for food and hanging out. One thing I will do for sure is have dinner at the Silver Inn. I LOVE it there.