Ask Tegan: Keepers, Feelings, and Ireland

Date: September-November 2013
Author: Tegan Quin
Headline: Ask Tegan

Jordan asks:

Who wrote the song “Video” for the collaboration with Morgan Page on his album In The Air? How do the collaborations you’ve been involved with come about? What impacts your decision to do them?

Hey Jordan!

That particular collaboration was just Sara and Morgan Page. I think I did some backing vocals. But often for those types of collaborations we tend to tackle the songs individually. With The Tiesto track we did it was a complete collaboration between both of us. We like dance music and love working with producers in different genres. If we dig the tracks we tend to be up to doing some extra work on the side. It’s a great way to challenge ourselves and I find we always end up learning something new each time we work with someone new.

Celia writes:
Hi Tegan,
Maybe I’m from a particularly dysfunctional family, but I’m impressed with how open you can be with the lyrics of your songs. I’m wondering how you handle your mum and sister knowing such intimate thoughts? Do you think you were raised to be open, or is it something you’ve learned over the years? I would love to be closer to my family, but it seems so strange to start talking about personal matters after years of taking about the weather.

Hi Celia!
I think it all depends on age. When I was a teenager I kept a lot to myself. There is a natural desire to have your own secrets, stories and individuality. Especially as a twin. As I got older I felt a desire to get closer to them both. Especially my mom. I’m well into my 30′s now and feel that I’ve created a whole different relationship with my family since becoming an adult. It took a long time. It took a lot of mistakes. But I think we’ve found a way to be close and yet still give each other space to be ourselves when we’re together. As a writer who is so open and vulnerable in my music, I have always felt like I don’t need to always say everything that I am going through or dealing with. I’m able to use my music to do that. Perhaps start with showing your feelings or thoughts through another medium?
Good luck!

Amee writes:
Hey Tegan!
You and Sara have been making (fantastic) music for longer than most ‘mainstream’ artists even last in the music industry, which is a credit to you guys. :) How many more records do you think you have left in you? I’d always be excited to hear more. :) Good luck with the rest of your Heartthrob tour, unfortunately I won’t be seeing you guys since I’m from Ireland and nobody comes to Ireland! Ha!
Best of luck,

Hey Amee,
We’d LOVE to come to Ireland on this record. We promise to try. It’s our goal to visit your side of the world more! Promise. As to your questions about records. I think we have a few left in us for sure. I don’t know if we’ll continue to work SO hard in the future. But we love making music, we love touring and we love connecting with fans. So I think as long as the project continues to grow and evolve and be successful we will continue to do it. There is a desire to settle that just happens in your 30′s. I miss my family and friends and the normal life stuff more than I did in my 20′s. But I still love the road and making music so much. I feel very excited by our career and inspired by music so I think we’ve got a few years left! Don’t worry!

Leisha writes:
I’ve been a fan for quite a while, and I’ve come to realize the reason that you’re my favorite band is because you keep reinventing yourselves. You keep getting better and have yet to reach your peak, even after all these years. Is there a band out there that you feel the same way about?
I appreciate so much that you take the time to read these.
Also, the new album is AWESOME.

Hi Leisha,
I think Bruce Springsteen would be the artist I feel most closely resembles what Sara and I are trying to create. I don’t think he is restricted by one music style. He’s made different sounding records over his entire career. He changes his band, his sound, his style, his producers from record to record to tour to tour. He also considers himself a writer, a story teller and an artist. And that’s Sara and I too. We aren’t a band. We’re not restricted by genre. I think we just work at telling our stories through music. Whatever is inspiring us moves us to make music. Whatever comes out just comes out. I think that’s similar to Bruce!

Amy writes:
How do you know when a song is a keeper and when to toss it on the back burner? More importantly, how do you overcome the feeling that every song you write isn’t good enough and end up tossing everything on the back burner (if not the trash)?

Hi Amy,
We tend not to worry about if a song is a keeper or not and instead just keep writing. When we’re writing for a new record we tend to submit 40-50 songs and we don’t choose our favourites until we’re done writing. I find the best songs often float to the top. Typically we poll a few important people we work with and they almost always pick the same songs. The good ones just stand out. I find it hard later on to listen back to the “discards” because there is something special about every song we write (they are like children you love equally) but I always stand by the work we release to the public! I think it’s meant to be! Never throw anything away either! Keep it. You might be able to use the frame work, or a certain phrase or a melody down the road!
Good luck