December 2011 Ask Tegan

Date: January 5, 2012
Author: Tegan Quin
Headline: December 2011 – Ask Tegan

Angela asks:
Who was dressed up as the creepy blue/green parasitic-looking creature in the Hell music video? Was that Sara or some random person?

It was Sara I think. But as I get older my mind has started to fade and so I can’t say for sure. But I THINK it was her. It may have been an extra on set. I remember they wanted me to do it originally and I outright refused. I am absolutely terrified of small spaces and refuse to be confined in any costumes. Once I dressed as a giant bunny for a fundraiser for Easter Seals and I needed to be medicated afterwards I had such a claustrophobic moment. Never again! ;)


Katie writes:
Hi Tegan,
I’ve heard you and Sara say that The Con was probably the fans’ favorite album, but you think that Sainthood had better (or more well-written?) songs on it. Given such a changing music industry, how do you define what it means to have a successful song or album? Is it sales, concert responses, critics’ reviews, yours and Sara’s personal feelings toward the work…etc? And has that changed over your career?
Also, just want to say thank you for all you and Sara do. Not only do you bring beautiful and thoughtful tunes into the world, but you’re both incredibly giving to your fans. It’s so rare. I definitely think it helps people better connect to your music and come to respect you as individuals.
You are neat,

Hey Katie!

Well, first off, thanks for writing in and for supporting Sara and I. It’s our pleasure and we’re humbled by your being fans of us!!!

Second, Sara and I felt successful the first time we managed to get through a set of our songs at a coffee shop without having to stop and start over. I remember the feeling of Under Feet Like Ours arriving and how thrilled we were to have done that at 19. Finishing a record at that early point in our career and lives was a huge achievement for us. We had borrowed all the money to make it from our grandpa and we were able to pay it back within the year and that was also a huge thing for us.

Right from the start of our career Sara and I would make a list of goals we had and set out to accomplish them. Using that model we’ve been able to sustain a healthy outlook and grounded approach to our lives and our career. Ultimately, record sales are just not that important to us. It does bother me that a better way of distributing music has not yet taken over our industry because I do think it’s wrong that some people take our music for free. But I believe that a subscription process will eventually happen and we’ll be compensated fairly. With that being said I would like to “sell more records” in that I would like our band to grow, more people to hear us, be it through radio or video play or something else. I definitely don’t want to limit our ability to reach our fans, or the people of planet Earth in any way. We will of course never do anything that feels wrong but as we have grown older the list of things we won’t do has not grown, in fact it’s gotten shorter. So, as long as people keep coming to see us play, we will keep writing songs and being able to release them to all of you.

Thanks for the question,


Holly writes:
First off, I think it is great that you guys are so considerate of your fans. I’ve just been wondering how much theory you guys know. How did you guys learn? By ear? By book? By trade? Please enlighten us.
Love Holly

Hey Holly!

Thanks! You all are so considerate of us that we can’t help ourselves! ha.

When Sara and I were 7 or 8 we started taking piano lessons. When we established we liked piano and consistently practiced my mom allowed us to start taking Royal Conservatory training. Basically, Sara and I played classical piano and trained and tested in both playing and theory for years. When we were 17 we stopped. I cannot remember one note of any of the music I played back then. But I do think it helps a lot when I’m working on new songs and want to add keyboards and piano. At the start of our career I was a bit resistant to adding piano or keyboards but Matt Sharp (who played on So Jealous) really encouraged us to embrace those instruments. I think I was resistant because I associated the piano with classical music and 10 years of lessons and training. Ha. Regarding our guitar playing, I know nothing. Even after 15 years. I can’t figure out anything ever. I find the guitar so frustrating and limiting. I write on piano more and more. ha. I should have taken more lessons. I tell myself I’m going to start practicing guitar but I just can’t make myself. It’s a tool I use to write and that’s pretty much it! I like playing guitar live only because it creates a shield between me and the audience. Ha. It makes me feel more confident! ha.


Steph writes:
Hey Tegan!
First, I just want to say that I’m a huge fan of you guys. I live in Edmonton but road tripped down to Portland to see you guys play last year! My question is in regards to Soil, Soil. It is one of my favorite songs, and Sara mentioned in The Con DVD that your mom liked the “extended” version of the song. What can you tell us about the extended version?
and rasengan.barrage wants to know if fans will ever hear this version.

Hey Steph

I don’t know if anyone will every hear the full version. Maybe. We are releasing The Con demos at Christmas on iTunes but the version of soil, soil is the version that we cut down so…Sara really did love the full version but felt the sweet, soft, short version was just more important and that the song did not need to be repeated in a punk rock pop variation. That was really all the original version was. I basically just played the whole song a 2nd time twice as loud and twice as fast. ha. Use your imaginations!

Thanks for writing in! Thank you for road tripping too!


Hannah writes:
“I just heard the first Christmas song of the year mid-November, yikes! I was wondering what you are doing for Christmas this year?”

Hey Hannah!

Sara and I spend the holidays each year with our immediate family! We have been changing it up the last 6 years since my grandma died and so this year we’re going to bbq on Christmas day. Feeling very excited! We don’t give Christmas gifts anymore. All of us just travel to see each other and donate to charity on each others behalf. It’s all very nice and politically correct. Secretly I miss presents a bit. But not THAT much. We need a child in our family so we can spoil them. Hurry up Sara! Make a baby!

Happy Holidays to you all!