October 2011 Ask Tegan

Date: November 14, 2011
Author: Tegan Quin
Publication: teganandsara.org
Headline: October 2011 – Ask Tegan

Stacey writes:
Hey Tegan,
First of all, I think you are brilliant; you’re the best thing to come out of Canada since Trudeau!
I heard you and Sara talking on stage about how your song “The Cure” made Sara cry in New York.
Are there any of Sara’s songs which make YOU cry? If so, which ones?
Thanks and all the best,
Stacey xo

Hey Stacey!

Thanks SO much for the question. Sara and I are always very entertained by this question
as we get it (in slightly different forms) A LOT! There are no songs of Sara’s I don’t love, or feel
emotion about. It feels like a grand privilege to be in a band with Sara and get to hear her songs
FIRST and get to participate in bringing them to the world! They all make me cry the first time.

Take care,
Tegan Trudeau (kidding)

Ashley writes:
Hey Tegan,
I really loved Paperback Head from Sainthood. Will there be any more similar Tegan and Sara writing collabs in the future?

Hey Ashley!

Well, we are definitely enjoying working on songs together but not always for our own project. We do a bit of collaboration on our own songs by making lyric and arrangement suggestions but no 50/50 collaborations have appeared yet. We will have some collaborations that we did with other artists coming out early next year! So keep your eye on the website for those!


Makayla writes:
Dear TRQ,
My question is somewhat complicated, it has to do with what you said at the Calgary tour dates. About how some artists treat there music as a career and others don’t. I was wondering at what point does a band turn into a career? You and Sara have been playing together for over a decade, like you said you first toured coffee shops bars etc. At what point did your band turn into a career? I know this may seem like a weird question but its something I have not yet found an answer for. So basically the main thing is when does a band that tours turn into a career for life?

Hey Makayla!

Thanks for the question. This is a difficult one. Let me see if I can answer it.

When Sara and I started to play for people that weren’t our friends and family around age 17, I became obsessed with the idea of doing that all the time. Sara and I both wanted to travel very badly post high school and music seemed to offer that. We also wanted to do something creative with our lives and music allowed for that. As we became more and more successful (putting out our demos, getting signed, putting out records, selling out shows etc) over the next few years it slowly evolved into a career.

In a sense, I look at the first few years of our career like college. We were studying to became career musicians. While our friends were at University studying to become doctors and teachers we were studying song writing and record making and business. When we started to achieve success it was like we had graduated and landed our first job. With that came better pay and health care and stability. Which in turn motivated us to continue. Underneath it all we were just striving towards more creative endeavours and freedom within our work of course, but being paid and building a stable foundation were all apart of that. And I guess that’s what I mean when I say some artists build careers and other’s don’t. I don’t care about making millions, or even selling millions. I just want to ensure that Sara and I can make music as long as we like and not go hungry doing it. That means working hard every day and ensuring the future is planned out. A lot of artists just want to play music. Which is totally great. But often without planning and foundation and goals etc it’s hard to sustain!

Hope that answered your question!


Richard writes:
Hey Tegan!
I love your and Sara’s music sooo much! I’ll probably never have the pleasure of meeting you both so I wanted to tell you how much I respect you for being true musicians and such positive role models in the music industry (you’ve inspired me to write my own music!). I’ve got two questions, I really like the way the your music has developed over time and was wondering if you’d ever consider rethinking/remastering/re-envision certain songs from some of the earlier albums and making them completely different with a completely different twist on them, with new instruments different harmonies etc. I watched a video for Moog sessions where you re-envisioned Living Room and it made me think if you’d ever do that with any other earlier songs and put them on a future album? Also I loved the video chapters for the songs on The Con and I loved the behind the scenes and it made me connect with the songs even more thought it was awesome to see how they were made and was wondering if you’d ever do that again? I can’t wait for the DVD and the new album!
Thank you so much!
- Richard (from North Wales)


Thank you for the lovely note. I appreciate it very much. We love Wales a lot. Looking forward to returning. Regarding the rethinking of our music…we actually do that from time to time when we play live. For our latest release, Get Along, we played a lot of our music from our past 6 records in new stripped down arrangements. It was really fun. A lot of the old songs have weird arrangements that are counter intuitive to how we write and perform now so it makes it hard to just play them as is. But we try. Slowly we’re getting there. It’s hard to go so far back into our musical catalogue. Like looking at old year books or re kindling with old friends or lost loves, it can often be a trip you don’t want to take or one you just want to take quickly and then head back to reality. Ha. Meaning…we like hearing the old songs once and a while..but often just don’t want to go backwards. So. But slowly we pull songs out. I love our work that we did in high school that we have yet to release. I think that is music I could get into playing! Look out for it in the future!


Kerenza writes:
Hi Tegan ! :)
I was just wondering, how do you and Sara organize which parts you sing on each other’s songs?
For example does Sara just ask you to fill in certain area’s of the song with lyrics of your choice?
A huge thanks from your biggest teenage fan,

Hey Kerenza!

Generally how Sara and I decide who will do what is based on who wrote the song. So for example:

Call It Off.

I wrote the song and lyrics. I send it to Sara in a basic form. Just a few guitars and my voice. Then she records ideas she has for back ground vocals, additional instrumentation and makes suggestions about the arrangement. That’s how we do it!

Now, some songs we don’t do any collaborating. Like..Sentimental Tune for instance. That is all Sara. I play a bit of keyboard on that song on the record. But all the vocals are hers. So when it comes time to play the song live..I just sing and play what she can’t.

Hope that sheds some light on our process!