Canadian indie popstars Tegan and Sara have been making complex, emotional music together for most of their lives. Sara Quin was kind enough to chat with me via email about her songwriting and influences in advance of their Buffalo concert next Monday.
You’re seven albums into a career that is almost 20 years old – how have you grown as songwriters and what keeps you motivated?
Your songs come across as incredibly personal (though likely told from a narrator’s perspective) while also striking a universal chord with your fans. Who are some of your influences as writers?
The production on your albums has varied from release to release and you have worked with some very disparate sonic architects as producers – Chris Walla, Mike Elizondo, Greg Kurstin – how do you decide what is the right treatment for a particular song or set of songs?
Often the collaborative process is a blind risk. You can tell if you are compatible before you begin work, but until you are actually in the studio its impossible to know what the results will yield. More often than not we've had highly satisfying experiences!
I imagine your songs are like children – it’s tough to choose one above the others. But let’s say you are asked to make a “Sophie’s Choice”; is there one that you are particular proud to have written or one that is particularly special to you?
What are some of your musical touchstones, those things that you heard and loved and go back to? Who inspires you musically?
I think I have a tendency to revisit the classics from my childhood. Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline, Bruce Springsteen, Kate Bush, Madonna. I appreciate good melodies and timeless lyrics so all of those artists do that for me. I feel inspired by the sonics of modern music currently. Beyonce, Robyn, Alicia Keys, The-Dream.
You’ve been given one “musical wish” – to work with any musician/songwriter/producer – who would you choose and why?
What’s on tap for you next as artists?