BY T. Cole Rachel
March 10 2010 9:00 AM ET
“I mean, don’t we look gay enough?” Sara says, laughing. “We’re pretty gay. And it’s tiresome sometimes to talk about it—‘Yep, we’re still gay!’—but as our fan base gets bigger and continues to broaden, it’s even more important to talk about it. Our music should affect people because it’s hopefully good pop music and because we sing about things that are universal to all people. The idea that we need to gay it up somehow is funny to me.”
Having spent the bulk of the past decade sharing a stage has made Tegan, who lives in Vancouver, and Sara, who resides on Montreal, into a formidable live act, but it’s not just all about their musicianship. Their onstage banter and propensity for storytelling has, over time, become a much-beloved part of the nightly set. “Sometimes I’m more proud of that than I am of our songs,” Tegan jokes. “I mean, that shit isn’t scripted! We never even tell the same story twice.”
The duo’s penchant for humor and the fact that they each talk a lot—and very fast—combine to not only make them ideal interview subjects but explain why hard-core fans have such a visceral connection to them. “People feel like they know us,” Tegan says. “They don’t necessarily come to the show because ‘Nineteen’ is such an awesome song; they come because they feel like they are hanging out with us. And they are. We want people to feel that way.”
One of the few times Tegan or Sara suddenly becomes serious is when asked to consider what life might be like if Tegan and Sara the band were ever to end.
“We played a big show at Massey Hall in Toronto on the day that Kate McGarrigle passed away,” Tegan says. “At the end of our set we dedicated our last song to Kate, this amazing Canadian woman who had spent most of her life playing music with her sister. So, as we’re about to launch into the last song, Sara stops and says, ‘You know, all night I’ve been feeling really upset because there’s no one else I’d want to spend the rest of my life with besides Tegan. I’m so happy to be in a band with her and share a stage with her and have her as my sister.’ It totally put all the craziness of our lives into perspective…but then I was like, Damn it, how am I supposed to play this song if I’m crying? Thanks, Sara!”