Your style has always been seen as acoustic folk rock. How is your newest album, The Con, different, and why did you make that change?
We always saw ourselves as songwriters, so there wasn’t much emphasis on developing the band with instrumentation. With So Jealous and The Con, we had the chance to think a lot more about the instrumentation and worked a lot on it. We went so far as to put our own drums down and mapped out what we wanted our songs to sound like.… When we first started making music, we were 18, where you go into a studio and rattle something out.
How would you classify your genre of music?
Honestly, I think it’s not as important to me what genre we fit into. What we are doing defies that. We’re not necessarily seen as just indie rock or pop rock. We take a bit from each of those communities but don’t see ourselves as fitting into one of them. Ultimately, I think if we were boys, everyone would say we were rock. Since we’re girls, they say that we’re indie, folk rock. When people ask, I usually say we’re in a rock band, or I say we’re in a metal band and when they come to our show and say, ‘that’s not really metal,” I’ll say, ‘I know, weird!’
What do you want your fans and listeners to take away from your music?
I’m still a music fan myself – I’m always waiting for a band to blow my mind. There’s nothing more exciting to me than putting on a record that gets me so excited and makes all the hairs stand up on my body and makes me want to sing every song. Growing up, my mom would take us on car rides at night, just so we could listen to music in the van.
I want to inspire people to be excited about music. It’s not important to me if they think we’re cool or we’re in the top. Looking out and seeing fans singing our songs back to us makes me excited to know that I’m in the kind of band that the Smashing Pumpkins and Violent Femmes were to me when I was a kid. It transcends the industry.
What records or the artists you are currently listening to?
I have recently bought a huge five-collection Motown CD of the Supremes. I also just bought the album by Hercules and Love Affair. I listen to a lot of music and also try to keep my mind challenged by a lot of other audio, like talk radio and comedians.
What is your favorite song out of the new album and why?
I really enjoy performing a song that Tegan wrote called “Dark Come Soon.” It builds dynamically and when we perform it well live, I get really excited. It is a really different type of song for Tegan and this song really knocked her out of the box that she usually writes in.
Is there any misrepresentation of you two by the public that you would like to set straight?
I think any artist relying on anyone to paraphrase who you are makes people cringe. Because you think, ‘Is that it? Is that all they think I am?’ What excites me is that the Internet has allowed Tegan and I to put out our own image of us. There is a dueling representation of us – our own and the journalists. I think it’s important to see through other people’s eyes.
Tell me a little bit about your parents and their involvement in your musical careers.
My parents have always been very supportive. They were actually divorced when we were young. After we graduated high school and we decided we weren’t going to attend university, they had some apprehension. My mom thought we were making our lives hard on purpose.
But she saw we were intense and passionate about our music. They noticed the natural inclination we had for performing – they were the ones who instilled this passion for musicians and music. Once they saw that we were consistently going on stage and doing well, they became really supportive that we are leading these fun and exciting lives.
What is the biggest difference between you and your identical twin sister, Tegan?
Tegan has a stronger exterior. I think I have more patience and I’m a little bit more casual. Deep down inside, we have a lot of the same traits – we’re both creative, intense, artistic, we love to read, talk and tell stories.
You’re coming to Davis to perform on a college campus. What is your view on the college experience?
When we started touring, we were the age of the college student we performed for. I had two sets of emotions: One was that I always felt like I’ve missed out – I felt sort of envious. A part of me wanted to be part of a college community.
And two: Performing really proved to me that I was ready to jump into it. I was very ambitious. I didn’t want to be locked into classrooms and essays. I’m 27 now and have experienced some success. I own my own house. I feel old. I don’t feel that longing to be in the college atmosphere anymore. I think that definitely I would love to go back to school someday and get a degree solely for learning purposes. Not to use the degree to get another job or anything.
Tegan and Sara will take the Freeborn Hall stage today at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25.50 and a limited amount are still available at the Freeborn Hall ticket office. For more information on the event see Entertainment Council’s facebook.com group, and for more on the band visit teganandsara.com.
JUNE QUAN can be reached at email@example.com.