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Tegan and Sara Are Fighting for the Future of Queer Women

Posted by Beck on May 18, 2017 at 6:20 PM Comments comments (0)

May 17 2017, 11:00pm

Last year, Tegan and Sara had two milestones in what's already been a more ambitious career than most: They released their eighth studio album, Love You to Death—"a queer pop utopia," as Noisey called it—and they launched the Tegan and Sara Foundation, with a mission to "fight for economic justice, health, and representation for LGBTQ girls and women."

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and tomorrow, VICE and Instagram are teaming up for a panel to discuss challenges queer people face in dealing with mental health issues. Together with Tegan and Sara, the Trevor Project, Julia Kaye (creator of UP and OUT, a webcomic where she's been documenting her gender transition), and Instagram public policy representative Carolyn Merrell, we'll be unpacking how each are using social media to combat stigma surrounding mental health issues, and how we can empower both physical and online communities to deal with them. It will be broadcast live at 8:30 PM EST/5:30 PM PST on @VICE's Instagram. It's all part of Instagram's #HereforYou campaign, which is raising awareness about mental health and resources to find support on the platform.

Ahead of tomorrow's panel, Tegan told us more about the coolest things the Tegan and Sara Foundation has been involved with so far, how they changed the life of an uber-dedicated fan, and how she and Sara are fostering a more positive, empowered fanbase.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

VICE: You and Sara have had a prolific career in LGBTQ activism. Can you tell me more about what you've been up to lately? What's been your focus?

Tegan: Yeah, we've been at this a long time. Sometimes I'm like, "Holy crap, like, a really long time." But there's always that undertone of all the things we're going to be talking about: activism, our audience of young people, how they use social media—those have been such big touchstones of what we do and what's made us want to keep making music, because it can get really exhausting. We're eight records in, and it's been almost 20 years. Between touring and traveling and self-promotion, lots of bands can burn out—any job for 20 years can become a lot. So Sara and I set new objectives and goals, we try to keep it fresh. Setting up the foundation was a huge part of how we wanted to change our latest record up.

Between our work with young people and the LGBTQ community and the rest of our career, we're just trying to smoosh it all together and redirect some of our visibility, power, and privilege. And it's been a cool year. I feel like we have two jobs now. It's good, though, because when one becomes too much, there's always the other to push back on, and Sara and I are really lucky because we have each other. We balance the world together.

When we launched the Tegan and Sara Foundation, we spent the entire first year really just educating ourselves, using our touring operation to meet with social justice and LGBTQ organizations around the country, to sit with our audience and think about what our community needs and where the gaps are. We don't want to redo the work that anyone else is doing, and we certainly don't want to steal from organizations that are already working really effectively. But there are gaps. There is so much need in our community—and specifically from people like us, who have access and the ability to get in the door.

What have been some of your proudest moments so far?

When we were on tour, we met with a lot of really great groups; one of the first partners we funded was this really cool organization out of Orlando called the Zebra Coalition. They're an LGBTQ center that provides free counseling on site. We were able to get them a grant right away, which helped a lot of their youth get bus passes and transportation.

But our biggest initiative so far was a hackathon we funded in DC last week, with an organization called Lesbians Who Tech. We came together with 150 innovators across the tech world and pitched apps. I pitched a national mentoring app—I have 20 years of experience in the music industry, and I'd love to mentor a young person getting started in the music business. I don't necessarily want to give eight hours a week, though, so we thought that an app would be a great place to have even just a five-minute conversation.

We're going to talk about this more on Thursday, but you and Sara obviously have a huge, passionate fanbase, with vibrant online communities—how do you guys nourish that community and discourage some of the nastier side effects of online discourse, especially for young people?

Right from the beginning of our career, our fanbase has been really active online—in chatrooms, fan groups, and then into social media. We saw how much support they got from one another—how it was about friendship and music and seeing the world, and we really embraced that and encouraged it.

A few years ago, we started our first fan club, and we called it the Superclose Society, and one of the reasons we did it was for that community. We thought we could use a more streamlined place to communicate with them, with merch items and badges so they could pick one another out at shows. A lot of people who became friends online haven't ever met one another in real life, so we wanted them to be able to organize themselves, because we've heard these tremendous stories.

There was this one woman on our last record cycle who saw us on TV and became a new fan, then she went online, explored, found out a ton about us—and this is a woman who never left her state before. She had never been a social person, she lived in the suburbs, went to work, that was it. Within a year, though, she went to shows on three different continents and had a vibrant, huge group of fans from the Tegan and Sara world that were her closest friends. She was in her 30s and imagined a very small life for herself, and then because of the music and community, she had this incredible growth of confidence and friendship and passion to see the world. It's a very significant thing to encourage this community online, and I hope we're able to do that with the foundation too.

Our mission is always to fight for the things we think are important for our community, but also to amplify positive stories. Often when it comes to LGBTQ stuff, there's a lot of focus on the things that are happening that are sad or bad or wrong or unfair, and I think that's important. But for Sara and I, in order to rise up a new generation of LGBTQ leaders, especially women in our community, we need to amplify positive stories.

Sometimes I hate social media, you know—it can feel like the end of the world. But I hear stories from other bands who hate it too and hate the negativity. We try to amplify positive and empowered things, to encourage community and be sure that we're giving resources to any fans who are struggling. We want them to find a community away from the assholes and TERFs that clog up your feed. Nothing is worse than when I post something and people start commenting and calling people out—I am an advocate for comments, and I do think they are a great place for people to meet, but when I encourage our fans to go on, I say, "Don't argue with each other. These trolls coming on here are not worth it, we don't need it. Amplify the positive messages, respond to the positive messages, ignore the trolls. They'll get bored and go away."

In Conversation with Tegan and Sara

Posted by Beck on March 18, 2017 at 2:40 AM Comments comments (0)

March 18, 2017

We caught up with twin sisters Tegan and Sara before their Paris gig to play music from their latest album Love You To Death their 8th album to date is out now.

You came back last year with your new album Love You To Death and it’s definitely more pop than your previous projects. Why move in that direction?

Tegan: We’ve been making music since 1998 and I think we just want to make something that seems fresh and new. We always picked different producers and themes on each record to sound unique. And for Love You To Death, we really want to make a big change, we wanted to take some risks. And also, you know pop music is very interesting. It can be very progressive.

We were in the indie-rock world for a long time which is generally a white heterosexual man kind of music and we don’t feel like we belong to this. When you look at the history of pop music, it’s so progressive. At the beginning of the movement was queer-friendly, especially with Madonna or George Michael. When we started doing pop songs, it just made more sense for us. So we were like “fuck it, let’s do it !”.

This record, is also a visual album as each track has its own video.

Sara: I think it’s a reaction to how competitive it is now to keep a space in different medias. There’s so much happening all the time like you put something out and in an hour its hits so many people. Also, as an artist it was a nice way for us to take the music and collaborate further with other artists. Like for the song U-Turn, we worked with Seth Bogart who I think is a total genius and visually interesting. It was the first time he directed a video and I remember him thinking “I don’t know how it will look like?!” and we were like “But no, who cares?!”.

Actually, more and more pop artists use their music to promote a political message like the band MUNA or more recently Katy Perry, What do you think about this ?

Tegan: It’s exciting, at the start of the 80’s pop music was very progressive and there was a lot of messages about LGBT, queer people and politics. When U2 became one of the biggest bands in the world, was talking about Irish politics and they were traveling around the world playing in front of thousands of people who have no idea about these problematical stuffs. I think pop has a long history about being political. And now, there seems to be a return and it’s really exciting. Personally, we love Katy as we’ve been touring with her and she’s really great. I think she understands that she has can reach more people than we can. No matter how pop we became, we’re still not gonna be that huge. I think it’s wonderful that she can do this!

Since your last record, you seems to be more engaged with the LGBT community and now you have a foundation, tell me more about how this started?

Sara: I think that we always had this idea that our music was political even if it was not overt because we are consider ourselves being queer. It never felt like needed to sing about it, even if the message itself was totally queer. We created this foundation to make people understand that we take it seriously, try to reach more people and help them by telling them that they are not alone.

Men tend to have more visibility to share their message like Sam Smith, Years & Years or Troye Sivan… there’s not so many queer women in this industry having this public and universal message. With this project we were like “How can we get more resources to what is happening to women?” Trans woman, coloured people are so often forgotten so with this platform, we’ll see what we can do!

Do you think this will have an impact on your music in the future?

Tegan: Probably and I think we are lucky as we are touring with this albumn and we don’t have to panic about what we are going to do next. For example, Katy Perry she’s hasn’t finished her record yet but she need this political situation to release new music to promote the message. Music is an escape and we have to remember that there are many ways to speak out as an artist and I think we have many platform: social media, the stage, our records, you know I think it’s still important to bring joy and happiness to people even with a political message. I still want Tegan and Sara to be a peaceful project.

During the JUNO (Canada’s Music Awards), you had a long speech about how there’s a lack of women in this music industry. Do you think things have changed now?

Sara: I think there’s been progress in certain areas and the message we put out was very specific. As woman can handle this music industry as well as man, but I think you need to be in a certain category if you want to be recognized. Specifically, this message was for some “male jobs” like production, technical, etc. Like rock music, there’s so many amazing female producing good guitar music. It’s so unusual to see this. It’s also about changing this idea of our society that if we are a woman, you can’t handle a guitar it’s considered to be alternative but if a man does it’s normal. There’s been progress but when you look at those examples, it’s little. It’s just white guys, if we don’t talk about it who will? It’s not the JUNO, it’s the system and it’s international. Even when there’s festival, just take a look, it’s always a man or a male band who is the headline.

Photos and interview by Ivica Mamedy

How Tegan And Sara Turned Heartbreak Into A Foundation For LGBT Girls And Women

Posted by Beck on March 8, 2017 at 1:35 AM Comments comments (0)

by Jen Richards 3/8/2017

Tegan can talk.

I’m seated across from her at Cliff’s Edge, a spot in Silver Lake with the kind of hard-to-find entrance that cements its coolness. At least I think it’s Tegan.

Before I left, I googled “How to tell Tegan and Sara apart,” and found a visual guide full of helpful tips for spotting differences in hair, piercings, tattoos, and wardrobe. And yet I still got confused when Sara came to say hello—because I thought I had just been talking to her.

As it turns out there’s a much simpler way to tell them apart: If she’s talking, a lot, it’s probably Tegan.

I’m with about two dozen other people casually chatting and eating on a cozy back patio. Mostly women, mostly queer. Artists, academics, nonprofit leaders, a veritable “who’s who” of people unburdened by celebrity, but adored for their work. That is, my people. I’d normally be coming alive in a space like this, but after weeks of unusual grey and rain in Los Angeles, I’m nursing a cold and my normally Olympic level conversational skills are being challenged.

Or maybe Tegan is my match.

It’s a pre-convening dinner, but I confess to Tegan that I don’t know what we’re convening about. I know I’ll be on a panel with her and Sara, to discuss representation of queer women in media, but little more than that. She tells me, with enthusiasm and comprehensive detail, all about the genesis, planning, and launch of The Tegan and Sara Foundation.

I’m impressed. Deeply impressed. This was no casual celebrity involvement with a pet cause. The sisters did their homework, met with leaders in the fields, and proceeded slowly. The convening was the culmination of that process, a chance for the community they want to work with to come together and start the long work of solidarity.

I had a chance to talk with Tegan more while she was on the road for the duo’s “Love To Death” tour.

What prompted the idea of launching a foundation?

Tegan: LGBTQ rights and activism have always been a focus. When Canada passed marriage equality, we were in our early 20s and not really thinking about things like marriage or adoption rights. Oh to be young!

But when California passed Proposition 8 in 2008 we, like so many, were horrified and heartbroken. By then, we were in serious relationships with Americans, and had so many friends in America. To see our partners and friends be actively stripped of their rights truly activated us in a big way.

We realized during the last few years that a foundation would allow us to raise more money than we could with our standard “t-shirt drive” type fundraising. With a foundation, we can also make sure that the funds and programs are reaching people in who need support.

You often hear that people want politics out of their art, but it seems like those complaints almost always come from people who aren’t negatively affected by the political climate. Were you ever concerned about possibly alienating fans?

We were aware that was a possibility, but the pros vastly outweighed the cons.

Throughout our career, our audience has been so great. They keep us motivated to continue fighting for LGBTQ equality. We hear their questions, concerns, aspirations and hope; and we share many of them. We had the luxury of building our audience the old-fashioned way, one fan at a time. I think, for them, it’s just a big part of who we ar—that coupling of music, art, politics.

But regardless of the reaction from the public, we have always felt a responsibility to speak up for those without power, privilege, or a platform. We just lucked out that the people listening to us and supporting us get it.

You’ve written that the foundation’s mission is “to fight for economic justice, health, and representation for LGBTQ girls and women.” How did you arrive at those three areas?

Before we launched The Tegan and Sara Foundation, we used the first half of 2016 to better understand the challenges within the community and what our foundation’s role would be. The data and conversations showed us that LGBTQ girls and women are underfunded, underrepresented, and under-researched.

The barriers we hope to address are areas that many don’t think about or take for granted; for example, the discrimination LGBTQ girls and women experience at concerts, while watching television, or trying to get a checkup. We want to see studios promote positive storylines and narratives for LGBTQ girls and women, because there are badass LGBTQ women in history and today. Let’s tell those stories!

We want to see every doctor in the U.S. and Canada know what questions to ask, and use the correct pronouns when speaking to their patients. We want to see LGBTQ women bring their significant others to company holiday parties without fear of losing their jobs.

I was happily surprised that both the convening and your website acknowledge the disproportionate impact these issues have on women of color and transgender women. Was that something you learned as you started talking to people working in social justice, or was this an issue you were already encountering on the road or in your lives?

It was a little of both. I think on one hand we had, or thought we did, an understanding of what the community needed, or was facing. But looking at statistics or reading the news is not the same as sitting in the company of community organizers and activists who work in social justice every day. It became overwhelmingly clear that women of color and transgender women were the most marginalized and there was no question that our focus needed to center them.

I know the foundation just launched, but do you have an idea of how the money will be spent? For example, will it fund other initiatives? Start its own? Give out grants?

It’s still early, but we hope to start announcing partnerships and initiatives soon. Specifically though, donations to the organization fund programs centered on research, public education, support services to build long-term well-being, and advocacy.

How involved will you and Sara be?

We are very hands on. When we took this on, we realized that it was going to be a lot of work. We take it very seriously. We joke that we might have to break up the band there is so much work to do with the foundation!

Despite being in its infancy, the Tegan and Sara Foundation has already undertaken an impressive list of efforts.

* Brought together influential LGBT women in technology, government, entertainment, finance, other industries to develop a coordinated plan for equality in economic status, health, and representation in 2017.

* Partnered with Zebra Coalition and the Orlando LGBTQ Center to expand their counseling services in response to recent spikes in calls to suicide hotlines by young LGBT people.

* Rallied against anti-LGBT legislation in North Carolina by supporting Equality North Carolina

* Educated concertgoers with materials about healthcare options for LGBT women and had partners on-site to answer questions

* Hosted LGBT youth at performances in Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, Orlando and other cities.

While it would be a great gain to the world of social justice for Tegan and Sara to become fulltime activists, let’s hope they keep making fun music we can all happily dance and sing along to.

With all the work ahead of us, we’re going to need it.

Tegan and Sara on being honest with your collaborator

Posted by Beck on March 2, 2017 at 1:20 AM Comments comments (0)

You have a long-term creative partnership. Is writing music still complicated, or do you have it down?

Tegan: I definitely don’t feel like we have it down. Every record poses new problems or challenges. In my opinion, what’s kept our band interesting is that we definitely approach music, our career, production, all of it, pretty differently from one another. We’re very Yin and Yang. We compliment each other. I do think we push each other, too. We’re not making a Sara record or a Tegan record ever—we’re always making some sort of compromise between where we both want to be.

For instance, Sara keeps saying to me—she’s said it about about three times now in the last six months—she keeps talking about Nashville and writing with country singers. That makes me want to quit our band. So annoying. Not because I don’t think Nashville or country singers are great, I just wish she’d stop projecting. I can feel her projecting. I don’t know if this is true, but I feel like she’s annoyed with pop music or annoyed with what’s happening in the mainstream, so now she’s picking some sort of alternative direction. I just hate that she’s trying to influence me to go in that direction.

First of all, I don’t feel prepared to write a new record now anyway, so why are we even talking about it? Stuff like that will happen, but that’s our process. Then I’ll start playing things. Like the other day I played some rough demos and Sara basically checked her text messages, then never commented about the song.

Sara: That’s not true. That is not true! [laughs]

Tegan: But that’s part of the process between Tegan and Sara. That’s part of what makes our band cool. First of all, neither one of us is ever blowing hot air at the other one, neither one of us is ever saying what they think the other one wants to hear—neither one of us ever goes out of our way to do that. It’s not that we don’t want to compromise, but we don’t start from a place of compromise. We negotiate until we get to a place where we’re both happy. So, we always start by truly projecting what we want. I think we do it in a way that’s mostly conflict free because it’s a safe space. Sara doesn’t have to get the cheerleader pom poms out when I play a new song. She doesn’t need to. I know Sara respects me, I know Sara likes what I do. The process is super interesting. From my perspective it’s the same as it always was, it really hasn’t changed.

Sara: To be fair… When I think about working in a band or collaborating with each other, it’s so much more serious than a hobby. This isn’t a jam band where we get together on the weekend. Tegan’s not my child who I have to coddle and help raise her self-esteem. I mean, we are grown women. We’re 36 years old. At this point, we’ve been very lucky to make ourselves a comfortable and exciting career. We didn’t get there by lying to each other and saying, “Nice song, Tegan. You’ve got some real skills.” I’m just like—either I like it or I don’t. I’m not here to go, “Wow, Tegan. It seems like you really spent a great deal of time on those demos.” [both laugh]

Tegan, you said you’re not necessarily ready to start working on a new record. When you’re in this space, between records, do you do anything to nourish your creative side? Do you have side projects or do other kinds of things? Or is it more like getting caught up on reading books and doing other stuff?

Sara: Kind of all of the above.

Tegan: Yeah. It’s a bit of all of it. I mean, we both write. Even though I’m not ready to go in and make a new record, I love making music all the time. I love repurposing old demos. We’re always open to submitting stuff for soundtracks. I definitely keep the creative juices going.

Right now, it’s almost like we’re just taking in everything we possibly can. I think that will influence the record. The longer we wait and the more we read and see films and experience stuff and let time pass, the more interesting our next record will be. That’s how I always think about it. It’s not that I don’t like writing, I write in between records. But I still like the longer we wait to write, or the longer we wait to really follow through with those ideas, the better the songs will be because more time will have passed.

Sara: You’re absorbing and hunting and gathering. For me, it’s like all of the things that were influencing me leading up to the record, I need time for those things to get out of my system. I don’t want to rush into doing something and then maybe accidentally be still drawn to the same sounds or the same sort of progressions. Right now, it’s really interesting listening to all the production and all the big singles and albums coming out. I almost feel like you have to let that wave go. For me, it’s almost like patience, waiting for that series of breaks to happen. Then I can potentially make space to see what’s going to come down the pike later. I don’t want to make records that sound like what’s happening right now. You almost need time to absorb enough different things that you create something new.

Tegan: I think being uncomfortable, being outside your comfort zone, and being in a room with strangers are really great techniques to challenge yourself. I think also as women, there’s probably been this thing where Sara and I do have to prove ourselves every time. There is no comfort for me in music. There is no comfort in writing. I can’t imagine a time—I don’t know that this is a bad thing either—where I’m like, “Yeah. I’m the best,” and so confident. When I see artists talking about how good they are, propping themselves up and talking about how they’re geniuses… I just don’t ever see a time where I’ll be like that, and I’m okay with that. It makes me uncomfortable. It makes me have to try harder. I don’t think I’ll ever become so comfortable that I’d just phone it in. I think it’s a strength that we have to constantly prove ourselves.

Do have techniques to help you move past creative blocks?

Tegan: If I start to feel bored or blocked or frustrated with something, I’m comfortable walking away. When I was younger, I pushed through or forced it… but in the last five or six years, I’ll literally close a session and be like, “I’ll go back to this in a day or in a week or two weeks.” The second I give it space, I tend to feel more motivated to go back into it.

If I’ve written a track and try to come up with a cool melody or whatever, and if I start to feel strained or I can’t figure out what to do, I will all of a sudden change the way I’m listening to it. I’ll put it on different speakers. I’ll walk around or do something else. I have this little trampoline in my studio office; I’ll jump on it and do other things. For me, it’s a change of scenery. Whether it’s something super temporary or a small change just in the house or actually shutting the session down.

Sometimes there just needs to be faith. I’m an earworm person. If something isn’t catchy… or if I work on something for 20 or 30 minutes, stop, and then can’t sing the melody back to you, then to me it’s no good. So, I like to delete things. Often I find if I’m struggling, I’ll erase something because I don’t think it’s good. When I’ve written something that’s good, I just know it’s good. I don’t think you can force something to be good. It’s either good or it’s not.

Sara: On one hand, I totally agree with Tegan. But, I also totally disagree. I’m like, “No way. You have to work on things for a long to make them good. You can’t know after 30 minutes. That’s insane.”

Tegan: Well, that’s why I walk away. That’s the thing—if I’m doubtful, I’ll walk away and come back. There’s nothing more exciting than working on something, going for dinner or going on tour for three weeks, coming home, opening up a session and being like, “Oh shit, that was really good. Why didn’t I feel like it was good in the moment?” I have absolutely no problem walking away from things, but I also feel confident that I’ll be able to replace it with something better.

Sara: I think this is where we’re very different, because I have a hard time letting things go. I will definitely know when to stop working on something, but I’ll go back to it over and over and over and over again, and think to myself, “Maybe if I hear it fresh, I’ll still want to work on it.” Whereas I know that Tegan probably would have totally trashed the session. I’ll definitely still take little shots at it.

I have songs from a few albums ago where I’ve kept certain lyrics or melodies. I’ll sort of hold onto them and think, “The rest of this is garbage but this thing still means something. I’m just not sure exactly how it will fit into the future.” But if I keep revisiting it, one day it’ll work. I know this sounds so stupid, but sometimes I almost feel like it’s not the right time for it to happen now. It’s almost like a science fiction thing where it’s foreshadowing, and it will eventually make sense. Then eventually I’ll open a session and think, “I know exactly what this needs. It needs these lyrics, that line, or that melody from that other thing I did five years ago.”

Do you find the current political situation influencing how you think you want to go forward with your music, or what you want to say with your music?

Tegan: For most of our career there would be a push from the queer community, or the LGBTQ community, for Sara and me to be more outspoken about LGBTQ rights. Isn’t it powerful enough that we’re two openly queer women who are on the radio? We’re opening for Katy Perry or Neil Young. Isn’t that in itself a really incredible, progressive act? Do we actually have to get up there and draw their attention to it? Then there was the whole part of our career where we were like, “Well, that’s not good enough, we do want to draw attention.”

On some level, I often reject this idea that I have to be saying something intensely political to be political. I just feel like at this point, it’s still pretty obvious to me that being outspoken, queer, feminists in the mainstream is already still a pretty political move, if you think about it.

Sara: Tegan and I have talked a lot on this recent tour actually, about a few songs off of our new album. When we were making the album, I didn’t necessarily think of them as being explicitly political. But in the months after we released the album, suddenly they took on a very different feeling. There’s a song on the record, “Be With You,” which for me is a political song about my choice as a queer woman—and just as a human being—not to participate in marriage. I have an incredibly difficult time with the institution of marriage. I feel like it’s been a struggle for me to participate authentically in the marriage equality movement on a personal level because I just wish we were just… My politics are radical, and I want to dismantle the institution, not invite gay people in. But then when I step outside of my own personal views, I’ve been really moved by the movement and feel it’s really important in terms of establishing equal rights for LGBTQ people. But interestingly, when we were releasing the album I didn’t necessarily think the song was that political.

In today’s climate, every night that we play this song, there’s this really intense, visceral response from people in the audience. I see grown men singing along at the top of their lungs. I’m like, “What does it mean to them? Why is this song resonating?” Sometimes I think to myself, “Oh, If Tegan and myself weren’t 5’2, pop girls, would it be different?” “If Fugazi was singing ‘Be With You’ would it be like a political anthem?” Is it because we’re not men? Is it because we’re not screaming? Is it because there’s no guitars, or swords, or blood?

Tegan: On this last tour, we just toured through Europe. The reaction to “Be With You” was much more visible. Sara and I were hypothesizing backstage about it a few nights in a row. She was saying, “Are they singing along because they’re also feeling against marriage?” All these gay guys and all these people standing there. I was laughing and saying that my theory was that this was because in most of the countries we just toured in for the last month, gay marriage is not legal. So, to me, when I heard the song the first time, what moved me so profoundly was that I didn’t hear it the way that Sara had written it, right? I listen to Sara’s music as if it’s just a song I’m hearing.

I heard the song as, even though I can’t marry you, I don’t care, I don’t need it, so promise me your first born, so promise me these things, it doesn’t matter. So, when I was looking out into the audience in Europe in most of these countries where gay marriage is still not legal, I was seeing these people say, “I love you anyway. It doesn’t matter that the institution doesn’t accept us.” It’s just so interesting how differently even Sara and I see the audience and feel that political undertone.

Five Minutes With... Tegan

Posted by Beck on February 15, 2017 at 9:50 PM Comments comments (0)

February 14, 2017 by HAYLEY MAITLAND

You have been performing now for more than two decades. How do you feel when you look back on your career?

I’m definitely nostalgic about when we started out - but as much as were living the dream in those early days, it was hard at the same time. We were in a minivan, with no phones, driving eight hours a day to get to the next gig - and sometimes there would only be 30 people there. Now, we’re playing for audiences of anywhere from 800 to 80,000 fans, which is crazy!

Describe your personal style.

Sometimes Sara and I are more feminine, sometimes we’re more masculine. In the past, we had to fight for the right to wear unisex clothing. Long before it was okay to have a gender-neutral line, those were the clothes that we were interested in wearing.

What’s the most-read book on your book shelf?

A Widow for One Year or Cider House Rules by John Irving. I love all of his novels.

What's your guiltiest pleasure?

Probably reality TV - or binge-watching cheesy shows. I just finished Chasing Cameron on Netflix. I cried multiple times.

What films could you watch over and over again?

Groundhog’s Day, Pretty Woman, Underwire, Terminator, Breakfast Club.

Who would play you in the film biopic of your life?

Probably Alyssa Milano. She looks less like me than she does Sara actually. She’s just great in Who’s the Boss?

Tell us your favourite quote of all time.

I have a quote by Bruce Springsteen tattooed over both of my arms: “What you don’t surrender, the world just strips away.”

What song or album could be the soundtrack to your life?

Either Melissa Etheridge’s debut album or a soundtrack to a John Hughes movie.

Where is your favourite place in the world and what makes it so special?

Canada. I moved to Vancouver in 1999. When I land there, I still get butterflies. It’s such a beautiful place, and it’s where I feel most at home. It’s my only frivolous expense, going back whenever I can.

What would you call your autobiography?

Don’t Touch Me, I’m Self-Soothing.

What are the three things that you would save from your house in a fire?

I have hardly any attachment to physical things! It’s the result of a lifetime of traveling. I can never bring much with me. I would grab a hard drive though. One with all of my old records and demos on it.

2017 Junos

Posted by Beck on February 7, 2017 at 7:55 PM Comments comments (0)

We’d like to extend a massive thank you to CARAS and the Junos for our three nominations today! Songwriter of the Year is of particular significance to us, because no matter which genre our individual albums have fallen into, it is the craft of songwriting that has connected them all.


Our first Juno win was in Winnipeg in 2014. Standing on that stage accepting an award in front of friends, family, peers, fans, and industry alike was an extremely moving experience. As queer women who have been out since the beginning of our career in 1998, this hasn’t always felt like the most inclusive industry. But that night in Winnipeg has continued to stand out to us as a watershed moment.


We congratulate all the artists who were nominated today and commend the Junos for recognizing two Canadian legends, Sarah McLachlan and Buffy Sainte-Marie, for two of the night’s most prestigious awards – we’re humbled and honoured to be included amongst you. It is with tremendous respect and absolutely no judgement of each nominee’s well-deserved accomplishments that we take this moment to address the disappointing number of women nominated in many of the various categories.


In 8 categories no women were recognized at all, and in over 12 additional categories, only 1 in 5 of the nominees included a woman. Specifically in the areas of production and engineering, it is discouraging to not see a single woman represented.


We bring this message to members of our industry who have tremendous power to sign, fund, promote, nominate, support, acknowledge, and celebrate the diverse population of our country working in the arts today. The demographic breakdown of Juno nominations reflects the structural confines of our society and industry. We must do better as it sends an outdated message to the next generation about whose art and voice and message is valuable.


We sincerely appreciate the support we have received from CARAS, our record label, our agents, managers, promoters, radio programmers, journalists and the countless other establishments and individuals who have supported us since we began our career. But we wouldn’t be Tegan and Sara if we didn’t speak our minds about this important issue. We write this message today in the hopes that we can all work towards balancing the scales for women, people of colour, and LGBTQIIA artists and bands in our country in the years to come.


Thank you,

Tegan and Sara

Tegan and Sara Nominated for a Shorty Award

Posted by Beck on January 25, 2017 at 7:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Nominated in Music

Canadian twins Tegan & Sara are a singing duo that have made waves in the indie pop scene for two decades. They’ve released eight studio albums since 1995, including this year’s Love You to Death, which started them on another global tour. They’re big fans of Snapchat, which mainly consists of Tegan snapping Sara while she’s not looking, using her bitmoji to heckle her twin. They also set up geofilters for their fans to use while snapping at their shows. If you’re there, you might even get caught in one of their live snaps, otherwise you can join in the fun with their hundreds of thousands of followers on social media. Not content to just be iconic musicians, Tegan & Sara also use their reach to advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, launching the Tegan and Sara Foundation this year, an LGBTQ charity for women and girls.


Posted by Beck on January 25, 2017 at 4:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Over the years we have always enjoyed having as much contact and connection with our audience as we can (you guys are so cool). When touring Heartthrob, we were able to do meet and greets on almost every headline show. It was a blast! Truly! Your stories, the generous gifts, the personalized letters and post cards. It was memorable every single night.


With Love You To Death, we wanted to make the experience more special. Which meant trying to keep the numbers down, but without having to charge too much more than we always had. The truth is we have always struggled with the cost and the concept of paying to meet us.


Our team looked into a fair way of doing meet and greets for this record that would allow more fans the opportunity to meet us and address our growing concern with the re-selling of tickets to fans willing to pay 4 or 5 times the cost we were charging.


So, there will be fewer meet and greet tickets sold, a limit on how many you can buy (one total for the whole tour) and you will have to show ID matching the name on the confirmation to gain entry. This means they are NOT transferable. If anyone somehow purchases more than one ticket, we will cancel/refund their other purchases. We truly want this to be fair and open to everyone. We also want to ensure safety, so ID is a must.


The passes will also be totally separate from concert admission, purchased directly from us, so in addition to your meet and greet confirmation, you’ll also need a show ticket to enter the venue.


A lot of time and energy from our whole team goes into these meet and greets, and we aren’t the young sprites we once were, so we are sorry but we aren’t able to offer these in every city.


We are so excited to go to Europe. We are even more thrilled to play our shows there with Ria Mae and Alex Lahey (UK/Ireland only). But now we are OVER THE MOON to be able to be offering meet and greets in specific cities.

The passes will go on sale Friday, Jan 27 at 8am GMT (London time zone), only at

Jan 30 – Stockholm – Nobelberget

Feb 1 – Berlin – Huxleys

Feb 8 – Amsterdam – Paradiso

Feb 13 – London – Roundhouse

Feb 14 – Manchester – Albert Hall

Feb 17 – Glasgow – O2 ABC Glasgow

Feb 19 – Dublin – Vicar Street



Posted by Beck on January 6, 2017 at 4:50 PM Comments comments (0)

We are thrilled to announce our first big initiative for the Tegan and Sara Foundation, a partnership with Kiehl’s Canada, are on sale now! We created limited edition packaging for their iconic Ultra Facial cleansers, and sales proceeds will benefit the Tegan and Sara Foundation.


We’ll also be performing at an exclusive concert for Kiehl’s. Go to to purchase the special edition cleansers and find out how you can to enter to win tickets!

Boxing Day Sale

Posted by Beck on December 26, 2016 at 2:40 PM Comments comments (0)

#BoxingDay sale today at! 15% off storewide applied at checkout! Use code tnsboxingday at