Indie-rock sisters Tegan and Sara Quin started working on a new record in March, but after a few hours of work, they knew something was wrong.
“We decided to scrap the whole idea of the trip and just drink margaritas and hang out – as sisters,” Tegan said. “It was a meeting we took with Rob Cavallo [Chairman of Warner Bros. Records and Green Day producer] a few months later that ended up inspiring the real writing. Rob encouraged us to write about what we were afraid to write about. His feedback to us was that we needed to be brave and bold and not toe the line about who we were, what we wanted to do, how we saw ourselves or perceived our music or experiences.”
Sara added, “We didn’t want anyone to mistake this album for something we’d already done in the past ... Steering clear of any of our signature sounds from previous albums — mainly guitars —we tried to focus on enhancing our vocals and the melodies using instruments and keyboards we hadn’t relied on heavily in the past. We wanted to make a different kind of pop record and we strove to make the songs more ambitious than anything we’d recorded before.”
“It was time to update the ‘Tegan & Sara sound,’” Tegan said.
Tegan and Sara’s seventh album “Heartthrob”won’t be released until Jan. 29, but fans will be able to hear the hyper-literate duo’s new songs when they open for The Killers Friday. The two answered questions posed by The Tribune about the November elections, fan signs they’ve loved, and a favorite Utah experience.
What are your immediate thoughts on the Nov. 7 elections? Or do you prefer to not involve yourself or your music in politics?
We are obviously relieved and elated that Barack Obama was re-elected. We aren’t overly political in our music but are as people. We walk a fine line. We’re careful not to appear preachy but also take our role as musicians and public figures seriously. Mainly we encourage people to speak out and vote and get involved. We try not to specifically influence what way people should lean one way or the other. But it’s obvious I think as gay women from Canada what we think about marriage equality, women’s issues and health care.
What is the best sign you have ever seen at one of your shows?
The other night someone said they were born when I was 19. We have a song called “Nineteen.” So that was pretty funny. The chorus lyrics are “I was 19, call me.” The other night I also saw a “I was 19, call me maybe” sign. Even funnier.
At what point does writing something turn into “art”?
I think any time we create something it’s art.
How does people’s perception of you differ from who you really are?
I have no way of truly answering that. I think, based on what people often say when they meet us ,that people think we’re going to be a lot more famous-acting than we are. I think we’re very down-to-earth and probably a lot like most of our fans. I don’t think they expect that.
Do you have any Utah experiences that stick out?
We played an all-ages show at a venue — that I can’t remember the name of — about six years ago now that absolutely blew my mind. The audience was unhinged. I remember thinking, ‘Salt Lake City is wild.’ It reminded me of gigs we used to go to in Calgary when we were teenagers. We were always a bit unhinged too. There are a lot of parallels between Salt Lake and Calgary. I like it there a lot.
Do you ever geek out about something the way some fans geek out about you?
Oh, yes. I act like a ridiculous fan constantly. I often don’t go backstage at concerts where I have access for that reason. I have awful and embarrassing stories about meeting so many famous people. It’s shocking how shy and awkward and yet verbal I get when I meet people I’m fans of.
The Killers with Tegan & Sara
When • Friday, Nov. 30, 8 p.m.
Where • UCCU Center, 800 West University Parkway, Orem
Tickets •Sold out