Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tegan Quin: A Moment of Your Time?

So if you've been paying attention at all you know that I have been trying to get an interview with Tegan or Sara for a while now. Seven months and a billion emails later, I DID IT, or rather their manager took pity on me and did it! I was told they didn't have time for blog interviews (blame Australia...) but one of them could probably answer 5 questions for me. So I narrowed down my 15 questions accordingly. The fact that Tegan took time out to do this is just a testament to her and Sara's devotion to their fans (they know I don't work for a publication). I hope you guys enjoy this. I really asked what I thought were the best 5 questions you could ask Tegan or Sara Quin, if told you could ONLY ask Tegan or Sara Quin 5 questions.

July 18th is the 10-year anniversary of the release of ‘This Business of Art’ (first Vapor release). You guys seem to have had a well crafted career; from the way in which you’ve marketed yourselves to the way you’ve essentially built your own fan base. Is the successful career you have now the result of some sort of 10-year plan?

When we started out 12 years ago we decided not to try and sign to a major label and instead focus on trying to find a partner to make records with. Vapor came into our sights and reassured us of that goal. Ultimately Sara and I were striving for longevity and creative ownership rather than fame and fortune. Since then, over the past 5 records with them we have continued to focus on that rather than how to become more famous or make more money. Although those things are important and definitely play into our day to day decisions when we look long term and think big picture, its always about HOW to stay creative for as long as possible!

If you were an only child or didn’t have a sibling that wanted to make music do you think you would have pursued a music career?

Oh wow, I have no idea. Its hard to say. We have always written alone and we definitely didn't always want to do this growing up. Even once we started making records and touring professionally we have had differences in opinion about how serious to take what we do and how long we'll both agree to doing it. I think that we both have grown to love music and our career so much that no matter what we do it will always be somewhat related to this industry and being creative. But its hard to say what we would have done different 15 years ago had we not had one another. I have no idea.

You guys have been doing a ton of in-stores and acoustic sessions. Is this done as a way to stay connected with fans as your main shows get bigger? Is this something you think you will always try to make time for?

You hit the nail on the head. Sara and I are trying to do more instores, radio performances for contest winners and fans as well as book acoustic shows when we can as an attempt to get back to our roots and connect with our very loyal and devoted fan base. We love that our band is getting more popular and doing so well but as the shows get bigger we miss the intimacy of our former days and so we are trying to balance that out with some more intimate gigs. And its working!

You have one record left with Warner. I’ve read that it wasn’t your choice to be on a major label so my question is do you see the end of the contract as an end of something, or as a chance to be free to pursue other things?

Its hard to say. I have nothing against major labels personally. I think they play an important role in spreading the word about a band. Our band has benefited greatly from being on Warner. BUT when we finished The Con we were DONE! It was 10 years later and we were about to become free agents. Mainly we were excited about this because we knew The Con was going to be very successful and we were looking forward to renegotiating a record deal that would give Sara and I ownership over our masters. When Sanctuary closed its doors, our catalogue and US went up for sale. Warner became our owner. And while they are a great owner and home for T+S, it meant we had to renegotiate sooner and so we now have to make 2 more records [after The Con] and not retain ownership. Which sucks. Hopefully we are able to stay at Warner or find a home for T+S soon when our deal is up that WILL allow us to finally be owners of our own music. Fingers crossed.

Both of you have talked about how you’re interested in other areas of the music industry aside from making music. You have both produced on other records and Sara has done A&R for An Horse. You’ve also steered much of your own career through smart marketing. With all this knowledge and skill under your belt I have to ask: Do either of you think you would ever start your own independent record label or production company?

I think that Sara and I both have an open mind when it comes to what we do next or what we do to fill the time off between tours and records. We're definitely both taking the opportunities that come our way and we're exploring and experimenting with different paths. Right now I have no ambition to be a record label or an A&R. The industry is changing so fast and I really don't think I'd do a better job than the one being done. But I do hope to always have a job in this industry. I think next I'm going to do some song writing with other artists. That seems to be where my instincts are pulling me!

photo credit: Lindsey Byrnes (
photo credit: Jaime Wojodowski (



Karelle said...

Great interview!

Firebolt said...

Awesome interview! You always ask the best questions!

Melinda said...

Amazing job J! I don't think I've ever heard/read an interview where a question was so good/origianl that it got an 'oh wow' out of Tegan. HUGE KUDOS to you, my friend! ;)

Charlie said...

That was a fantastic interview, Janay! Poignant, focused questions and very informative. Keep up the good work! :D

Anonymous said...

Really good questions. Different from all the other interviews that ask the same things that we already know the answer to. "Why the name Sainthood?" If you don't know by'll never know, haha.

Excellent interview. I wish you could have asked more questions.

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