On a warm California day, I was able to talk to one half of the Canadian indie-folk duo, Tegan and Sara.
As I suck at differentiating twins, hell, I suck at differentiating sisters, I would not be able to tell you which one I actually talked to. Either way, I’m pretty sure I got to ask Sara a few questions about touring, Celine Dion’s mental stability, and Pop Tarts. Here we go:
Do you prefer Kittens or Puppies?
Oooo, well, I’d prefer a kitten, but I think puppies are really nice, too.
You’ve been touring with the Killers, and I was wondering if you got any makeup tips from them?
You know what, I think only once did we discuss makeup, and I think they have a handle on it. They seem to know how to put it on. They have nice skin up close, so I think that they’re doing a nice job washing it off and they’re very handsome.
Are they masters of exfoliating?
I didn’t ask them about exfoliating, but I do know that Brandon, the lead singer, gets a manicure once a month. He told me.
If you could be a Pop Tart, what flavor would you be?
I’ve had to retire from the land of PopTarts, but if I had to go back nostalgically in my brain and remember which one I liked most, it’s probably the chocolate ones.
Why on Earth would you retire from Pop Tarts?
Oh, God. You know, the sugar. And I’ve tried to stop eating bad things like Pop Tarts and McDonalds and drinking Coke and stuff like that. I stopped doing that about three years ago because, for one, I was afraid I was going to become a big fat cow. I don’t mean literally a big fat cow, but I’d be gross. I knew I was addicted to greasy, shitty hydrogenated everything, so I decided that I was going to change my diet and Pop Tarts were one of the things to go.
I can understand McDonalds, but Pop Tarts? That’s a tragedy.
You know what? I still have my vices, but hanging out with the guys in the band who are all in their thirties, and they were all young and did the whole “if you […] treat your body badly [you] burn yourself out”, and it’s kind of true. We tour nine, ten months out of the year and we don’t really drink or smoke or do anything so we really take good care of ourselves. When you’re at home it’s easy to eat really shitty, but if you’re on the road, if you eat like shit too much you start to feel really crappy. So anyway, I believe that I’ll definitely eat a Pop Tart again. I’m not discriminating against anyone who eats them, though.
Have you had any day jobs?
I’ve had lots of day jobs. I got my first job when I was 14. My dad worked in construction and he used to give Tegan and I jobs as garbage collectors on job sites. We used to drive around in his pickup truck and collect wood and garbage. It was a horrible job. When I was old enough to get a real job, I worked at a donut shop, a CD store, I worked at the zoo… I’ve had lots of jobs. I only started making money making music in the last couple of years.
What was the shittiest job you’ve had?
Probably the one at the zoo. I was working at a botanical garden and it had a cafeteria in it, and I was the dishwasher and it was awful. I hate washing dishes and I used to wash dishes all day long. It was especially disturbing because most of the clientele were school groups or keepers. I would either be nostalgic for school, or wish I had gone to university.
Since you’re Canadian, I was curious if part of your drive to make good music would be to make up for Celine Dion?
No, I don’t have that drive. I don’t even think Celine Dion’s all that bad, I mean, get over yourselves, America. You have lots of shitty people too, you know.
I know. But we don’t speak French.
Honestly, I like Celine Dion. She’s so sweet. I don’t listen to her music, but she seems like she’s a nice lady.
I think she’s crazy.
You think she’s crazy?
I think she’s nuts.
She seems nice, whatever.
Do you consider yourself to be the hotter twin?
Umm, I don’t find Tegan attractive, so, I think I’m cuter, yeah.
What do you think about our president? (G.W. was in office when this interview was conducted sometime in 2004 or so.)
I don’t really like your president. More than not liking your president, I don’t really see myself caring about the same kind of values and opinions as the Republican Party. I think that more frightening than George Bush are the people behind him. I think that there’s lot of things to be frightened of right now in the US, and I don’t think the main thing is terrorists crossing the border and coming into the US. There are a lot of things eating away at the public in the US. We spend a lot of time down there. We’re not slagging the US; we spend most of out time in the US. I have family in the US, my partner’s from the US. I feel that there’s been some misdirection when you look at how afraid everyone is and how poor everyone is, and how everyone’s turned against each other… The whole infrastructure needs to be changed.
There’s been some comparison between the Empire in “Star Wars” and the US. Who do you think would win: The Empire from “Star Wars” or Borg from “Star Trek?”
The Empire, for sure.
What’s your favorite CD right now?
I’ve been listening to Anthony and the Johnsons. He’s from New York. It’s kind of like Nina Simone meets Boy George, it’s weird. It’s way strange, but he has an amazing voice. He sang on Lou Reed’s album, and that’s how I discovered him. It’s not for everyone, but I think it’s one of the best albums of the year.
Is there anything out that you just can’t stand?
No, but I was having a discussion last night with someone about how pop music, real pop music, the stuff that’s making kajillions of dollars and the culture. It kind of encompasses hip-hop now and the entire Britney Spears thing and even the power pop-punk thing, that kind of shit. It’s nothing against the people who are making it, or even the people who are buying it. There is just something about that whole culture that drives me crazy. I think there’s a whole polar opposite to that, where people make the most annoying, obnoxious, unlistenable music as a sort of argument or protest, against popular music, and I hate both of those polar opposites. There’s nothing wrong with making music that people want to listen to, that sticks in your head, but there’s got to be some heart and soul behind it. There’s something about mainstream that just doesn’t feel like it has any heart behind it.
Which Lord of the Rings movie was your favorite?
I really liked the first one the best. I liked the second one, and the third one I found a little cheesy. I personally liked the first one; I thought it was an amazing movie.
Conan O’Brien or Jon Stewart?
Jon Stewart, for sure.
I respect both of them. I think Conan’s a comic genius, anybody who writes for “The Simpsons” is a genius, but there’s something about what Jon Stewart is doing that makes more sense to me.
Thanks for putting up with us!
No problem, it’s been fun.
Interview and hopeless/futile attempts at flirting by Jonathan Yost