Tegan And Sara Interview
Tegan and Sara talk hustling the other 9-to-5
Words— Ben Kriz
Only a few years ago, Tegan and Sara moved from indie rock pillars to bona fide pop stars without skipping a beat. Strong, intelligent, and hard to pin down–they know a thing or two about breaking away from the norm. We outfitted the pair in our latest anti-boardroom workwear collection and had a chat with Sara about navigating the music biz for over two decades and doing it in style.
On career lessons
I think that in a weird way some of the struggles we had protected us from mainstream success. I feel haunted by the early part of our career because we had to put up with quite a lot of homophobia and misogyny. Some of it wasn’t even intentional. Some of it was just the industry was so fraught with bullshit journalism. I look back at it and it would just never be tolerated now.
To turn it into a positive, it taught us something very important about the world and it made us feel like we had to look to different places and different types of people to give us that affirmation and support we needed.We learned to expect that we were going to be harshly criticized or uniquely criticized for things that had nothing to do with our music. We thrived because we didn’t need to rely on any of that.
On maintaining an independent ethos
We’re a pretty self contained organization. We work with a major record label but we have more of a DIY kind of a approach. We hand off what we feel is a finished product and then we give that to the record label. We have definitely had the cliché moments of sitting with somebody in a marketing department somewhere and they say something ridiculous and you’re like, “Oh my god these are the moments that people talk about!” We’re not really that band that’s like, “Go ahead Jim, give us your best ideas!”
“We learned to expect that we were going to be harshly criticized for things that had nothing to do with our music.”
On early-career photoshoots
The first ten years of our career...photoshoots were challenging. Everything was very like girls have long hair and are pretty and there hadn’t been a woman on the cover of Rolling Stone in like a thousand years and then it was Britney wearing a bathing suit and I was like we’re really fucked right now because we’re one hundred percent living in a time where women are supposed achieve success if they look a certain way and Tegan and I had short mullets and were wearing hoodies.
Maybe in ‘09/’10 I noticed I’d start to show up to shoots and it was like oh wow. They brought clothes that felt very androgynous. All of a sudden everyone was speaking a language that we were the only ones speaking for a long time. It definitely made things a lot easier for us.
On the band’s current style
Oh, well yesterday our shoot–the suiting was much more masculine but we also are very comfortable wearing a lot of makeup. We aren’t afraid to look pretty or be styled in a feminine way but I think the juxtaposition of the clothing is very important to us.
This interview was originally published in August, 2017.
If you enjoyed our sit down with with Tegan and Sara, check out some of our other interviews.