Tegan and Sara's Tegan Quin on 'Get Along,' Their Next Album and The Tyler Controversy
As they gear up to start recording their seventh studio album -- their first full-length as thirtysomethings -- Tegan and Sara have decided to look back on the past decade with "Get Along," a live DVD/CD release that hits stores Nov. 15 through Warner Bros. Records. With three films showcasing the indie-rock duo's live show and many travels, "Get Along" captures Tegan and Sara at "a very pivotal moment in our career," Tegan Quin tells Billboard.com.
"It just became a very big undertaking because we had a lot to say," says Quin, who signed her first record deal alongside twin sister Sara Quin at the age of 19 in 1999. "Get Along" includes a 30-minute film, "States," which combines a look back at the start of Tegan and Sara with footage of their most recent tour supporting their 2009 album "Sainthood"; "India," a 25-minute documentary that chronicles the sisters' inaugural visit to india in 2010; and "For The Most Part," a 70-minute stripped-down live show filmed in front of 75 people at Warehouse Studios in Vancouver. Quin says that the project was originally conceived as a special gift for fans and an alternative to the "really crappy YouTube videos" of the sisters performing live. What was originally a process of bringing a couple filmmakers on the road, however, soon became a massive undertaking.
"We had this gigantic pile of footage and we didn't know what to do with it, and we ended up making three films and also getting enough of the live performance to put a live record out as well," says Quin. "It's way bigger than we thought it was gonna be. It was a bit of a nightmare at times -- I was like, 'When will it end? This is supposed to be our vacation!' I'm actually really relieved that it's out almost, because I'm happy already to be over it."
Quin says that the "Get Along" DVD was "sort of like closing a chapter" in Tegan and Sara's legacy, and that she and her sister are ready to move on to the follow-up to "Sainthood," which has sold 105,000 copies according to Nielsen SoundScan.
"I would hope that it gets released by the end of next summer," says Quin of the group's seventh album. "Right now we're about 25 songs in, and we'll probably get up to 40 songs, and then by Christmas hopefully pick the 12 to 15 that we think are strongest, and then go into the studio starting in February. That's a penciled-in timeline depending on the producer we end up going with, but that's what's going on right now." Quin also says that she and Sara have a long list of producers in mind for the the album, and that they would be up for another go-round with "Sainthood" producer and Death Cab for Cutie member Chris Walla.
After spending a good chunk of last year on the road with Paramore, Tegan and Sara have stayed relatively quiet in 2011, aside from the forthcoming release of "Get Along" -- and, of course, Sara Quin's blog post blasting Odd Future rapper Tyler, The Creator. In response to the homophobic and misogynistic lyrics of Tyler's album "Goblin," Quin wrote a letter titled "Call for Change" on the group's blog in May, in which she decried the rapper's "sickening rhetoric" and asked, "Why should I care about this music or its 'brilliance' when the message is so repulsive and irresponsible?"
Although Sara Quin has stayed silent on the subject after issuing the blog post, Tegan says that the reaction to her sister's letter was "overwhelmingly positive," and helped to shine a light on a problem that extends beyond Tyler, The Creator.
"The conversation was directed at the industry and not at Tyler, The Creator," says Quin. "I agree that our industry often times is so busy just telling the story of what's happening that the they don't realize that they're perpetuating a stereotype, or perpetuating something very evil and negative. Tyler, The Creator may in fact not be a homophobe, but the fact is that, if I littered this interview with racial slurs, you wouldn't laugh at all later if I told you it was a joke. I think that we have to be better than that, we have to be better as a society. It's not about censorship and it's not about telling people you can't make music. Tyler can make as much music as he likes and continue to flourish or not, but ultimately, we live in a society where we absolutely have the power to say, 'Geez, you know what, we don't want to influence our readers with something that we don't believe in, and we don't believe that littering a record 233 times with rape jokes and incest jokes and the word faggot is funny or interesting.'"
Since Sara Quin issued her "Call for Change," Tyler, The Creator's profile has continued to grow, with a win for Best New Artist at the MTV VMAs serving as one of his highlights for 2011. Nevertheless, Tegan believes that derogatory lyrics can someday stop being pushed to the forefront of mainstream music for the sake of turning a profit. "I talked to a lot of people in our industry who are like, 'If we … didn't put him on this festival, we'd lose money and we'd lose our jobs,' and that's a terrible reason to perpetuate hate," she says. "But that is the way it is and hopefully it changes, and Sara and I hope to be a part of that change. We can be interesting and we can be creative without being hateful."