extra extra
photo-credit-lindsey-byrnes-extralarge_1349465276901.jpegCanadian rock twins Tegan & Sara's seventh studio album Heartthrob, out today, is their largest selection of shiny, radio-friendly pop cuts to date. Working with producer Greg Kurstin, who's previously lent his talent to pop songstresses like Ke$ha, Pink, and Marina and the Diamonds, the duo have created a number of boppy songs whose hooks are likely to burrow deep inside your head...and stay there (lyrics like "I want you close, I want you / I won't treat you like you're typical" from "Closer" are particularly ear worm-y). We talked more with Tegan about the band's new sound on Heartthrob, how she and Sara survive life on tour, and why she'll never play ping pong with The Killers or The Black Keys. Read on.

Tell me a little bit about your new album, Heartthrob, and your recording process this time around. What was that like?

Neither of us were that interested in writing guitar songs so there was a lot of synth and a lot of keyboards. Sara really encouraged me to write about something other than break-ups, because that's pretty much all I ever do. On a lot of the tracks, like "Closer", and "Drove Me Wild," and "Love They Say," I tried to write about romance. You know, like the idea of hooking up, or fantasizing about being with someone, or getting closer, being nostalgic about first crushes, the time before breaking-up and rejection. And with Sara, I encouraged her to do more traditional structures and not get bogged down in writing overly thoughtful, intense, cryptic, deep album cuts. We've also been writing with tons of pop people -- Sara recently worked on a Carley Rae Jepsen song.

As soon as we met [our producer, Greg Kurstin], he sat us down and was like, "You've held yourselves back, we get it. You wanted to be indie, you wanted to be credible. You're writing pop songs, go for it! Don't intentionally set your sights low, aim for the stars and see what happens." At that point, we recognized we had been a little bit self-deprecating, and a little bit like, "We'll never be successful, why even try?" And you know what? Fuck it. I am thirty two years old, I don't care. Let's just try and see what happens.

How was it working on the album considering that you live in L.A. and Vancouver and your sister lives in New York and Montreal?
 
We got a lot of air miles, that's how it worked. I also think that the major [benefit] of us living so far from one another is that there's a forced exile at the end of a tour. I feel that way about everyone we tour with. It becomes so normal for you to be around each other that it's almost instinct that you end up spending time together when you're home, and I think for Sara and I, and our relationship, and in terms of our daily lives, it's cool that we have so much space between us and we are able to distance ourselves from each other when we are off the road. I think it's made our working relationship that much healthier. Also, Sara hangs out in a different city, and the industry is different, and the vibe is different and she's interested in different music and I think that helps make our band more interesting.


Music video for "Closer"


So what's the adjustment process like when you go on tour and suddenly are spending so much time together?

At this point, I think I know exactly what it will be like when I get on the road. I think we really respect each other's space and when we're together, we enjoy each other more because it's all fresh and new. The flip side of it is, we've also learned where each other's buttons are. It's very easy for me to find what can annoy Sara very quickly. But I've learned that it's more peaceful and it's creatively more satisfying to not have that tension and stress all the time. We're kind of like animals in a way -- as long as we're entertained and trained properly, we don't lash out at each other. But some days I'm just annoyed in general -- it's like everyone annoys me.

It must be hard because you probably don't have much privacy or alone time on tour.
 

Yeah, there's something so inhumane about putting twelve people on a bus. It's just not normal. Especially in the UK, the drives aren't that long between two cities, so most nights we get to the next venue and park, and I'll wake up at three or four in morning, and it's quiet. You aren't allowed to run the generators in the UK in the buses, so there's stale air, and I have to listen to all the guys snoring, and just the smell!

What helps you survive life on the road?

Number one must-bring on the road -- besides your cell phone or clothes -- is your own bedding. Just imagine the shit that happens on those buses! We also carry an assortment of board games like Bananagrams and Scrabble. We were really into Scrabble and then everybody got really competitive, and when I say everyone, I mean Sara and our guitar player, Ted. But I dated someone who played Scrabble competitively, so I've got a few tricks up my sleeve. I just don't like playing with anyone who's too intense. And on tours with The Killers and The Black Keys, the bands traveled with ping-pong tables and I absolutely refuse to play with anybody because they guys get so competitive. It's unreal. It's like everybody is standing around the table with their dicks out and I cannot handle it. But on days off, I take everybody bowling and I think I am the third best out of the fourteen [people on tour].

Photo by Lindsey Byrnes
Comments...