The evolution of Tegan and Sara from indie folkies to bona fide pop stars is now complete. On their latest effort, Love You to Death, the twins – who, like Taylor Swift, have been becoming increasingly more pop over the years – have gone full-on synthpop. The bedroom balladry and confessional lyrics are still there, but they've got a fun, glossy sheen to them these days – less Lilith Fair and more La Roux. In advance of their gig at the Beacham on Monday, one half of the identical twin duo, Tegan Quin, chatted with Orlando Weekly about the complications of working with family, the need for LGBTQ visibility and why you should never feel guilty about listening to pop music.
Orlando Weekly: You don't play guitar much on your latest album. How is that going to change your live performance?
Tegan Quin: I wrote a lot on guitar for this record. We just used them differently than we have in the past. They create atmosphere and texture, rather than rhythm ... we want to experiment with our sound. So, it feels exciting to be trying something different. Live I play guitar on six songs. ... Rather than just having guitar on everything we have created moments instead. I actually find it quite freeing to be on stage without an instrument strapped to me. I have embraced my voice as my main instrument live. It has improved my singing, I'll tell you that!
Your sound has always had pop undertones, but you now wear that label proudly.
I have always thought pop music was cool and never felt shame to admit any of my musical favorites. I think all music has its place. I hate when people call pop (or any music) a "guilty pleasure." I think whatever makes you happy, dance, feel supported, brings you inspiration or joy is valid!
Lyrically, the new album explores some intimate topics – most notably, your complicated relationship with each other. How have you been a band together for so long without killing each other?
Well. We've grown a lot over the course of our nearly two-decade career ... and learned a lot from our other adult relationships. I think we have a deep respect for each other and I think we finally both really want to be here. In the early days of our career we definitely struggled to be independent and find our own unique voices. This caused a lot of tension, but I think we have found a way to be a "duo" and be in business together and be family and still have our own lives and identity. The truth is ... the key to not killing each other is respecting one another and letting the other have equal space, and equal say. We just have learned to allow for both of us to be seen and heard.
Lesbians have a disappointingly low presence in popular culture. How does that feel from the perspective of someone who IS out there and honest and in the public eye?
We feel like it needs to change. The statistics around LGBTQ visibility are shocking. Our goal is to step up our activism and try and help wherever we can. Whether it's LGBTQ homelessness, incarceration rates, lack of access to health care or access to higher-paying jobs, or just seemingly always being unhappy, dying or going back to men in TV and film, it just doesn't feel right. And we want to use our platform to fight for change.