Thursday 18 January 2018

Q&A: Sara Quin of Tegan and Sara

On Danny De Vito, the glory of Canada and her gay pride

Ed Power

Ed Power

You were recently spotted backstage at Coachella rock festival in California. If we ask nicely, will you regale us with some celebrity anecdotes?

It's funny. You sort of hate the backstage thing. It's more of a scene than anything. I see me and Tegan as being, you know, the most normal people. You kind of can't believe you're backstage with Danny DeVito.

And you go out front where all the normal people are and you become sort of a strange distraction because people recognise you

They want to talk to you and take your photo. Not that there's anything wrong with that. But me and Tegan, we wanted to be able to go and see concerts and see the shows and whatever. It's kind of easier to be backstage.

You're both lesbians. Ever get fed up with being constantly asked about your sexuality?

At some point you hope it doesn't define what you're doing. Or that you can at least transcend some of the things you know about yourself personally. Especially now that you've been around so long. You want to be able to say that you are influential or important in the queer community.

You also want to be able to say that you have transcended those parameters.

Anyway, you're Canadian, probably the most liberal country in the world when it comes to exiting the closet.

Well, it's complicated, you know. In no way do I fear for my life. In Canada, I feel I have all the rights of a heterosexual person. You can get married and adopt kids and all of those kind of things. But we've travelled quite a lot.

And sometimes it feels profoundly sad for me to know I am seen as different or less or whatever. Then again, I sometimes experience that as a woman also. I'm grateful to be Canadian. I've done enough travelling to know it's not like that everywhere.

What sort of incidents do you mean?

It can be as simple as a journalist saying, 'This band will surprise you -- they can appeal to more people than just lesbians'. You're like... that's insane. If the same sentiment was attached to race, people would be up in arms.

It's no different from saying I, as a woman, can only make music for women or gay people. This is offensive to me.

OMG! You're supporting kiddie-catnip Paramore. Are you looking forward to playing to thousands of 14 -year-olds every night?

If you look at our resume we have done a lot of support gigs over the years. It's as weird and as broad as from Neil Young to The Killers. Or Hot Hot Heat to Ben Folds. We've done so many opening slots -- it's a testament to how strong our likeability is to different audiences.

When the Paramore offer came out, it was an opportunity to tour with a band we really respect. And an opportunity to play in front of 10,000 people every night.

Having grown up in Vancouver, what was your take on the negative coverage of the recent Winter Games?

When you are critiqued in the press as a band or an artist, you realise it is a lot of hot air. A lot of it is about spinning a story to sell papers.

My feeling about the Olympics is that, as someone who was watching them on television and observing them from afar, they seem like they went really well.

I hate to sound all hippy and Canadian, but there are moments when people just want to beat up on something. I feel Vancouver was a great host. But I do see why people want to take the piss out of it.

The album Sainthood is out now. Tegan and Sara play the Olympia, Dublin on June 15

Irish Independent

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