Sibling songbirds want Britney’s fans

Sara Quin has a bone to pick with the Gauntlet.

"The Gauntlet actually gave us our first horribly mean review," Quin says. "I was like, 17-years old and I was getting called a wannabe and uninspired and I was like, ‘What? I’m 17! I’m in Bio 30, you know? Like, what am I supposed to be? Fucking Lenny Kravitz?’"

That was over three years ago and since then Tegan and Sara have officially become famous. Although some may argue the point, the facts speak for themselves: Tegan and Sara went from two guitar-playing sisters to a current U.S. tour with Neil Young, their first studio album on Young’s label, a video on Much Music and a rapidly growing international fan base. Now Tegan and Sara seem poised to succeed in a way that few Canadian acts have. The girls, however, remain unfazed.

"Everything that happens to us we take in stride," says Sara, the bleached blonde member of the pair. "It’s dangerous to get too caught up in yourself or take yourself too seriously. We’re just honoured and happy to be given the things that we’re given."

And touring with Neil Young?

"It’s work, you know? For the most part I’m like: I can’t wait ’til I get to the hotel so I can go to bed. It’s exciting, but you just have to put it into perspective. This is real for a month, but it’s not reality."

That kind of attitude is indicative of the down-to-earth sensibility of these Calgary natives and why they have endeared themselves to so many so quickly.

The ride is far from over. Tegan and Sara have their sights set high.

"I want to be successful," says Sara. "Probably after Christmas we’re going to start focusing overseas. That was our goal all along. We weren’t just going to focus on America or Canada. Hopefully we’d get to see Japan and Australia and most of Europe before the summer."

The most difficult hurdle, however, may be yet to come. The local duo are keen on expanding their audience, in a way you’d not expect from a folk-rock band though.

"I want 10 per cent of [Britney Spears’] audience," says Sara. "I want 10 per cent of the five million people that bought her album to buy my album. I think that 10 per cent of the people that listen to Britney Spears just don’t know that there’s an alternative."

Never mind that Spears’ music is worlds apart from Tegan and Sara’s. Although their sound certainly includes some pop sensibilities, it is decidedly not of the bubble-gum variety. A blend of folk, rock and soul, Tegan and Sara’s music is personal and honest.

The duo are becoming an increasingly popular live act due to their laid-back and charismatic manner. A Tegan and Sara show is intimate and relaxed.

"We’re messy and we make lots of mistakes and there’s also lots of laughing, lots of comedy. I think that we’re bashful and funny and cocky," says Sara. "I think that we’re naive and I think that we’re having fun. There’s a lot of passion in our shows."

Tegan and Sara will perform at the Rosza Centre Sept. 20.

"Calgary’s a great place to play," Sara remarks. "It’s the crowd, I think, that makes the difference, and the crowd’s always great in Calgary."

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