Tegan and Sara Are Sick of Girls Being Outnumbered on Festival Lineups

Tegan and Sara, the Canadian twin-sister band responsible for all my favorite songs in middle school, have just released Love You to Death, their eighth album from the past fifteen years.

I was supposed to interview them about it last night during an event they played at the Samsung 837 Space in New York’s Meatpacking District, but I fangirled out too hard, and ended up having a meandering conversation with them about Pride, music festivals, and even virtual reality. Samsung’s 837’s  space is hosting “Live @ 837 NYC,” their Summer Series which features a ton of awesome live performances, workshops, and on this particular day, there were VR goggles on hand for guests to experiment with.

“You guys look alike,” I said, like an idiot, to the adult twins when I met them.

“Yeah, we’ve heard that before,” either Tegan or Sara said back.

“Our mom says she thinks we might be twins, but she’s not sure,” the other sister said, not totally amused.

“Ha,” I tried again, rattling off a long, pointless story about how people at Starbucks always get my name wrong. They were nice about it. One of them didn’t want to sit down because she’d just steamed the black blazer and pants she was wearing. I liked that. I did the best I could, though I was totally starstruck. Read our full interview below.

How are you feeling about performing tonight?

Tegan: Really excited. We love playing in spaces we’re not usually in, for playing for people who’ve possibly never heard of us before. As business people, it’s also interesting to spend time with people on these teams behind making events like this happen.

The virtual reality stuff is crazy. [There was a station with VR Goggles]

Tegan: We were just at Sundance, and VR was everything. We were like, what about the movies though? Everybody just wanted to hang out in the VR section.

I just learned that porn is the biggest thing that’s been popularized since VR took off.

Sara: Soon, all people are going to want to see is porn, and cats in 3D.

What else are you guys up to this month?

Sara: Up in Canada, we’re doing a big award show. Then we’re going to the UK, Southeast Asia, Australia, and then we start our big headlining tour in America. We’re doing three music videos as well, so we have a lot of stuff coming up.

How are you doing that?

Tegan: Mostly cocaine [laughing].

Oh, good!

Sara: No, honestly, it’s just good to be working on all of these things at once.

Do you guys live together?

Tegan: No, we don’t. Sara has a wife and cats.

Sara: What did you say?

Tegan: I said you had a wife, but — she has a girlfriend, not a wife. I was just using the image to make it seem as conventional as possible.

Sara: This is the problem, you’re using this weird heteronormative language to talk about my relationship, it’s weird!

Speaking of, are you guys doing anything for Pride? And Is there something you would like to see or talk about for Pride that you feel isn’t happening, or that nobody’s talking about?

Tegan: We’re not actually doing anything for Pride specifically this year, but we’re really excited for the next couple of years. We headlined Toronto World Pride a few years ago, and a good friend of ours is the marshal for it, and she’s just transitioned, so that’s really awesome to hear about. I just feel like there’s so much enthusiasm in the younger ranks, even though we were worried that there was a natural cooling off period after marriage equality passed in the United States. But I think it’s great to see how excited young people are right now. It’s the time for us to celebrate!

It’s festival season — don’t you think it would be cool to have a music festival that catered more to women in general? I feel like women are generally uncomfortable at music festivals because they feel so much pressure to behave in a certain way. A lot of girls tell me they don’t enjoy going to festivals. 

Tegan: It’s so funny that you say that, because I was just telling these people how the music festival Leeds—

Sara: It was Glastonbury.

Tegan: Either Glastonbury or Leeds, they have this all-female area that allow for a cooling off, with all female security guards, and where only women are allowed.

Sara: A lot of these festivals, the statistics are insane, because 60% to 90% of the bill skews male. And it’s a problem that is sort-of slowly being addressed institutionally. And so it’s hard, because festivals have kind of always been more male-dominated, although women, like Adele, or Katy Perry, are really the ones selling, and topping the charts. There’s definitely been a trend over the past few years, that festivals have become the way that a lot of people like to spend their money on. So it’ll definitely be interesting to see how the culture of these festival progresses.

Check out their new album, Love You to Death, on iTunes here. 

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