Most bands don’t get the chance to go for it 18 years into their career. Most bands also don’t have a combined 36 years of experience in the music biz when two of their members are 32 years old. If Tegan and Sara’s gambit pays off on Heartthrob, their seventh album (due January 29), the duo will be able to claim one of the most unusual journeys to pop stardom in recent memory.
SPIN takes a closer look at the Canadian sisters’ big leap in our January cover story, which arrives tomorrow online ahead of our digital magazine’s release. (How significantly has their sound evolved? In a short piece praising 2004’s So Jealous, our writer happily reported the group was no longer a “Wicca-folk nightmare,” a jab the band has playfully rehashed from the stage on several occasions. We rewarded their continued loyalty to that story by providing them with customized T-shirts.)
Here’s a sneak peek at what to expect: footage of the pair on the set of their photo shoot and a preview of our candid interview.
On seeking a wider audience:
“I don’t care if we only add five more fans to the pile,” Tegan says. “I meet people, daily, who say, ‘Your music saved me; your music got me through high school.’ I just think, ‘Why would we limit our exposure?'”
On giving their sound a shinier makeover:
“On our first day in the studio [Heartthrob producer], Greg Kurstin spun around in his chair and said, ‘I’m going to take each song to the edge. And then pull back a bit,'” Tegan recalls. “And I thought, ‘Nah, just toss it over the edge.’ We decided to go for it.”
On writing music separately at the beginning of their career:
“We didn’t want to prove people right, that we were this weird, gay, twin monster sitting around reading each other’s minds,” Sara says.
On their extra-close relationship with their fans:
“It’s not that our band is so different from every other band, but we know our audience intimately,” Tegan says. “The first seven years we were selling our own merch and answering fan mail, dealing with so much.”
On finding a new comfort level with their image:
“It feels great to relax and not worry whether who I am in real life and who I am in a photo shoot match up,” Sara tells us.