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Interview:
Tegan and Sara recalibrate on latest album
 

By GARY GRAFF
21st Century Media/Digital Media First, @GraffonMu

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The slicker, more mainstream pop-focused sound of its latest album, "Heartthrob," was no accident for the Canadian duo of Tegan and Sara.

After their last album, 2009's "Sainthood," the Quin sisters -- twins from Calgary -- turned 30 and started to do some re-thinking and recalibrating. "It was just a spring cleaning -- what are we looking forward to in the future and what is happening now?" recalls Sara Quin. "So we started having conversations.

"And one thing that really came out of that was recognizing that the records we were making weren't totally in line with music we were being inspired by at this time of our career. So we wanted to do something that reflected that more, a big pop record that still felt like us. And it was actually easy to make -- probably the easiest record we've ever made."

"Heartthrob" gave Tegan and Sara their highest chart positions ever in the U.S. -- No. 3 on the Billboard 200 and No. 1 on the Alternative Albums chart -- and in their homeland, where it debuted at No. 2 and was certified gold and was shortlisted for the prestigious Polaris Music Prize. It's also spawned the singles "Closer and I Was a Fool." Quinn -- who splits time between Montreal and New York while Tegan resides in Vancouver -- says the sisters are a bit relieved by the success, though they never doubted they were doing the right think.

"I thought that if we made a record that doesn't really excite people or surprise people, then we're definitely in the danger zone," explains Quin, 33. "We're a band that's been around for over a decade. We had our heyday as the big indie buzz thing. We've toured with a lot of really fantastic bands and have our own fan base, and that's great. But we had no radio, no major media presence outside of the music industry.

"So to me, that's the danger zone. We felt this urgency to make people invest both with us and with our lives. I was more afraid of being irrelevant than of making people scratch their heads and wonder what we're up to. I think this is just really what we had to do right now, and it worked."

Tegan and Sara and Walk Off the Earth perform at the 93.9 The River's Winter Icebreaker concert on Wednesday, Dec. 11, at the Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $29-$45. Tegan and Sara also perform at the AMP Radio Kringle Jingle on Dec. 15 at the Fillmore Detroit. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are 420-$45. Call 313-961-5450 or visit www.livenation.com.

Web Site: www.livenation.com

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