Tegan and Sara are one of the fiercest duos in the music industry. They have released nine studio albums and numerous EP’s and have featured on multiple movie soundtracks, including The LEGO Movie.
Most recently, they have lent their astonishing vocals and impeccable musical talent to the new Hulu film Happiest Season, by writing an original Christmas song titled ‘Make You Mine This Season.’ The duo chatted with Zane Lowe over at Apple Music about the song, their memoir, Dolly Parton, upsides of 2020, and more! Check out the highlights below!
Tegan and Sara Tell Apple Music About Writing ‘Make You Mine This Season’ With Songwriter Alex Hope For The Film Happiest Season
Sara: It’s funny because we tend to… well, let me speak for myself. I would have written a sad Christmas song, but Clea DuVall, who wrote and directed the film, she did not want a sad Christmas movie song. She wanted a really classic, ageless, timeless Christmas song. So you got to have sleigh bells, you got to have romantic lyrics, you got to have snow falling. It was really fun. It was a good exercise for us to try to think big, romantic, mainstream movie, Christmas.
Tegan: All the Christmas bell sounds we give full credit to our co-writer and producer, Alex Hope, she’s a genius and she actually did get her hands on real Christmas… sleigh bells, but there’s a lot of layers in there and I have just to go back and say that Sara did try to write really sad lyrics. Sara and I and Alex started working on it, it was the beginning of the pandemic. Sara was like, “What about a broken heart Christmas song?” We’re like, “No man, it’s Christmas! No!” There could be a remix coming. We don’t know. It could be a saxophone remix. I have no idea. What I’m curious about, is there another Christmas song that is like a same-sex Christmas song? Like we are girls singing about a girl.
Sara Tells Apple Music About Being Introduced To Christmas Music From Sinead O’Connor, The Pretenders, and Bruce Springsteen
I always think too, my first introduction to cool Christmas music, like hip modern artists and bands singing Christmas music was like Sinead O’Connor, The Pretenders, Bruce Springsteen. And those songs to me, they were so specific. They usually weren’t religious. They were more like, I guess contemporary culture, more romance kind of songs. And Bruce Springsteen. (Singing) That song, do you remember that? Big saxophone. Tegan really wanted a saxophone solo in this song but we were like, “Take it easy.”
Sara Tell Apple Music About Writing Their 2019 Memoir High School
I mean, this is certainly new information for a lot of people, especially if you were just sort of like a casual Tegan and Sara fan. I mean, we’ve talked about our early years starting the band, figuring out that we were gay, those kinds of things. But this project truly allowed us to really dig into that material. Not just because we were writing the book, but it’s like, it really did force us to go back and really spend a lot of time with that younger version of ourselves. And I know for myself, there’s lots of humor in the book, there’s lots of teenage shenanigans, drugs, alcohol, sex, lying to our parents, the things that you would expect. But we were hoping that we could elevate those stories by explaining how intrinsic the sort of like self medicating, exploratory teenage self is when you are —–, an outsider, and trying to sort things out. People would always say to us, “How do you remember all of those things?” And I’m like, you have to remember, I mean, these things are some of the biggest life experiences first that we ever had. Getting on stage the first time, I mean, having an audience and having applause and falling in love and knowing something really profound that’s going to change your life. Those memories are like seared into our brains. And so to get to share that in a more sort of expansive way was really, really fun. And hopefully will connect with people who whether you had that experience or not, I think there’s a lot in that story for people to connect with.
Tegan and Sara Tell Apple Music About The Upsides of 2020
Tegan: I mean, it feels terrible to say that this was a good year when it was such a terrible year in so many ways. It was a devastating and awful year in a lot of ways, but it’s not been often in our 20 years of adulthood that we’ve had the opportunity to stay in a place for one year. And I think there has been a lot of self-reflection and a lot of work internally, and I feel pretty grateful for that and that’s why I think I’ll always look back on this year as actually being pretty great. But I think to be a musician you have to accept that you are good at dismantling and leaving and being distant and sometimes detaching. And those aren’t necessarily good things. I think also as kids from divorce, you don’t want to be that person. I don’t want to be the person that can leave, that’s emotionally distant, but that’s how we’ve had to be to survive 20 years of being away sometimes hundreds of days a year.And I think I’ve definitely learned a lot this year and I think both Sara and I will agree to this or admit to this, that we’ve been reprioritizing our lives because of COVID, because of being home. There’s a lot of major changes afoot for Sara and I in our professional world and I think that there’s a lot more change to come because I think we don’t want to spend the rest of our lives away from our lives.
Sara: I think the spell was broken before this happened. And I actually think that in some ways we’d already started to pivot, I guess is the word, away from thinking about our business as solely a touring operation and making music, touring, making music, touring, making music, touring. I think we had already started to feel some fatigue and some lack of creative spirit around that. So this has really just given us an opportunity to really focus in on these other opportunities. And I also think, to jump onto what Tegan said, I think a lot of us, and I mean, I don’t mean all artists, and I hate using this stereotype that artists create when they’re in trauma or crisis or whatever, not everyone has to, nor am I encouraging to screw up your life or blow up your life every couple of years so you have something interesting to talk about. But this is an interesting new for me or first for me, where my life is actually more stable than ever but there’s so much chaos around us that I’m finding it to be really inspiring. I’m not singing songs about the pandemic or the President. I’m not feeling like I need to make much of a statement about that, but I am feeling like it’s a good time, like you said, there’s this restfulness or this mindfulness that, because we’re not rushing around and touring and traveling, I’ve just been able to settle back into my own brain and my body, and I’m like, what do I have to think about? Where am I at right now? Temperature check. Not literal temperature check. I do not have COVID. But I just feel like it’s a great time. We also just turned 40. I feel like it was a really nice time for us to sit down and really evaluate.
Sara Tells Apple Music About Tame Impala
Sara: We actually did some festival touring when Tame Impala first came out, and they were just massive. We were in Australia doing the big festivals over there in the summer season. And I remember thinking the band was a bit stoner for me. I was in a more pop vibe at the time. I love his falsetto. I think you’re right. You nailed it about the sound design. He makes warm really just textured sounding records and music. I think he’s great. I think those are great records.
Sara Tells Apple Music Why Dolly Parton Can Do What She Wants
…we do have a really good Dolly Parton story that I cannot tell the whole version of. Unfortunately, some of it is just in the vault. So, the first time we ever went to the U.K. in Europe, we had just turned 20 years old and the label sent an assistant out on the road with us. We flew to five or six different countries to play for our label at the time, which was Warner. There was this wonderful, wonderful, wonderful woman who was on the road with us. I’ll never forget her name was Katina, and she worked at the label and they sent her to basically tour manage us, if you will. And she had just done the same route, but with Dolly Parton. And so she gave us these stories. I mean, we were the same age and all three of us were just like, “Oh my God, you hung out with Dolly Parton?” And she’d like, “F-k yeah, I was on airplanes with her. I was in hotel rooms with her.” And yeah, we got some very interesting stories. And even then, remember, this is either ’99 or 2000. We were like, “Is she covered in tattoos? Is the story true that she’s covered in tattoos?” And she’s like, “I never saw her arms.” And she can do that, because when you’re basically the most prolific, talented, versatile songwriter ever potentially, you can do whatever you want.
Sara Tells Apple Music About Christmas Growing Up
Sara: We loved Christmas although when I tell people how much I love Christmas, I always include things like we did have a divorced family, like our parents were divorced so we would spend Christmas Eve with our dad. And that tended to be a little depressing … a little… of actual Christmas day, because then we were returned to our mother who would then take us to our grandparents and there was like a big family. So you can imagine the first draft of the lyrics for ‘Make You Mine This Season’ were something along the lines of dad always cries on Christmas Eve when he’s taking us back to our mom, he got us suitcases when we were 11 for Christmas, that was the only Christmas gift we ever got. Stuff like that but or shopping. I’m mostly kidding sort of. That’s for our second memoir. No, but it was a sort of like interesting dichotomy because it was like on one hand with my dad, we would sort of like the ghost of Christmas poverty and then we would go to my back home and it was like, we had this bounty of love and support… and get some food. And so we always really loved Christmas. Our mom always says we were never believers in Santa or other historical and religious figures. And so we were challenging because we weren’t sort of into the magic of Christmas, but we were into those sort of like emotional labor. My mom would just toil about finding us the perfect gifts that would like identify how well she knew us especially when we started to love music. She would like go look for like bootlegs of like bands we love. We would always get really good gifts, like gifts that we would hide from our friends, because we were embarrassed by how good my mom was at giving us gifts.
Sara Tells Apple Music About Loving Good Singers Like Charlotte Day Wilson
I mean, her voice is just absolutely incredible. I love that with all the hype. We’re like bad singers who love good singers. Like we’re not good singers. We love a good singer because we’re like, “Yeah, look at that.” We’ve always believed that there’s something very special about what we do together and naturally… No, but we knew. We knew from a very young age, we were like, “What we do together no one else can do and it can’t be replicated.” But yeah, we’re very attracted to singers and tone. And Charlotte, I just find like, here’s somebody who’s had an enormous amount of hype and who just everybody loves and I don’t think has compromised in any way. Everything that’s come out is so good.
There you have it, honey poppers! We hope the interview gave you a little insight into the minds of Tegan and Sara because it sure did us! You can check out Zane Lowe’s At Home With… series here for more exclusive interviews!
What did you think of Tegan and Sara’s interview with Apple Music? Did they answer any of your burning questions? Let us know in the comments below or by tweeting us @TheHoneyPOP! You can also hit us up on Facebook and Instagram!
Want to read more articles on your faves? We can help!
Featured Image Source: as posted by Tegan and Sara via Twitter