Sara: "Hot Snake." What does it say about society that men are so comfortable drawing their own genitalia all over everything? Women do nfeel comfortable to do that, I would never... Who has a Sharpie? I'm gonna do it. I'm gonna... I'm gonna christen these walls with a VAGINA.
Sara: These are actual fish, that swim in the water that Tegan bought for a very low price...
Tegan: Oh, so because they're not expensive, their life is worth nothing? These were cheap fish, people, don't get upset. Don't get attached to Emy, okay? she's just a cheap fish. She was one of those orange ones. She was cute and she meant a lot to me.
So that's a favorite of mine, I really like that song and it makes me sad when I play it, but I think it's a good song. I don't know why it makes me sad, there's just something about the song. I was really happy and was in a good relationship and feeling really strong and stable when I wrote this record, but I was sort of filtering old feelings and old stuff from past relationships. And then I spent a lot of times sort of like being a spectator to Sara's break up, and my mom had just gotten into a new relationship, and just sort of felt like, you don't even know what you have and then it's gone. At the time, I was sorta feeling like, umm - I know I've been dumped before and then every relationship you see around you, you just want to be angry at them because you're like, "Respect each other, love each other, don't lose it, it's so great what you have!" So that song was like my reminder that you have to be good to one another.
When I wrote this song I felt pretty unoriginal because everybody writes love songs and everybody feels like their love's the most important, and when their love ends and they get their heart broken, that nobody understands, and that's ridiculous... but so am I.
Sara moved to Montreal about six months into our last record. She went there, didn't know anybody there, it was like middle of winter, minus gazillion, and she's stuck in this big old apartment with no furniture and she sent me all these really sad pictures of just like her bed on the floor and her computer. And she wrote songs like "Downtown" when she first moved there. She had a crush on someone and they were in another relationship and she said she kinda felt like a stalker when she'd see them out and about. I know that that song and "Walking With A Ghost" were sorta themed around the idea of wanting to be with somebody you couldn't be with. I can just picture her sitting in her big open window staring out at the ice and snow and wishing that person was there. And I don't know, it makes me depressed. Actually, most of her songs on the record can make me feel depressed.
When I moved to Vancouver I had a couple friends that lived there and people we had known, and that's what influenced me to move there, but I also just started a relationship six months prior and they lived there, too. And I got there and went on the road almost immediately and then everything sort of fell apart. The relationship broke up and the two people I knew there had moved, and the couple of people that moved there in Vancouver that I'd known I wasn't really connected with anymore. So I felt very detached from home and I left very abruptly. I made the decision to move like, literally one day I called and said I was gonna move and a week later my friend packed up his car with all my stuff and drove me down and I was just like that was it. So when I wrote "Wake Up Exhausted", I was writing from the position of all those people in a sense, and making fun of me, like telling me to stop thinking about them, because I went through a very nostalgic period where I couldn't stop thinking about high school and old stuff, and so I sort of was picking on myself, and sort of saying get me off your mind; making fun of myself like, stop thinking about it, stop obsessing over things that were long past, and that I lost it and that was my fault and my problem.
When we were doing interviews for our bio, I described hearing that song for the first time to be like Sara was standing on my chest. I just felt really sad, and that was having heard all the other songs in order leading up to that one. I know that when Sara was writing these songs it was during the end of her relationship and it was someone she'd been friends with for almost ten years and been with for four years. It was just the psyche of it, when you've known someone for half your life, literally, and then have to leave them, and not necessarily because you want to but just because it's the right thing to do, and it's just not healthy and you're not good anymore, there's no growth and you have to have growth. And when I hear that song, the idea of that all happening just makes me sick to my stomach a little bit. But it's in an enjoyable way.
Tegan: No, but I did watch it once and Tyra Banks said the most amazing thing that became, like, my mantra, and my roommate had a t-shirt made for me.
Interviewer: What did she say?
Tegan: Well, Tyra was like, "Your pictures do not look good. Like, it looks awful, I mean, you're cringing in them," and the girl was like, "I got food poisoning the night before and I was up just getting sick all night and I was in so much pain and I got to the shoot and I was dehydrated and tired and I went to the hospital right afterwards," and Tyra was like--It was like a close up on her face all the sudden and she was all like, "You know, I had"--I can't remember what it was, some sort of disorder, some sort of thing--"and I was in incredible pain and I was cramping and blah blah blah blah blah"--you know, she's doing this whole thing and listing all the characteristics, all the symptoms of her disease, and she goes, "But you just model through it." And I was like, "Oh my god, that's fucking genius. You just model through it!"
Oh my god, and at work it was so crazy and I was just like--Oh my god, oh my god, and them--have you heard them? They're so good, they're like my favorite band, I saw them on MTV, I love them. Do you want more drinks? Why are all these people singing around us? It's so annoying, I can't hear anything you're saying.
When Sara's singing about laying in bed with a pile of books between her and her girlfriend, that hurts. Whereas I'm like, 'Screw you.' I've got all the teenagers in the audience, with songs like 'Nineteen,' 'Hop A Plane,' 'Speak Slow.' But 'Floor Plan' comes on, and Sara's singing about wanting her partner's lungs to stop working without her, and that's where the depth in our music is really at. I think that balance in our songwriting is what distinguishes us.
"And we're going to make billions of dollars, and we're going to buy an island, one of the ones that have unicorns on them. We talk about unicorns a lot because I found out while we were recording the record that I did not understand that unicorns never existed, I just thought they were extinct. And then everybody laughs because everyone's first thought when they think of a unicorn is the idea that it's a mythical creature but I didn't ever think that way. I was just like, it's a white horse with a horn..."
I like that Tegan is able to write a song and have closure with it once her ideas are on tape. I really obsess over details and find myself unable to detach from songs for weeks! It's what slows my creative process down.
We take it so seriously when people don't like us or when they say they can't relate to us. I'm like, "How can you not relate to us? We're like hearts on a sleeve. How can you not relate to the human condition, you fucking asshole?"
I wrote about being really jealous, I'm talking intense jealousy, jealousy that I had never felt before. The thing that I loved about the chorus in that song is that 'I can't even work' it's like I'm exasperated with myself. I was like disabled by it. I was jealous of what I didn't have, what I used to have, what I wanted to have, and at that particular time I was sort of half-dating someone who was in a relationship, so it was an affair. It was a weird triangle of people and then my ex-girlfriend started dating this guy and then I felt [worse], and then he felt jealous, and it was just like 'fuck!' and I was just consumed.
There is something so complicated about loving me and loving Tegan. Every girl I've ever dated has said that by dating one of us, you're dating both of us, because we're always together. We love each other in a way that most siblings don't understand.
Tegan and Sara Jonk Music
I wasn’t attracted to the sixteen year old. There’s nothing wrong with being sixteen, you’re wonderful, you’re beautiful. You’re beautiful, just like Christina Aguilera says. I’m just saying that I was trying to make intense eyes with the audience and they just happened to be sixteen. If they had been eighty-five and it was like a snowbird conference in Florida, I would’ve done the same is what I’m saying.
Sara at the Malkin bowl in Vancouver, BC (2010)
If it was an eighty-five year old, eye contact. Sixteen? Eye contact. You? a mixture of ages, are about to get some serious eye contact.
Sara at the Malkin bowl in Vancouver, BC (2010)
I’m kind of one of those south african turtles that you fly in and that dies in two weeks because you really just don’t know what it needs.