Tegan & Sara relish mainstream success of latest record

14/06/13

Tegan and Sara say it's exciting to be getting more mainstream exposure since the release of their latest album.

Heartthrob, the seventh studio record from the Canadian twins, has been their highest charting to date in the US.

"We've always enjoyed our status as an underground or niche band," says Sara Quin. "But we thought maybe we do want to crack through and have a little more recognition. It's really nice."

The duo formed their first band in 1995 when they were 15.

'Real slog'

They released their first album as Tegan and Sara, Under Feet Like Ours, in 1999.

"We've actually been doing this for years and there were some rough times," says Tegan. "It's been a real slog. There were lots of shows where only five people came - and they worked for us.

"I hope our fans don't overlook the record because it's our attempt to go mainstream. If anything it's our attempt to drag the mainstream into our world."

Tegan and Sara

The pair have just completed a series of gigs in the UK and are preparing to support Fun on their North American tour.

They've also recently collaborated with David Guetta, written a song for Carly Rae Jepsen and had their single Closer covered on Glee.

"Closer being on Glee, and some of the other American television we've done, it's like being allowed into a different club. We don't expect to stay there," says Sara.

Pop influence

While they've always been critically acclaimed, the sisters admit they did made a conscious effort to break through and wanted to make "the best album" of their career.

To do that they met 15 producers.

We wanted to know what's been missing from us in the past. Why don't we win Grammys
Tegan on getting producers to be brutally honest with them

Tegan says: "We told all the producers, 'Don't be afraid to critique us. What's been missing from us in the past? Why don't we win Grammys? Why don't we win songwriter awards.'

"Almost everyone said we needed to listen to the radio. They said that even with Coldplay and Adele, there are steps taken to make it sound like pop music.

"They said we needed to open our minds to not sounding like we'd just recorded the band off the floor of a studio. Somebody needed to come in and say, 'Try harder.'"

In the end, they produced most of the album with Greg Kurstin.

They were rewarded when Heartthrob entered the US Billboard 200 album chart at number three, selling 49,000 copies in its first week.

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Tegan and Sara have worked with David Guetta, written for Carly Rae Jepsen and had their song covered by the cast of Glee.
Image caption Tegan and Sara have worked with David Guetta, written for Carly Rae Jepsen and had their song covered by the cast of Glee.