Tegan & Sara open up about new direction on upcoming album
Interview • Ahead of Orem gig, sisters talk about crafting upcoming album.
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Indie-rock sisters Tegan and Sara Quin started working on a new record in March, but after a few hours of work, they knew something was wrong.

"We decided to scrap the whole idea of the trip and just drink margaritas and hang out — as sisters," Tegan said.

They got re-inspired after a meeting a few months later with Rob Cavallo, chairman of Warner Bros. Records and Green Day producer. "Rob encouraged us to write about what we were afraid to write about," Tegan said. "His feedback to us was that we needed to be brave and bold and not toe the line about who we were, what we wanted to do, how we saw ourselves or perceived our music or experiences."

Sara added: "We didn't want anyone to mistake this album for something we'd already done in the past. Steering clear of any of our signature sounds from previous albums — mainly guitars — we tried to focus on enhancing our vocals and the melodies using instruments and keyboards we hadn't relied on heavily in the past. We wanted to make a different kind of pop record and we strove to make the songs more ambitious than anything we'd recorded before."

"It was time to update the 'Tegan & Sara sound,' " Tegan said.

Tegan & Sara's seventh album, "Heartthrob,"won't be released until Jan. 29, but fans will be able to hear the hyperliterate duo's new songs when they open for The Killers tonight. The two answered Tribune questions about the November elections, fan signs they've loved and a favorite Utah experience.

What are your thoughts on the U.S. presidential elections?

We are relieved and elated that Barack Obama was re-elected. We aren't overly political in our music but are as people. We walk a fine line. We're careful not to appear preachy but also take our role as musicians and public figures seriously. Mainly we encourage people to speak out and vote and get involved. We try not to specifically influence what way people should lean one way or the other. But it's obvious, I think, as gay women from Canada what we think about marriage equality, women's issues and health care.

What is the best sign you have ever seen at one of your shows?

The other night someone said they were born when I was 19. We have a song called "Nineteen." So that was pretty funny. The chorus lyrics are "I was 19, call me." The other night I also saw an "I was 19, call me maybe" sign. Even funnier.

At what point does writing something turn into "art"?

I think any time we create something, it's art.

How does people's perception of you differ from who you really are?

Based on what people often say when they meet us, people think we're going to be a lot more famous-acting than we are. I think we're very down-to-earth and probably a lot like most of our fans. I don't think they expect that.

Do you have any Utah experiences that stick out?

We played an all-ages show at a venue — that I can't remember the name of — about six years ago now that absolutely blew my mind. The audience was unhinged. I remember thinking, "Salt Lake City is wild." It reminded me of gigs we used to go to in Calgary when we were teenagers. We were always a bit unhinged, too. There are a lot of parallels between Salt Lake and Calgary. I like it there a lot.

Do you ever geek out about something the way some fans geek out about you?

Oh, yes. I act like a ridiculous fan constantly. I often don't go backstage at concerts where I have access for that reason. I have awful and embarrassing stories about meeting so many famous people. It's shocking how shy and awkward — and yet verbal — I get when I meet people I'm fans of.

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Somebody Told Me

Tegan & Sara will open for The Killers.

When • Friday, Nov. 30, 8 p.m.

Where • UCCU Center, 800 W. University Parkway, Orem

Tickets • Sold out