the vice interview

The VICE Interview: Sara Quin

We chatted to one half of Tegan and Sara about important shit like chicken nuggets and break ups.

by Hannah Ewens
10 July 2016, 11:00pm

This is the VICE Interview. Each week we ask a different famous and/or interesting person the same set of questions in a bid to peek deep into their psyche.

Tegan and Sara are the identical twins who everyone struggles to tell apart but if you chat to them, you'll quickly find Sara is anxious, and Tegan more laidback. They picked up the guitar at age 15, and started writing together as Plunk, using the school's recording studio to make two albums. Over the years their music has grown from confessional acoustic punk to electro pop but always exploring the inner workings of relationships, break-ups and their mind – always heartfelt.

Their album Heartthrob turned them from a cult indie-rock band into legit pop stars, seven records into their career, in 2013. They've opened for Katy Perry and Lady Gaga and soundtracked everything from Glee and One Tree Hill to Dallas Buyers Club and The Lego Movie . As well as being musicians, they've always been open about their sexuality and have created a visible LGBT presence in the scene.

Their new album Love You To Death dropped recently so we caught up with Sara Quin to get deep and talk about which of her cats she likes better.

What was your first ever email address?
Fuck, I don't know, I'm like 100 years old. Probably it was really basic like my age and my cat's name or something super embarrassing, I can't remember though. My email addresses have gotten increasingly more challenging, because when we first started out it was totally fine to have your name in your address, but emails became easy to hack once we started having a career. So my email addresses are now what I imagine President Obama's to be: like 400 characters and obscure words spelled wrong with exclamation marks. Sometimes when people say "Oh give me your email address," I'm like, why bother? Just forget you ever met me; don't even try to communicate with me moving forward.

How many people have been in love with you?
I hate that I don't know how many people loved me because I'm such a goon and I've probably hurt people's feelings. That I know of and actually told me they were in love with me – five? That question also forces me to think about all the people that probably weren't in love with me, which is upsetting.

Why did you break up with your first girlfriend?
Well, pretty pedestrian reason: I had feelings for someone else. I was infatuated and in love with someone else. It was a complicated situation to begin with. We weren't necessarily exclusive. We were very young and it was confusing. But she's still one of my very best friends in the world.

As I get older, I've realised a pattern in my life where I partner with people and then we transition into friendship. I'm incredibly loyal and once I've connected with somebody so deeply, it's very challenging for me to give it up no matter what. The choice is: do I get over being broken-hearted and maintain this really wonderful relationship? Or do I lose the relationship and the friendship?

What would your parents prefer you to have chosen as a career?
We were these really studious kids who loved school and were smart and potentially going to be lawyers and then we just totally fell off and turned into horrible teenage losers. For me going to college felt like an extension of childhood, and I was just ready to get the fuck out. When we told our parents that we were going to be musicians it was the equivalent of saying, "we plan on living in a gutter and shooting heroin in our eyes". I think they just thought "what the fuck?". But very quickly – because of their excellent parenting – we showed ourselves to be businesswomen. We got into merchandising and booking our own tours. They knew we had entrepreneurial spirit.

What was your worst phase?
I went through a very challenging stage in my 20s, where I was pretty grumpy and snobby. It was a difficult stage for me. Visually I really hit rock bottom between the ages of eight and 18. I'm probably judging the entire era of style but I specifically used to wear very oversized clothes, and layers. Mostly my problem actually wasn't the clothes, it was the hair. I had very long hair that I probably wouldn't get cut for years at a time. I was a frump. We grew up in a place where winter is for six months a year. I was like a teenage polar bear. You couldn't even remotely know what was underneath any of my clothing because there were so many layers.

Which conspiracy theories do you believe?
Growing up in Canada and being so close to the United States, one of the earliest conspiracy theories that you start hearing about is aliens. That's just so deeply embedded in the TV and film culture, I just remember that being something really early on that I was just like, "Holy shit, is this a real thing?" Tegan is more gullible and willing to try things out. She's open to new fads. I'm a hard sell.

When in your life have you been truly overcome with fear?
I have this memory of being 18 and at the hospital visiting my grandmother with my Mum. My mum went to get gas, and I was waiting for her. She took so long; I thought she had been kidnapped. When she picked me up in the car I started hysterically crying. A lot of times my fear comes from the idea that I'm going to lose people. I was totally the kind of kid that would cry themselves to sleep worrying that her family was gonna perish or that they were gonna get sick. I've learned how to bury that pretty deep inside and not lay around worrying every day that Tegan is going to die.

What is the nicest thing you own?
I love my cat so much, nothing in my life means anything to me. I would give up my apartment, give up all my clothing, give up my shoes. I would give up any nice thing I have purchased for my cat. I actually have two. My favorite cat is named Holiday, and she is my first-born. And then I have a second cat named Mickey, and he's an idiot. I can't lie and tell you I like them equally because I don't. Holiday is smart and cool and Mickey just follows me around like a dog.

What have you done in your life that you most regret?
I'm in a phase of my life right now where I am sort of looking back and evaluating certain relationships that didn't work out with people and the lingering regret or guilt. Instead of feeling like I have to repair the relationship with the person, I'm trying to think how do I prevent myself from being that person again in the future. I can be a bit of a selfish, impulsive and closed-off person, particularly when I was younger.

What would be your last meal?
My first thought was McDonald's. That's what I eat when I'm hungover or sad or when we've got a nine-hour flight delay and we have to sit at the airport. That's like my rock bottom food. Normally when I go, I only allow myself a cheeseburger and a small fries. But if it was my last meal, I'd go to town. A fillet of fish, chicken nuggets, and a double cheeseburger. I'd get all of the food.


More VICE Interviews:

Patti Smith

Louis Theroux

Christine and the Queens

tegan and sara
Love You to Death
sara quin
the con