Thank you for all the fantastic questions, I had a great time answering them.
Out of all the incredible projects you’ve been involved in, what is your biggest achievement to date? - Ash
The fact that our band exists is the biggest achievement of them all. While writing our memoir, I was reminded of the ways in which our lives could have turned out very differently. If we hadn’t discovered our stepdad’s guitar in the basement at 15, would we have ever written songs? If we’d been disallowed from using that guitar would the otherworldly feeling that came over us when we began singing together have manifested as some other shared career involving performance and collaboration? Without our friends’ belief, and enthusiasm in our music, would we have had the confidence to pursue our post high school dreams? To submit our demo tape to the garage warz? Without, our “Beatle-maniacal” fans cheering for us at the competition would the judges have declared us winners and set our professional career in motion? If we hadn’t given our demo tape to a manager from Toronto, would we have been discovered by the woman working in his office, who pulled it from the garbage bin and booked us our first show in Toronto? There are dozens of these threads I can pull that all begin well before any notable achievement suited for a bio or Wikipedia.
I was wondering if you've found any favorite queer kids’ books yet? In our house it was "Tulip the Birthday Wish Fairy". - Clark
I have not yet read any of the wonderful titles that friends and family have sent to us. When my library became Sid’s room I fretted about where my collection would go in a house already at maximum capacity for books. My library was representative of my inner world; stories and ideas that have shaped me in important ways. Sid’s room is not so different; the shelves are now lined with the beginning of his own collection.
Despite how deeply art impacts me, I struggle with imposter syndrome in my own creative process. How do you push through the doubt and invalidation, get out of your own way, and make things anyway? - Jane
I have learned how much our band, has impacted people, and in some cases entire communities. That serves as a humbling counterweight, to the insecurities that have always plagued me. Self-doubt doesn’t have to be unproductive. The drama I create in my interior world, is just the right amount of inspiration when I’m unable to access fuel elsewhere. Proving myself to others might have always been the point.
What was your favourite music video to film? - Tiffani
I can’t honestly say that I have ever enjoyed making music videos. This is not the fault of anyone we’ve collaborated with. The truth is that I have always felt nervous with a camera pointed at me, in a room full of people, who are not an audience. I’m quick to tell people that we never lip sync, even during the filming of videos. And, yet no matter how loud I sing along with myself, I am essentially faking it. It’s a simulation. I guess if you twist my arm, I’d pick Back in Your Head.
I’d love to know what made you decide to be a parent? - Cassie
This is a complicated answer, which I, do intend to write about. For now, what I will say is this: I love being a parent.
One of your tips for cleaning was that items not meant for display should not be displayed. Are you surviving now that little man is here and comes with SO MUCH STUFF? - Nicki
Stacy did the research for almost every important item we needed but insisted on seeing everything in person (car seat, stroller) before purchasing. My take-away, even in the most stylish of stores, was that if we were lucky enough to live long lives, Sid will one day feed us with rubber utensils, that cost more than my running shoes. The line between what we need and want will be blurred, and our once minimalist existence will be cluttered with expensive items adorned with patches (impossible to remove) warning us that our child could strangle or fall to its death while using them. So, the answer is, I’m doing great with all of it.
Have either of you ever considered (or have already done so) making a song that is entirely instrumental, with absolutely no lyrics whatsoever? – Natalie
I would absolutely love to make an instrumental album and I have written many pieces over the years that (who knows!) I might one day release.
Interested in hearing more about you leaving your previous label for Mom + Pop, what the process was and what prompted the change. - Allison
We knew our time at Warner was over and because they agreed, it meant that we left on good terms. Our ambition hasn’t diminished but the ways that major labels have adapted to streaming and TikTok culture to survive and thrive is incongruent with our approach. We sought a partner who would be nimbler, and patient with our new album. Goldie who started Mom + Pop has been a friend since 2007, and has built a warm, generous company of music forward thinkers. It felt like a good fit.
What is your best advice for a 2nd grader getting picked on for being "weird" because she has two moms? – Lori
Junior High was like being dropped headfirst into a snake pit of despair. But I did learn (from my mom) that anyone who is mean isn’t worth spending any time worrying about. In fact, she told us to be the opposite and to treat everyone, with kindness. Being warm and open minded drew other like-minded (weird people!) to us, and we found ourselves surrounded by love. So, I would tell your 2nd Grader to hang in there, and to remain open hearted.
Can you tell us anything yet about who's in the touring band, and who is your musical director? - Charlie
Will there be a return of 'Where does the Good Grow'? - Molly
I could see it taking shape somewhere in the future.
What happened to the songs from the intervention, will they get released? - Ash
Every few years I sit down and listen to that music again and I ask myself that same question!
Are there any repeat venues that you specifically try to go to again and why do you like those particular places? - Kristen
The 9:30 Club in DC is always a joy. There is magic in that room.
Do you have any must-dos in Montreal or any advice? I’m from the US and this will be my first time living outside the country or even being to Canada! - Tia
Coffee of course
And a throwback from my Montreal days
Just even briefly thinking about Montreal makes my heart wrench. Truly some of the best experiences happened in that wonderful city. Good luck.
What are you reading and listening to now that you’ve got a little one? -Loma
My reading list since Sid was born (really, it’s a re-reading list)
Playlist of music Sid and I love (just kidding Sid doesn’t give a shit!)
Do you think you will write about parenthood in your future songs? Do you think the experience will somehow influence you as an artist, maybe change your perspective somehow? Have you thought about it? - Loma
Tillie Walden did On A Sunbeam which is a beautiful read with fantastic illustrations. Did that and their other work come into consideration when pitching a graphic novel or was it the other way around where artists pitched to your team what they could do with your story? – Emily
We were approached by the wonderful folks at FSG Kids, about adapting our memoir High School for a graphic novel aimed at young readers. We made a list of our favorite Graphic Novelists, and based on those names, Tillie was presented as a possible partner on the project. We had not read her books at that point, but quickly devoured them all. Her memoir, Spinning, suggested that she’d be a perfect fit for the story we were trying to tell. And Tillie’s a twin!
What made you cave to possibly learn Superstar for soundcheck? -Emily
I do believe after much cajoling by me that Tegan will indeed be learning Superstar for soundcheck.
How do you choose or find a producer for a new record? -Alexandra
I thought it best to just tell you how album attached to each producer, because there is no one answer.
Under Feet Like Ours- We met Jared Kuemper at a studio in Calgary. He was the engineer and a gentle soul. He suggested we work together on a full length after recording a few demos together. He is the reason we called our company “Superclose Music” because he would often respond to our lesser vocal takes, as being “Superclose.”
This Busines Of Art- Our manager at the time was managing Hawksley Workman and he was a fast-rising star and producer from Toronto. Though we’d found a record label partner (Vapor Records) it was expressed to us that UFLO might not be the sound we wanted to launch our career with. Hawksley was suggested as a producer, and we flew out east and cut the album in a few days.
So Jealous- Once again we decided to work with JCDC, but this time a local engineer, Howard Redekopp was brought in to help round out the team.
The Con- We were ready for a production change and had spent a lot of time working on the sonic blueprints for our new songs at home. I had become fond of John Vanderslice’s solo albums but also his production work. He was coming through Montreal to perform at Sala Rosa, and I met him for dinner. He told me that he only liked to work on tape which didn’t feel like a fit. He suggested we consider Chris Walla from Death Cab for Cutie. We sent our demos to Chris and he wrote back that they were his favorite album of the year.
Sainthood- We decided to cut a new album with Chris, but, called up So Jealous alumni, Howard Redekopp to engineer the album.
Heartthrob- We wanted to take a swing at pop radio and met with almost 30 producers in LA and NYC. Tegan did most of the heavy lifting, in LA, and narrowed our list to 3. Greg Kurstin immediately felt like a win, when I met him for breakfast at the Standard Diner in LA. We’d hit it off with JMJ and Mike Elizondo, as well and split up the sessions between them.
Love You to Death- Greg Kurstin again, because we’d adored the experience on Heartthrob.
Hey, I’m Just Like You- We’d actively sought out producers who weren’t as established as some of the other pop producers we’d worked with. In the case of Alex Hope we felt they had the right life experience, and outlook to craft an album from our High School Demos.
Crybaby-John Congleton and I texted from time to time, but it hadn’t worked out for us to do something together in the years we’d been friends. During the pandemic we’d stayed in touch, and after a few requests to share with him what I’d been working on, I decided, “why not?” and sent him the demo for I Can’t Grow Up. He had an extremely positive response, and we booked some studio time in Seattle. After a day of working together, we knew it was a fit, and decided to try and make an album together.