Jan 25 • 3M

I Think We're Alone Now

Tegan and Sara Talk To Each Other

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Photo by Lindsey Byrnes

Over the last two years, our band has gone through a drastic sea change.

A week before Covid-19 was declared a pandemic, we were preparing to launch a summer tour, in support of our latest album, Hey, I’m Just Like You. Like so many other musicians, we found ourselves stuck halfway up the mountain of our campaign. Touring is the engine that drives the creative work we do. On stage is where we nourish ourselves as performers, and how we connect most deeply with the audience and community we love. It has also been our main revenue stream for most of our professional lives. The vast ecosystem of managers, agents, artists, crew, and musicians whose financial health was impacted by two years of stasis cannot be understated.

We thrive in a crisis, so once we got our bearings, we pivoted and began working on other creative projects from home. There was a graphic novel series and the ongoing development of a TV show based on our memoir High School. But the shock to our system was undeniable, and cracks in the infrastructure began to show.

By summer 2020, we began the process of consciously uncoupling from our long-time management team of 18 years. It was an amicable, but hard, transition; a lifetime of highs and lows and everything in between. They had been the connective tissue that supported our many creative endeavors. The brain trust that we relied on as our professional career grew. Sometimes they were referees, and during some of the most difficult times in our lives, coaches.  

It seemed the dust had just settled when Emy, a dear friend, and creative collaborator since 2002, left her role as art director. We’d often joked that she was the “and” in Tegan and Sara. A translator, and a conduit through which our ideas and inspirations flowed. Her absence left a crater that we found ourselves on opposite sides of.

And then finally, in the second half of 2021, we approached our record label of 14 years and asked to be released from our contract. We'd been in one record deal or another since we were 19 and were ready for a fresh start.

We were alone. Just the two of us.

We started seeing a therapist and one of her early observations was that we needed to talk to each other more. This initially seemed bonkers, given the amount of time we spend each day working on Tegan and Sara, related projects. When you factor in our personal relationship...well, it felt like the prescription would be to spend less time talking to each other. 

The truth is that we use our audience, live performances, friends, colleagues, even our art, to speak to each other. In our most private moments, unwitnessed, there is mostly silence. 

This newsletter, I Think We’re Alone Now, will be a place for us to document our progress; an artifact as we rebuild. We’ll do our best to share the most authentic of our communication and collaboration, using voice notes, annotations of lyrics, personal essays, video conversations, and unreleased music.

Is it what our therapist had in mind? Who knows. Are we still speaking to each other through our art? Perhaps. Is it narcissistic? Absolutely. Maybe a little voyeuristic? Almost certainly. 

Sign up to be a subscriber and follow along as we embark on what will likely be the wildest year of our lives.