Random Rules: Tegan Quin of Tegan And Sara
Shuffler: Tegan Quin, Canadian, twin sister, and the somewhat chattier half of playful guitar-pop duo Tegan And Sara.
Tegan Quin, "One Second"
Tegan Quin: This is a new song that I wrote. I call it my Prince song, because it's pretty breathy. It's kind of whiny. I have this big house that I was renting, and I was going to lose that, so I moved in with a friend of mine from high school. She's a painter and doesn't have a job, and I'd write music all day. Every time I stopped recording, I'd hear her downstairs singing along with me, which was horrifying, because it meant that she could hear everything I was doing. But then I realized I was making her a really big fan. [Listening.] I'm writing about being a loser. I actually really like this song. I write a lot of music, so I'd say that 75 to 80 percent of my songs are crap, and it's just a matter of finding the right people to make sure that the crap gets weeded out and the good stuff gets on the record. But this song is actually pretty good.
Cake, "No Phone"
TQ: I just toured with them. I like Cake—they remind me of when I graduated high school. Over in the UK, they're major, but over here, they're what I would call a mini-major. Sara and I just finished two years where I think we took that leap and made the next step, but at the same time, it's like, at what cost? We never projected that we wanted to be famous, or a really well-known band, we just wanted to make music that we really like. Can you do that as a mini-major?
Something that I appreciated about touring with Cake and the last record they did is that they're still doing the same thing. They're still doing the music they want, no matter what label, no matter what else. They're still making music that they want to make, and they're really happy with it. They were making music when we were all in diapers, practically. I know a lot of friends from that area where they started, and they remember the first Cake shows, and a lot of music came out of what Cake was doing, like rap-So-Cal-surf kind of music. I think that [Cake frontman] John [McCrea] is so intelligent, and everyone in that band is so amazingly talented.
My first serious girlfriend was really into Cake, so it's sort of a love-hate thing with them. Sometimes it leaves this weird taste in my mouth when I think about it. It totally reminds me of high school.
The Be Good Tanyas, "Up Against The Wall"
TQ: I love The Be Good Tanyas. They're a Canadian band out of Vancouver. They put out a record five years ago—great record. They had some really heartbreaking stuff on it. I got the record because their manager manages another Canadian star who's a friend of mine who's also really talented and really great. It's kind of bluegrassy and poppy. I overplay that record.
I got dumped, and the person that dumped me changed their phone number, which is like a total loss of control. Which, like, fucking sucks, because you can't get on the phone and be like, "Fuck you." And this was, like, before email, at least in my world. So this record was just full-on screaming. Seriously, when I was like 14 or 15, I would say, "I wish there was a band that just fucking screamed. Not like heavy metal, but like regular pop music that just fucking flipped out. So I could be like, 'I don't feel good,' and I could just put my headphones on and listen to it and really feel it."
Green Day, "Longview"
TQ: I would have been 14 when this record came out. So Dookie came out, and for my first real concert—I'd been to New Kids On The Block and Bruce Springsteen with my parents—but when it came out, I thought it was such a rad record. Even now when I listen to it, it's like, so good, full of energy and life. About a month after I found out about Green Day, I found out about Smashing Pumpkins, and I never really got into them. I always thought Green Day was really awesome. I went to all the concerts, and my boyfriend at the time—he's gay now too—and the two of us, like, linked arms, and he's like, "Don't let me go!" It was kind of sweet and sensitive, and we held onto each other the whole time. I still like this record. I don't have a lot of stuff on my iPod, so pretty much everything I have, I like a lot.
Brendan Benson, "Spit It Out"
TQ: The Alternative To Love—good record. I just ran into him, he's so cute and little. I really like his record. I think he's totally underrated. I've always read the press on him, and it's always really positive, but I don't think it's glowing. I kind of relate to him in a lot of ways, where we get this consistent amount of press where people are like, "Yeah, it's good," but there's no huge hype. I think he deserves a lot of hype, because he's a good writer. When you look through his history, he's been through the whole train. He knows everything. He understands a lot of stuff going on in the industry that a lot of people don't. He's not a fool at all. You know how they say that if you like someone, you like their music? Well, when I met Brendan Benson, I already liked his music, so it was impossible not to fall in love with him. His last record had this song, I forget what it's called, but it would just be perfect if I could change some of the lyrics. I hate that he's not a huge famous star.
Razorlight, "Up All Night"
TQ: I'm not going to go so far as to say that this is a guilty pleasure, because it's not, it's a really good record. There are some really good songs on it. I saw them on Letterman, and I didn't really get it. I like his voice. The production is interesting. They seem really sweet.
I am really resistant to certain UK bands that I won't name, that are drug addicts and alcoholics, because I don't think it's cool that they get to be popular, because so many of us are working so hard, and we're not drug addicts and alcoholics. It would be so much easier if we were, but we're not. And they're actually really sweet. And I've heard they're really good live, too. Some of their songs are really good. I like the production. I like them, I feel like they're my friends.