A Family Affair

feb 10 fresh tegan and saraWhen Canadian indie rock sisters Tegan and Sara started talking about where to write their new album in 2008, New Orleans came up.

Right after Hurricane Katrina, Sara Quin came to New Orleans during a break from touring. “Sara had this really amazing experience,” Tegan Quin says. “She said, ‘The people there are amazing, and everyone has banded together, and they’re helping each other, and it’s beautiful.’ She talked about it endlessly. We hadn’t been there a million times, like Los Angeles or New York or Chicago, where you play all the time. It’s kind of like this weird, magical place. We went down with a photographer and wrote a book about the experience (In, with photographs by Ryan Russell, available now). We were staying in a guest house in the French Quarter, but they were doing renovations, and it was kind of old and spooky. We realized we couldn’t really set up a drum kit there. In the end, we went to the Music Shed and spent the week writing.”

Despite playing music together for 14 years, the two had never actually written anything together before, Tegan says. “The trip itself inspired Sara and I, and I think we both realized that we actually could write songs together. After knowing each other all our lives, we’d never even tried, and it was working and felt really awesome.”

When the two got to New Orleans, they had already written nearly 40 songs for Sainthood, their 2009 album, so only two made it onto the record. “The songs we wrote down there were really great, but they all had a certain vibe. We ended up feeling that those songs shouldn’t see the light of day unless they saw the light of day together as a package. I think fans especially will find them really interesting because it’s just Sara and I playing and no one else.” Expect to see the New Orleans session released as an EP “down the road eventually, maybe in the next year,” Tegan says.

Tegan and Sara play Tipitina’s February 24.