Welcome to The Drop, Refinery29's new home for exclusive music video premieres. We want to shine the spotlight on women artists whose music inspires, excites, and (literally) moves us. This is where we'll champion their voices.
For Tegan and Sara, this isn't just any anniversary. This is the 10-year anniversary of The Con, the 2007 album that, out of all the duo's myriad hits, seems to have burrowed most deeply into fans' hearts. Tegan Rain Quin and Sara Keirsten Quin have been making music together since 1998, so just before we celebrate 20 years of the Canadian singers, they're giving other artists a chance to give new life to their music.
Speaking to Refinery29, Sara explained that they wanted to do more for The Con's special birthday than your average remix or re-release. Instead, they reached out to fellow artists, with an emphasis on those who were LGBTQ or LGBTQ allies, and told them they could to whatever they want — no need to stick to the style or sound or format of the original The Con hits. Just do what feels right, and the proceeds will go to the Tegan and Sara Foundation, which fights for economic justice, health, and representation for girls and women who are LGBTQ.
Sara Bareilles was one of the women who gave her own spin on the duo's past work, turning "Floorplan" into an emotional ballad accompanied by illustrations by Kristine Thune that were originally made ten years ago. Ahead, we spoke to Sara Quin about the importance of this anniversary.
It’s been ten years since The Con, why did you decide to revisit it? What has revisiting it revealed? Has that brought up any emotions you didn’t expect?
"We’ve obviously had other records that have maybe been more mainstream, but these songs [from The Con] are still on our setlist, and fans really connect to it. We always like to do something when a 10 year anniversary comes along.
"I think what has been really interesting to me, at least live, is that the songs still feel extremely relatable. We wrote them when we were 26; at 37 I’m standing on stage and they still feel relevant. The album itself aesthetically and sonically does represent where we were at that age, but as we approach them now, I realize the nucleus of the material is quite sophisticated. It doesn’t feel dislocated."
Why did you choose to have other singers do the covers? How did you choose which singers?
"We were looking for an interesting way to revisit the album. In recent years, people do remixes...we thought it would be interesting to put the material in the hands of the other artists and let them do what they wanted. It could be on an iPhone, in a fancy studio, we don’t care. We just wanted to hear the vision of the artists we selected. The main criteria [for choosing the singers] was that they had to be LGBTQ or allies. Our list was quite extensive."
Can you tell me about the animation in the video? Why is that how you decided to reinterpret it?
"The videos were done by Kristine Thune and originally made in The Con era. They lived online, but we couldn’t really promote them or do much with them online...maybe there was a link on our website at the time, but we didn’t have Facebook, it was such a different era. We had Kristine re-approach them, cutting them and editing them to the covered version."
The thing that I feel like I’ve spent the past month writing about is how more and more industries have women coming forward with allegations of sexual assault against powerful men, and so this kind of all-women collaboration is nice to see. As a woman artist, how have you been handling this?
"The tragedy of all of is is not many of us are surprised. I would go out of limb that regardless of sexuality or industry, it’s hard to find someone to whom something that hasn’t happened. For myself, there’s this emboldened feeling that something will change. We can all come together and talk about this and maybe for the first time experience some kind of change. I really relate to these stories. There are certainly people...I feel guilty, like I’m protecting them somehow by not acknowledging that they’re creepy. Which behavior do you speak out about? What is the recourse for that? How do we protect women and how do we empower women? We have to be having those conversations internally as well as publicly.
"My hope right now is that some of these men are going “Wow, maybe we’ve been wrong.” I think there’s a complete panic for a lot of men who are now re-assessing their behavior, and as far as I’m concerned, good! That’s what you should be doing! We should all be scrutinizing our own behavior."
This interview has been edited for clarity and condensed.
Read These Stories Next: