With the release of their latest album, “Sainthood,” out rock duo Tegan and Sara appear to be bigger than ever. When their U.S. tour pulls into town, the Canadian rock band will have graduated from one of Philly’s biggest clubs, the Electric Factory, where they performed in 2008, to one of Philly’s biggest theaters, the Tower Theater.
“I definitely feel like our career has grown all over the world in the same sort of way,” said Sara Quin, who shares vocal, instrumental and songwriting duties with her twin sister Tegan, about the group’s growing success. “We’ve always been able to play theaters and clubs but there’s really been a growth between our last record and this one. It feels really nice.”
Besides the stellar new album, the group also found time to publish a three-book set, “ON/IN/AT.” The “ON” and “AT” volumes use photos and notes/writings from the band to chronicle their U.S. and Australian tours in support of the last album, 2007’s “The Con.”
“We had the idea before we did the tour, but it did evolve,” Sara said. “The initial pitch from Tegan was that she wanted to put together a collection of photos for a photo book and I, initially, was not interested. I didn’t want to spend time and money on something that wouldn’t offer an alternative to people who were used to being able to get photos online for free. So Tegan and I started brainstorming about what we would document. I worried that if we just documented the tour it would be clichéd. So we talked about how we could couple the photos and behind the scenes with essays and contributions from people who had toured with us.”
“IN” takes a look into a trip the twins made to New Orleans in November 2008 to write music. It was the first time the two had ever tried to write music together, as they have always written songs separately.
“We knew we were going to take this writing trip to New Orleans and we had thought about filming,” Sara said. “But we thought it might be interesting to, instead of filming it, record audio of us having conversations at the end of the day and having them transcribed. Then we thought it would be entertaining to turn them into scripts and then have someone take photographs to provide visual evidence. So we really started at this really basic place and really tried to expand that into something that would seem interesting and different than what you would see on the Internet.”
While none of the songs from those New Orleans sessions made it on to “Sainthood,” Sara said those sessions helped cement a direction and theme for the album.
“I think most importantly we had written a song called ‘Sainthood,’” she said. “Because some of the lyrics were Leonard Cohen lyrics and because it was a derivative work and not a cover song, we weren’t able to get rights to use the lyrics and we ended up scrapping the song. But the sentiment of that song, that story and the title “Sainthood” seemed like such a great topic. It didn’t have to be about the Leonard Cohen lyrics, my perspective or Tegan’s. It felt like it really provoked interesting conversation.”
Tegan and Sara perform at 8 p.m. Feb. 16 at the Tower Theater, 19 S. 69th St., Upper Darby. For more information or tickets, visit www.teganandsara.com or call (609) 352-2887.