Ready to mix things up, in the studio and on stage

After more than a dozen years of recording and performing, Canadian indie-pop duo Tegan and Sara know their fan base. Now they’re finding creative ways to expand it. That was the idea behind Alligator, a 17-track iTunes exclusive of remixes (and one demo) of the title song, a bouncy piano-based pop number that appeared on Tegan and Sara’s 2009 album Sainthood. For the remixes, twin sisters Tegan and Sara Quin commissioned reimaginings of the song from artists known for other styles—from Dutch electronica musician Tiesto to hipster dance-rock band Passion Pit to TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek.

“A lot of times we remix a song because we’re attempting yet again to get onto radio, though we never succeed,” Sara Quin says in a cheery torrent of words during a break in the band’s hectic tour schedule. “We all laugh and say, ‘Let’s remix it and see if that’ll help!’ This time we wanted to aim the remixes at branching out of the world that we’ve become very comfortable in.” So they simply picked artists they admire, and gave each one free rein to tweak the song. “It seemed like an art project for us,” Quin says. “We had a little bit of money to offer people for their hard work and we were like, ‘Who would be some dream people to have remix it?’ I really pushed for Four Tet. He’s one of my favorite people making music today, and I thought, ‘Oh my God, if we can get him, we’ve already won.’”

The sisters are also looking to branch out live. Their diverse touring schedule for this year includes Lilith Fair 2010, opening for pop-punk band Paramore on the Honda Civic tour and accompanying mellow rocker Jack Johnson on a jaunt around Australia and New Zealand. “We realized that it was going to be a huge asset if we could be versatile,” Quin says. “In the beginning, it was easy to get tours with bands that were sort of like-minded, like Ben Folds or Rufus Wainwright.”

Although touring and collaborating with other artists means Tegan and Sara haven’t started working on the follow-up to Sainthood, Quin reports that she and her sister have tossed around a couple of ideas for the next album. “After 10 years of trying to get people not to use the word ‘folk’ to describe our music,” she says, “we’ve been talking about maybe making an acoustic record.”

–Eric R. Danton

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